“I have been writing this volume while residing in Germany for a teaching trip. I am humbled by penning these 95 theses in the same country as Martin Luther did many years ago. I submit these to the evangelical church of our day and pray that God would allow anything of truth in these pages to bend and change men’s hearts back to God.” – Greg Gordon –
It is useless for large companies of believers to spend long hours begging God to send revival. Unless we intend to reform we may as well not pray. Unless praying men have the insight and faith to amend their whole way of life to conform to the New Testament pattern there can be no true revival. – A.W. Tozer
I am currently reviewing and commenting on 95 theses to the modern evangelical church “revised”! by Greg Gordon. This is part 5 of the series. The following two points discuss the Word of God and its teaching.
There needs to be a recovery back to teaching through the whole counsel of God expositionally.
Acts 20:27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.
1 Timothy 4:6 If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters,[a] you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.
2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
Ok…I admit that despite the fact that I write often, I did not know the exact meaning of ‘expositional.’ So, here it is.
1. a large-scale public exhibition or show, as of art or manufactured products: an exposition of 19th-century paintings; an automobile exposition. Synonyms: exhibit, demonstration, display, presentation.
2. the act of expounding, setting forth, or explaining: the exposition of a point of view.
3. writing or speech primarily intended to convey information or to explain; a detailed statement or explanation; explanatory treatise: The students prepared expositions on familiar essay topics. Synonyms: elucidation, commentary; critique, interpretation, exegesis, explication.
4. the act of presenting to view; display: The singer gave a splendid exposition of vocal talent.
I’m not super sure at which point Brother Greg makes here, but I have a couple of my own ideas, and hopefully one of them match his. First, it has become more the norm, in many churches, to say that they’re going to go through the Bible, verse by verse, rather than taking a topical approach to their preaching. If that is the point Brother Greg is trying to make, I believe I see more churches doing that (at least in theory). And, it would be a hard point for me to argue. Going through the entire Word of God trumps taking a ‘cherry picker’ approach any day of the week.
However, my concern comes in the actual execution. What happens is that in most preaching, we get about 2 minutes of Bible reading, and 43 minutes of exposition from the pastor (thoughts, stories, examples, etc). This presents two problems. First, the entire Bible will take decades to get through at that rate. Second, it means that the pastors imperfect (no matter how well intentioned), single viewpoint trumps that of everyone else, and the Word of God, as he gets 97% of the speaking time and God’s Word gets what’s left over.
I do not suggest that a preacher simply read the Bible for 45 minutes straight (though some may), but when we spend 45 minutes listening to the pastor’s take on 3 Bible verses, something is wrong. God does not take a back seat to man.
In leading people to Christ, I always try to get them into God’s Word as quickly as possible, reading as much as possible. I want the Word of God to teach them, not me. If they have questions, I will try to point them back to the Bible. Of course, I will answer from real life experiences or with other words as God leads, but His Word should always be foundational in my teaching to others, not peripheral.
We take it too lightly, the blessing and honor of having God‘s Scriptures in our possession.
Psalm 119:16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.
Acts 13:44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
Nehemiah 8:9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law
There’s little doubt that we do take God’s Word to lightly. Centuries ago, people did not have access to the Bible. Men like Martin Luther sacrificed (some giving their lives) just so people could have a copy. Today, in many third world nations where Christianity is practically outlawed, people commit entire parts of the Bible to memory to have it in their hearts.
Yet, in our more ‘modern civilizations’ we place higher value on the news of the day, or our friends’ Facebook status, than we do on God’s Word. We need to repent on this, and quickly.
Some may feel that getting up early and studying God’s Word (and prayer) feels like some sort of religious ‘works.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. John 1 says that the Word is God. Loving His Word (and showing that by putting it first in your day) shows that you love God.
Let us put God’s Work back into the center of our lives.
By His Grace,