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The importance of exegetical preaching.


By Steve White - Posted on 21 April 2009

Sunday night made me realize why exegetical preaching is so important.  

It had been a strange night.  My sermon was prepared, but I was nervous about it.  It's amazing how bold you can be in the study, preparing a talk, and how much that can contrast with the feelings of nervousness that hit you before preaching.  It was made worse by the fact that there was a record number of people there - all the seats were taken.  For some reason, we had a good 30 visitors turn up.  How I would have loved to have spoken on love or patience or forgiveness.  Instead, I was speaking on Genesis 19: homosexuality, gang rape, incest, and the wholesale destruction of a city!  

As the passage was read out the silence was incredible.  Parents of small children looked nervous, young teens grinning amongst themselves.  I felt the anticipation as I stood up to preach.  We looked at how God hates sin, how he judges it, and how homosexuality was more than a lifestyle choice - it was offensive to our creator God and will come under his judgement like all sin.  We also looked at the need to flee sin rather than allow ourselves to be enticed by it.  

At the conclusion of the service I got around chatting to the visitors, expecting at least a couple to have been annoyed by the blatant treatment of homosexuality (I had had a very aggressive woman confront me a couple of weeks before on the fact that I had called Sarai a sinner).  The feedback, however, was the opposite.  People were genuinely appreciative that the passage had been tackled boldly and without apology.  A couple of local ladies had turned up and spent the next half hour looking at the passage and talking about it.  They had been around Churches for many years, but had never heard a passage preached from like that before.  "It was like a book review", one of them said.

I left Sunday night with both negative and positive thoughts.  One part of me was sad and frustrated that these issues aren't often dealt with in Churches.  The reason?  I believe it has a lot to do with the trend of topical teaching today.  To be honest, there's no way that the themes of Genesis 19 would be on the top of my list of topics to cover in Church.  Exegetical preaching forces us to deal with the issues God wants us to deal with, rather than our own hobby horses.  I remember a discussion with someone very close to me on the role of men and women in the Church a few years ago.  I suggested we look at the Bible on the issue, and this particular person told me he didn't know that the Bible even dealt with it.  I was left with a few questions on the thoroughness of his devotional life and reading at the time, but also concerned that after a good 40 odd years of sitting in Church, he hadn't heard it explained from up front!  

On the positive side, I was greatly encouraged by the work of God's Spirit within us, aligning our thinking with that of the Father.  Regardless of the Church background of our visitors, people were more than happy to agree wholeheartedly with God's view on life, rather than wanting to blur the lines between us and our culture.  

The reason I will continue to preach exegetically is simply because I don't trust myself.  I am a sinful man, and find myself saying the things people want to hear sometimes.  Exegetical preaching makes God the one who sets the agenda, our role is to do our best to discern and speak his mind on it.  I would love to see more Churches embrace exegetical teaching on the Coffs Coast, because I firmly believe it would result in a massive internal strengthening of the Christians who attend them.

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It seems as though homosexuality is an issue that is becoming less serious among christian circles as it subtly creeps in to our TV shows and western culture. On more than one occasion today I have referenced Steves talk last night, as the topic of homosexuality came up with a fellow collegue of mine at work today.

It is good to remember that this issue is dealt with in the Bible, and that it is quite clear that God does not condone this type of behaviour. One of todays top news stories today was Miss California's response to a question regarding her opinion on gay marriage, which she was clearly against. Although her answer was honest and meant "no offense", it is sad to see the crowd "booing" her and the media portraying her as a lesser person because of her Christian viewpoint. She later said "God was testing my character and faith" by making her answer the controversial question in front of such a large audience, and it is easy for us to shrug these questions off even with a small one.

My misconception was that homosexuality is more of a modern trend but last night served as a reminder to me that it has been around for a while and it is quite clear what God thinks of it.

To quote the mother of Miss New Mexico - "God made marriage for Adam and Eve! Not Adam and Steve!"

..and now I have a biblical reference to back this up :)

I must admit i was a bit nervous myself during the bible reading but I'm pretty sure you hit the nail on the head last night Steve :) Thanks again

Disclaimer: I do not follow anything "Miss Universe" related. Please do not ask me questions.

 

 

That is the question asked by many non-Christians. How do you answer them?

While I firmly hold to a biblical view of marriage between male and female, I find the picture on the left utterly deplorable. Such a self righteous and unloving attitude stirs up me more anger in me than the transgression.

No wonder many people say today,

"If Christians are supposed to love everyone, why do they hate homosexuals?"

Ravi Zaccharius answers the question in an appropriate manner.

 He says, "The Christian would want to affirm the dignity of every human being and make a distinction between personhood and behaviour."

Sadly, many Christians today either

1. fail to show love and sensitivity when talking to non-Christians about the issue or

2. avoid the topic altogether because of the tolerant culture we live in.

It's amazing how mucked up we all are because of sin. We choose to make up our own rules on how to live.

Many christians tick off the box and say 'I'm not guilty of that one' and show no love at all towards a person made in the image of God. Non christians also make up their own standards of sexuality with no regard to God. Both parties are guilty.

It is also extremely difficult for many ex gay christians who have lived most of their lives in the gay culture to be accepted by many evangelical churches. I heard the testimony of one convert in Australia who wanted to serve the Lord Jesus. He faithfully attended a church for years but sadly, would often over hear 'poofta' jokes from members of the congregation.

Christians and non-Christians are both affected by sin in their attitudes and actions. Christians however, have the advocate Jesus Christ who intercedes for their transgressions.

How about we share with them the good news!

Exegetical preaching is important because it challenges our rebellious nature and helps us to respond to people in the way Jesus would.

Thanks for the article Steve.

 

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