Saturday, July 30, 2016

Christians, Pray For Your Church: 5 Reasons From Matthew 16:13-23

Christians, Pray For Your Church:
5 Reasons From Matthew 16:13-23

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you." But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man" (Matthew 16:13-23).

    This rich passage offers us five reasons why Christians ought to pray for their churches.
1. Pray for your church because there is Confusion (vs. 13-14)
    The church is in the world. So, naturally there is going to be confusion from within and from outside of the church. Just as Matthew reveals in the text, people have different opinions as to who Jesus is. And that's not it. The world simply doesn't understand what the church is, how it is to function, the truth in which it stands, the sin it takes issue with, the Savior we worship, the gospel we proclaim, etc. There is confusion. And this confusion is not helped when churches also experience and show confusion within.
    Christians need to pray for their churches because confusion abounds. Pray that God will grant unity, doctrinal clarity, gospel focus, and mission-mindedness. Pray that God raise up pastors and teachers that clearly preach and teach his word. Pray that God illumine and give understanding to the people of your church. Pray that God remove any confusion and bless with harmony.
2. Pray for your church because it Confesses Christ (vs. 15-17)
    Your church needs prayer, hopefully, because it confesses Christ. Confessing Christ separates us from the world and other religions. We who confess Christ invite persecution, animosity, and enmity. When Christ is confessed, it narrows the playing field. Churches that confess Christ are essentially saying that there is salvation only in Christ. All other religions and systems are false. This opens the door for charges of hatred, bigotry, pride, exclusivism, and judgmentalism. As the text teaches, Christ is the Messiah, the Son of the living God. He is building his church. It follows then that if you are not in the church that Christ is building and do not confess him as the Son of God, you are not in the true church and have no part with God.
    Christian, pray for your church because in these dark days, persecution is coming. Pray for your church leaders that they remain faithful to the word of God and do not bow down in the face of opposition. Pray that God give his church boldness to proclaim the truth of the gospel no matter the cost. Pray that Christ would be preeminent, trusted, obeyed, and loved above all else. Pray that your church confess Christ not matter what the government says or threatens.
3. Pray for your church because of spiritual Conflict and Conquest (vs. 18)
    The church is fighting a spiritual battle. It is waging a war against everything that opposes God. Christ is building his church, what a precious promise, but it does not come easy to believers. The idea in this text is that Christ is doing his work of building his church or saving sinners. Christ does this by the heralding of his gospel. People proclaim the saving message of Jesus. So, naturally, unchristian people oppose our work. Sometimes believers are killed for their faith. Other times they are ridiculed. But, Christ proclaims that hell will not prevail. People will be saved by Christ when we proclaim his gospel. The attacks of the evil one will not stop Christ!
    There is something else in this text. It is the idea of gates. Gates protected cities; they are defensive in nature. Gates keep people out. So, when Jesus says that the gates of hell will not prevail, he was saying that the church is on the offensive. We, through the aid of the Spirit, are attacking hell and the evil one and plucking sinners from damnation by preaching and teaching the gospel of Christ. It is not only hell and sin and evil attacking Christians, it is Christians attacking hell and sin and evil with the gospel!
    Christian, pray for your church. The church is attacked by the world and needs to be bathed in prayer. But the church is also on the attack. We are making raids against the enemy. We are at war. This war is spiritual in nature so we must not use fleshly weapons. One of our chief weapons is prayer. Pray that God remove obstacles. Pray that God would unstop deaf ears in order for sinners to hear the gospel. Pray that God give sight to the blind. Pray that God make effectual the gospel in your church and community. Pray that God would strengthen his church against attacks. Pray that God bring revival to our land.
4. Pray for your church because the gospel is Controversial (vs. 19-22)
    The gospel is controversial. The unregenerate hate the good news that Christ saves sinners who repent and trust in him alone for salvation. Sinners do not like to be called sinful. The lost do not like to be told that they have offended a holy God and that his wrath abides on them. The gospel is controversial because it confronts. It is offensive to natural man. It reveals the truth about God and man's sin condition. It tells of judgment and hell. Of course it also proclaims the glorious grace of God in sending his Son to bear the sin and guilt of sinners, bear his wrath, and die in the stead of his enemies.
    In this text we see controversy. The church, through the preaching of the gospel, binds and loosens things on earth. This is controversial because the church has authority in the gospel ministry. Through the proclamation of the gospel, the church declares people to be forgiven or unforgiven. Keep in mind, the church has no power to forgive. The gospel is the power of God for salvation. The church only has the message. It proclaims the gospel and based on the authority given to the church by Christ, recognizes those that repent and trust Christ are saved. Those who do not, are separated from Christ and are not members of his church.
    Christian, pray for your church. Pray that it remain steadfast on the truth of God's word when under doctrinal attack. Pray that the church be faithful to its calling in proclaiming the gospel. Pray that your church take seriously its authority to discipline its members out of love and a desire to see the church purified and sinners restored. Pray that God bless the preaching of his word by edifying the saints. Pray that God bear fruit through your church, that it penetrate your community and souls would be added. Pray that controversy be used by God to sanctify his own. Pray that God give boldness and courage in the face of controversy.
5. Pray because of inward Corruption (vs. 23)
    The church is filled with sinners. We are redeemed by the blood of Christ but we are still in the flesh. The church remains imperfect until Christ comes back for her. We see this in our text. Immediately after Peter confesses Christ, he rebuked Christ for saying that he is to be killed in Jerusalem and raised on the third day. Peter essentially tells Christ that he is wrong, that he is not going to die, that he is not going to do what he came to do. Granted, Peter did not know all of the ins and outs of the gospel yet. But, he still rebuked Christ. He showed the inward corruption of his heart. He showed that he did not understand the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus up to this point. He showed that he trusted in his own understanding.
    The church is made up of sinful people. Often our sin comes to the surface in the most unbecoming and unChristlike ways. We manifest pride, selfishness, greed, hatred, unforgiveness, immaturity, ungodliness, and faithlessness. We often gossip, slander, and avoid people we don't like or we think have wronged us. We may even not pray for others, harbor ill-will toward others, not seek reconciliation, not give of our time and money because we are angry or hurt, and a host of others things. We are corrupt! But, thank God because he is not done with us yet.
    Christian, pray for your church because it is corrupt. Pray that God convict your church of sin and grant it repentance. Pray that God begin with you! Pray that God change hearts and attitudes. Pray for reconciliation between offended parties. Pray that God would work to bring about maturity. Pray that people will go to those who have offended them and not gossip or try to gain the favor of others. Pray that God would reveal pride, slothfulness, apathy, hard-heartedness, gossip, faithlessness, immaturity, and other sins to yourself and your church. Pray that the Lord pour out his grace transforming your church into Christlike vessels fit for his use. Pray that God would remove the corruption and humble people.
    Pray that God would show his glory and make himself known. Pray that God change the desires and passions and affections of your church so they long for God above all else. Pray that your church come to hate sin and love holiness. Pray that God glorify himself in your church in spite of all its flaws and weaknesses. Pray that God be magnified and glorified and sought and treasured and obeyed and prized and exalted! Pray for your church. By God's grace and for his glory, he will work, he will change hearts, he will reform his church, he will purify his bride.

Friday, July 29, 2016

"One Another": Life in the Church

One Another”: Life in the Church
    Church life. What is life in the church supposed to look like? I can tell you that it won't be perfect. Even though the church will not be perfect here on earth, it can still be glorious. Redeemed sinners congregate in order to hear and submit to the word of God. The redeemed serve one another, serve their communities, support missions, evangelize, meet needs, etc. The church is not perfect but it can still be characterized, should be characterized by love, humility, peace, gentleness, devotion, patience, forgiveness, encouragement, prayer, hospitality, etc.
    However, we must not forget that the church is filled with fallen sinners. We are all sinners and unfortunately, the characteristics mentioned above are not always present. That means that there will be divisions, disagreements, gossip, hurt feelings, pride, anger, bitterness, sleepless nights, heartache, etc. We know this. But, how do we react? What do we do? It is these moments, when things are not going right, that we grow, show our character, reveal our faith in a great God, rise above adversity in order to glorify God, seek God's will, and persevere. What else can we do? We have to remain faithful!
    It is during the difficult times that God sanctifies his children and purifies his church. So, these seasons are beneficial. That doesn't mean that they are not difficult or not laden with pain. No, the struggle, stress, anxiety, pain, and suffering are real. But they are not pointless. We serve a sovereign God who can take even the most bleak circumstances and use them for his glory and our good. Praise God!
    Back to church life. What is a New Testament church supposed to look like? Throughout the New Testament there are many passages that use the phrase “one another.” This teaches several things. It demonstrates that Christians need to belong to a church. You cannot fulfill the “one another” passages and obey the word of God apart from being connected to a local body. Also, these verses show us how we are to act; how we are to behave. The “one another” passages tell us how to be Christlike and what church life should look like. What follows are many of these passages. Not all of them will be covered or mentioned. But enough will be presented to adequately demonstrate the points being made. If we name the name of Christ then we are to act a certain way. When trials and difficulties come, we are to act and respond in a certain way.
    It must be mentioned that these are not suggestions. This is the word of God. Christians need to humble themselves and submit to the authority of God, his word, and the leadership he has ordained for his church. So, here they are. Here are many of the passages that mention “one another” in the New Testament. Here are many of the passages that teach us how to act and what to do in the life of the church.
Love one another (Jn. 13:34)
Be devoted to one another in brotherly affection (Rom. 12:10)
Outdo one another in showing honor (Rom. 12:10)
Live in harmony with one another (Rom. 12:16)
Welcome one another (Rom. 15:7)
Instruct one another (Rom. 15:14)
Have the same care for one another (1 Cor. 12:25)
Through love serve one another (Gal. 5:13)
Bear one another's burdens (Gal. 6:2)
Bear with one another in love (Eph. 4:2)
Be kind to one another (Eph. 4:32)
Forgive one another (Eph. 4:32)
Address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19)
Submit to one another (Eph. 5:21)
Teach and admonish one another (Col. 3:16)
Encourage and build up one another (1 Thess. 5:11; Heb. 3:13)
Seek to do good to one another (1 Thess. 5:15)
Stir up one another to love and good works (Heb. 10:24)
Confess your sins to one another (Jms. 5:16)
Pray for one another (Jms. 5:16)
Love one another earnestly (1 Pet. 4:8)
Show hospitality to one another (1 Pet. 4:9)
Use your gifts to serve one another (1 Pet. 4:10)
Clothe yourself with humility toward one another (1 Pet. 5:5)
    There you have it, commands from God's word as to how to act towards one another. Church, these should characterize us. This is church life. This is the Christian life. This is Christ's life in us.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Pray For Your Pastor(s)

Pray For Your Pastor(s)

    You as a church member have the responsibility and the privilege to pray for your pastor. Your pastor needs prayer. The average church member, I would guess, rarely thinks of their pastor when they are praying. Why is that? I don't know, I cannot answer that for everyone. But, if you are reading this, you now know that you ought to be praying for him.
Why do pastors need prayer?
    Pastors need prayer for the same reasons you do. They face the same things that you face day in and day out. Your difficulties are their difficulties. Pastors face temptations, struggle with sin, are often beset with weakness and doubts, deal with prayerlessness like other believers, have problems in the home, raise children, wrestle with apathy, grieve over social issues, allow stress to take hold, are at war spiritually, and live life in a fallen world just like everyone else.
    In addition to these needs, pastors face others. Pastors need your prayers because they often struggle with depression. The ministry is demanding and often fruit is not seen. It is easy for a pastor to take his eyes off of the Lord and look to all of the issues within the church. Or, a pastor might become bitter and complain. “Woe is me!” can easily become the attitude of a pastor.
    Other things that most church members may not realize are that pastors bear the sins and burdens of their people, are held accountable by God for their flock, experience heartache over the faithlessness of some members, face criticism, may feel pressured to perform in certain ways or produce according to the churches standards, and face the challenges of leading a group of people that are made up of different backgrounds, different maturity levels, different interests, etc.
What to pray
    Pray for your pastor's preparation. Pray that as he prepares to preach and teach that he would be illuminated, faithful, prayerful, obedient, studious, understanding, submissive, and able to apply God's word. Pray that God bless your pastor with clarity, the ability to deliver God's word, that he would communicate effectively, that he will not be distracted from his time in study, that he would be a good steward of his time, and that his sermon will be Christ-centered, Spirit-dependent, and gospel-saturated.
    Pray for your pastor's personal life. Pray for his family. Pray that he is growing, maturing, and spending time in the word. Pray also for his needs, struggles, leadership, character, joy, holiness, and hope. Remember to pray that he get enough rest, that he would be God-honoring, above reproach, a good husband and father. Pray that he work hard and be a good steward of all that God has given him. Pray for his physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
    Pray for his prayer life. Pray to God that as he prays throughout the week he be filled with passion, grace, mercy, love, and faith in God to hear and answer. Pray that he remember to intercede for the saints, confess the sins of the church, and beg God for mercy and forgiveness. Pray that your pastor's prayers will be scriptural, effectual, Spirit-led, and strengthened by God. Pray that your pastor have a desire to pray, that he makes time to pray, and that he never ceases to pray.
    Pray for your pastor's ministry. Pray that he would be faithful, God glorifying, biblical, and persevering. Pray that the Lord bless his efforts with fruit, spiritual growth, conversions, and joy. Pray that the Lord bless him with the desire to serve, cast a vision, be patient, be focused, love the people, and be evangelistic. And, pray that the Lord grace him with wisdom to teach, preach, and counsel in and through any situation.
    Pastors need the prayers of their people. Church members do not know everything that goes into being a pastor and the emotional, physical, and spiritual strain it places on a man of God. It takes its toll. So, remember to pray for your pastors. Your prayers, in God's sovereignty and perfect plan, may be the one thing that is keeping your pastor sane, faithful, and productive. Thank God for the prayers of the saints! Keep praying saints. The days are getting darker, the ministry more challenging, and life more arduous. The battle is real. Pray for your pastor as he prays for you.
    What a gift from God. God has called and equipped men to shepherd his church. He has given them the command to pray for the sheep. And God has orchestrated that the sheep pray for the shepherd. There is a harmony here that can only come from God. Shepherds and sheep need each other. We help one another. We are on the same pilgrimage and headed for the same destination; one is leading and the other following. But, it is a relationship with no equal-a pastor and his sheep. What a beautiful picture, what a beautiful marriage. So again, pray for your pastor as he prays for you.

Spiritual Evaluation: Am I Growing as a Christian?

Spiritual Evaluation:
Am I Growing as a Christian?

    Christians are growing. We are either growing more like Christ or growing more complacent and apathetic. But grow we must. Growth is the Christian life. We are to grow in Christlikeness and grace, love and kindness toward others, service and sacrifice, and love and devotion for God. The Holy Spirit indwells believers and is at work. He transforms believers into the image of Christ. It is through the work of the Spirit that believers grow.
    One of the key ways for Christians to grow is to practice silence and solitude. This is being silent and away from noise, people, interruptions, and distractions in order to focus on God, pray, read Scripture, and think. This is done to worship God (Hab. 2:20), to pray (Lk. 5:16), to express faith and seek after God (Ps. 46:10, 62:1-6; Is. 30:15), to seek deliverance (Lam. 3:25-28), and for restoration (Mk. 6:31).
    If Christians are to grow, it would prove helpful to stop once in a while to evaluate this growth. This is done to improve and in order to grow more. Negative patterns may be discovered and corrected. This may also motivate a person to grow. The goal is maturity and Christlikeness. Goals are not achieved if they are never thought of, evaluated, striven for, or reassessed.
    One way to measure growth or to evaluate your spiritual life is to ask and answer a series of questions. What follows are suggestions. You do not have to ask every question every time you evaluate yourself. Also, we must beware of legalism. Christians do not merely follow a list of do's and don'ts in order to mature. We grow because the Spirit compels us and we desire to mature. So, do not just check off a list. Be honest and examine your heart. Look at your life and that will reveal your heart. Then with the aid of the Spirit and the grace of God, make changes in order to grow.
    Do I pray fervently? Do I have a pattern of prayer? Do I pray often? Do I have a set time for praying? Do my actions and speech bring glory to God? Am I thankful? Do I think on the little things? What am I zealous for? Am I hot or cold spiritually? Am I repentant? Do I have a hunger for the word of God? Do I regularly feed on the word? Do I sit under the preached word? Do I strive to apply the word of God to my life and live according to God's truth? Am I submissive? How is my attitude toward others? How is my attitude toward authority?
    What am I praying for? Have any prayers been answered? Do I thank God for answered prayers? What reveals pride in my life? Am I jealous or envious? Do I compare myself to others? Do I complain a lot? What takes up most of time? What occupies my thoughts? Are my relationships growing? How am I ministering to others? Is the love of Christ evident in my life? Is my spiritual appetite increasing? Is there any evidence of apathy? Do I finish what I start? Have I set and achieved any goals? Is God glorified by my life? Do I share the gospel?
    Am I bearing spiritual fruit? What motivates me? Do I have a desire to commune with God? Do I enjoy fellowshiping with the Lord's people? Am I growing in my hatred of sin? Am I convicted when I sin? Do I have joy? What often robs me of my joy? Do I worship God no matter the circumstances? Do I see an ever increasing need for the grace of God? Am I growing in humility? Am I a good steward of all that God has given me? Am I dependent on the Spirit or do I rely on the flesh?
    Again, these are only suggested questions. As you can see, these are penetrating and if answered honestly will reveal the condition of your heart and life. Now what? Repent and pray that the Lord will help you to grow. None of us are perfect. We all have room for improvement. We have not yet arrived so there is work to be done. Get to work! It will not be easy. Nothing that is worth it ever is. But, it is necessary and very beneficial. And, you are not alone. Remember, the Father desires for you to grow and glorify him, Christ is interceding for you, and the Spirit lives within you.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Questions To Ask About the Preaching In Your Church

Questions To Ask About the Preaching
In Your Church
    Preaching is important. In fact, it may be the most important human action we have the privilege to do and hear. Am I overstating this? Really? The most important human action? Yes, it may be. Think about it, when a man preaches and people listen, what is taking place? God is speaking through his word. The God who created the universe out of nothing, stoops down to speak to sinful man. God speaks through his word. Men preach that word. People hear God's word proclaimed. What could be more important?
    Why is the preached word so important? Heaven and hell hang in the balance. It is through the word that God saves sinners. Also, it is through the word that God sanctifies his people. The word of God is food for the hungry, water for the thirsty, light for them in darkness, strength for the weak, hope for the despondent, life for the dead, etc. It is important. And it must be proclaimed.
What follows are some questions both for the preacher and the listener to ponder about the preaching of the word.
Questions to ask and answer: Pastor
1) Am I truly preaching the word of God?
    Preachers are ministers of the word of God. If a minister is not preaching the word of God, he is not preaching. Do not call yourself a pastor, minister, shepherd, or anything else if you are not preaching God's word.
2) Am I preaching the whole counsel of God?
    Preachers are responsible for the eternal welfare of their flock. They will give an account for their stewardship of the word. So, preacher, are you preaching the whole counsel of God? Two methods will ensure that this is what you are doing. The first is expository preaching (verse-by-verse and book-by-book). The second is preaching catechisms (preaching doctrine by preaching the subject matter of the question, answer, but most importantly, the text given in support). Preaching the whole counsel of God means: preaching the glory of God and the sinful condition of man, the sovereign grace of God, calling sinners to repent and trust Christ alone for salvation, and how Christians are to live, grow, and glorify God.
3) Am I preaching the word with clarity and passion?
    This takes prayer, many hours of study, a heart on fire for God, a desire to minister to the flock through the word, practice, accountability, and a pastor who has been in the presence of God and in his word. I liken this to Moses on the mountain with God. Moses was there on the mountain in God's presence. He received the word of God, worshiped God, desired God, learned about God, wanted to know more about God, and then went down the mountain and delivered God's word to God's people. Pastor, are you on the mountain with God during the week? Are you in the word of God? You need to be. You better be!
4) Am I preaching the word experientially and doctrinally?
    This means, are you preaching to the minds and to the hearts of your people? The flock needs both. They need to know what the word of God says but also what to do with it. This is application. This is taking the word of God, expositing it, explaining it, and then applying it to your people in their context.
Questions to ask and answer: Hearer
1) Does my pastor preach the word of God?
2) Does my pastor preach the whole counsel of God?
3) Does my pastor preach with clarity and passion?
4) Does my pastor preach experientially and doctrinally?
5) Am I praying for my pastor as he prepares to preach?
6) Do I prepare myself to hear the word?
    Do I prepare my soul by praying throughout the week? Do I come with a spiritual hunger for the word of God? Do I have a teachable heart? Am I submissive to the word of God? Am I attentive? Do I receive the preached word with meekness and humility? Do I mix the preached word with faith and seek to apply it and live it? Do I strive to retain what was preached in order to meditate on it during the week and remember it for later in life? Do I pray that God would accompany his preached word with the appropriate blessings?
    These questions are important. Hearer, if you answered “no” to 1-4, there may be a problem in the pulpit. I cannot tell you what to do, but something must be done. If you answered “no” to any of the rest, then you may need to repent and beg God to help you to grow in these ways.
    Pastor, if you answered “no” to any of yours, seek God and mend your ways. Think on the importance of preaching the word of God. You are merely a herald. You are the messenger. You are called to preach God's message and not your own. Preach God's word. I know that some are people pleasers, fear rejection, don't want to preach on difficult topics, preach doctrine because it may be above people's heads, fear losing their church, and a host of other issues. But, that is not in your hands. That does not change the fact that you are to preach God's word! You preach the word and leave everything else up to God. Feed the sheep.
    Pastor, if you did not answer “no” to any of your questions, praise God! Remain faithful, brother. Keep preaching the word. Pray for grace to persevere until the end. Pray that God bless the preaching of his word with spiritual growth and maturity, discipline, Christlikeness, conversions, and heart-felt worship for God.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Pastor, Why You Should Preach Expositionally

Pastor, Why You Should Preach Expositionally

    What is expositional or expository preaching? Expository preaching exegetes, proclaims, and applies the meaning of a particular text of Scripture after careful study of the passage in its original context. It seeks to explain what the passage meant to the original audience. The sole source of the message is the word of God. Expository preachers usually preach verse-by-verse through entire books of the Bible.
    Why should pastors preach expositionally? First, expository preaching achieves the biblical purpose of preaching- delivering God's message. Preachers are simply the messengers; we have no right to change the message or only proclaim what we want. Second, it promotes scriptural authority. God and his word must be submitted to and obeyed. Third, it magnifies God and his word. When the scriptures are preached expositionally, God is seen in all of his glory and splendor. He is preeminent, he is the focus.
    Fourth, preachers should preach expository sermons because it develops and sanctifies them. As a pastor studies the text and prepares the sermon, he is communing with God, sitting under the word himself, opening an avenue for the Spirit to do his work of convicting and edifying, becoming more like Christ, and growing in the grace and knowledge of the truth. Fifth, not only is the pastor developed, but this ensures that the flock is fed and receiving a steady diet of God's word. The people in the pew are built up, challenged, convicted, warned, encouraged, equipped, and sanctified.
    Sixth, expository preaching introduces the congregation to the entire Bible. Most expository preachers preach through entire books of the Bible. Some preach through a book in the New Testament and then the Old Testament. This ensures a steady and complete diet of the word of God. This is referred to as “preaching the whole counsel of God.” Seventh, preaching this way teaches the congregation how to read, understand, and apply the entire Bible. Believers will hear different types of passages exegeted and therefore will grow in their understanding of the Bible. When entire books are preached through, people will hear sermons on historical narrative, poetry, prophecy, parables, etc.
    Eighth, it leads to thoughtfulness and Christlikeness. People will have a deeper appreciation of the word of God and will grow as a result. Ninth, expositional preaching creates a sense of reverence in listeners for the word of God. Why? Because it is God's word being proclaimed and not merely the message of a man. Tenth, preaching in this manner ensures that difficult texts and unpopular subjects and doctrines will be handled. When preachers do not preach expositionally, it is so easy to avoid the topics and verses that are controversial or difficult to understand.
    Eleventh, this allows for deep theological themes and texts to be handled in context. Often, preachers preach on what they want and divorce their topic from the context. Preaching expository sermons safeguards from this and aids in eliminating eisegesis. Twelfth, preaching in this way shows that the pastor does not have an agenda. He knows himself to be the messenger and the word of God is his message. So often, preachers preach what they want when they want. The same themes are taught over and over again. And the result? Starving sheep. Feed the flock of God and use his word.
    Lastly, anything that may get a pastor fired, especially relating to preaching, must be right. It is sad to say, but people do not like this kind of preaching because it exposes sin, shows who God really is, and takes effort on the part of the pastor and listener. Most just are not used to this type of preaching. It is not “the way it has always been done.” But, they can adjust. It is for their good and God's glory.
There are many reasons to preach God's word as God's word. At the end of the day, pastor, you were called by God and placed where you are to proclaim his word, not your own. I know this may be difficult and some will rebel. But, God is on his throne and his word will not return to him without it accomplishing his purpose. You are just the messenger. The message is not your own. Give your people God's word. Stand on the word of God. Preach it boldly and unashamedly. Preach it in season and out of season. Feed the flock. Preach the word.