To preach is:
To open the words of the Bible, and open the minds and hearts and lives of the congregation, so that they hear God’s voice, trust him and his Son for salvation, are transformed by the Holy Spirit, and trained to love, obey and serve God and live for his glory.
What happens when we use the Bible to teach and preach?
- We give God the microphone.
[Lots of people want the microphone and want to say things to God. We do this through our words, our prayers, our songs, The Bible Reading and the sermon are the one chance God has to speak to us, to open his heart to us, to tell us what he thinks, and to direct and shape our life together.]
- We live together ‘by every word that comes from the mouth of God’ [Matthew 4:4, Deuteronomy 8:3].
[When the Bible is read and preached, we think God’s thoughts after him, as God’s mind is revealed by words from his mouth. Here are God’s certain words, here are God’s universal words to all people, in every place, in all times.]
- We give room for God’s agenda to shape us.
[Here there is regular the time each week for God to fill out, complement, correct, improve, challenge and enrich our church mission statement, our life together, and our personal plans.]
- We use God’s syllabus to teach and proclaim salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, and to teach, encourage, rebuke, and challenge God’s people.
[The Bible is the inspired means God created for us to hear the gospel, and to transform us to live for his glory.]
- We bring God’s words to God’s people.
[The Bible is primarily addressed to the people of God, and to their corporate life, rather than to individuals. The Sunday Bible Reading and sermon is the only time when the whole church gathers to hear God’s word.]
The following activities need to be done by practical training as well as by preaching: but preaching sets a public corporate vision, mood, and standard for each of them.
- We show how to read and receive the Bible.
[People need good models of reading and understanding the Bible, or else they will pick up bad models.]
- We train and strengthen God’s people for their ministry of admonishing and teaching each other.
[People need good models and stimulus to do this.]
- We teach and evangelise enquirers and unbelievers, and show good models of doing this to the congregation.
[People need to be converted, and the church members need good models of evangelism.]
- We train God’s people in discipleship, and to serve God in their daily lives and work.
[It is good to do this publicly in the congregation, so that everyone receives the challenge together.]
- We train up future gospel workers for Australia and the world.
[The kind of ministry which grows believers is usually the kind of ministry that they will do in the future if they become trained gospel workers: we raise up, train, and influence future workers whenever we teach or preach.]