Berean Husband is blogging almost live again this year from the 2010 Expositor’s Conference at Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama. This is the second year I have attended this conference. Last year the speakers were Steve Lawson (pastor of Christ Fellowship) and Joel Beeke, noted author on the Puritans. This year the speakers are Steve Lawson and R.C. Sproul. This is the only conference Dr. Sproul is doing outside of Florida this year. Session 1 begins in about five minutes. The attendance this year is excellent. There was no parking left in the parking lot and there are probably 350 to 400 here in the sanctuary. The give-away bag is excellent this year. There are five full-length books, including Sproul’s new book on the Gospel of John. I almost ordered this book a few weeks ago…glad I waited. The theme of this year’s conference is “The Glory of God in Preaching.” The conference guide says that the conference audio will be available shortly after the end of the conference at www. Christfellowship.cc. Sermonaudio is also live video webcasting the conference. Check for a link on the homepage. The conference begins with some congregational singing and a choir anthem.
Session 1 – Preaching the Glory of God (Steven Lawson)
The text for session 1 is from 1 Peter 4:10-11. These verses instruct us that those who God calls to preach have been gifted to preach the word of God. Therefore, every preacher must be a good steward of this gift of preaching. There will be accountability for this stewardship. The chief end of this stewardship is the glory of God.
1. The gift of preaching. Every believer is given a gift. The gift is to be employed in serving one another. The gift is solely from the grace of God and not based on natural ability. In verse 11 we see two categories of these gifts: speaking and serving. The gift of speaking involves both teaching and preaching. Preaching includes teaching and something more. The “more” is the public proclamation of the word of God. Preaching is accompanied by extraordinary power (c.f. the power of the preaching of Paul and Peter). Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:6 that this gift of preaching must be fanned into a flame. There is no room for timidity in preaching.
2. The gravity of preaching. Preaching is a sacred call. Verse 11 calls our preaching the speaking of the oracles of God. That is, God’s words spoken through the preacher. We cannot take any part of ourselves into the pulpit. The words must be all God’s words, none of ours. The preacher should have nothing to say apart from the word of God. The preacher must be under the authority of the word of God. More so, when the preacher is preaching the word of God, it is as if God himself is present in the midst of the congregation. The gravity of preaching also arises from the fact that the preacher is a steward. The word of God is entrusted to the preacher to use it wisely for the glory of the master. The steward acts on behalf of the master with the best interest of the master in heart. See 1 Corinthians 4:1-5. The steward will be accountable to be faithful with the gift of preaching. And this accountability is not to man, but to God. We are not even accountable to ourselves. Also see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. The preacher must skillfully lay the foundation of Jesus Christ. So many preachers are busily and skillfully laying a foundation, but the foundation is not Jesus Christ. And so many preachers are busily and skillfully building on the foundation, but are using hay and stubble. All these works will be tested by fire. A handful of gold is worth far, far more than a truckload of hay. We will not know who are the really great preachers until we see what remains after the work has been tested by fire. And see 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. We must give our all in order to win the prize at the end of the race. So many preachers are running aimlessly with no goal, and the punches that they throw don’t count, don’t make a difference. We must also make sure that we live in the same manner as we preach to others to live.
3. The goal of preaching. The goal of preaching is that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. We are to glorify God in our preaching and lead others to give glory to God through what they hear preaching. We need to take care that we receive no glory from what we preach. The gift of preaching that God has given to a person is to end that God himself may be glorified.
I would recommend that anyone who thinks that they have been called to preach should listen to this sermon, particularly the part about the gravity of preaching. How often do we build with hay and stubble when we have the chance to build with gold and silver?