Western world, large economical resources, few people and lack of confidence in gospel and preaching. The rest of the world have few resources but a lot of people. In many parts of the world churches are growing faster than people can be educated.
Preaching must be learnt by preaching, it’s an ongoing feedback model. Preaching is not a theoretical excercise. Langham is a preaching movement, focus is not on material, conferences or education.
The lack of confidence stems from the enlightenment, which is built on skepticism. That skepticism has influenced all of western culture. How can preaching be established as an authorative means of communication? It can be done, but we can not go backwards. Monologue stands in opposition to post-modernism. We are skeptical because of power abuse over the centuries, not the least among churches. We need to become more Christ-like who had cosmic power but laid down his life. Preaching that reflects more of Jesus, with passion and posture but with humility, is the way to go to reclaim this authority.
The gospel offer a story where we are part of the story, but the story isn’t about us. We have importance and a role to play, but we are not the center of the universe. Compare this with atheists godlessness where everything is meaningless and the new age syncretism where you are the center of the universe.
The authority of the expository preaching comes from the message and not from the charisma of the preacher. We need to decouple the individuals charisma from the expository message.
Preaching with genuineness, it’s expected to be a show, of showmanship, but preaching needs to be genuine. What’s the preacher like at home? If the preacher is charistmatic and succesful it can feel like a façade.
The danger of not preaching expository is that texts are cherry-picked from the bible. Without expository preaching the work goes directly from the text to sermon, which fails to capture what the text actually says. That approach is hit-and-miss, mostly miss.
The Langham model summarized: “slow down and work systematically”. The words “The flesh” hangs on the bones which is the structure, which is usually a story with background, characters with conflict, crisis and resolution. Sometimes the bones is an argument.
Christian life is change, repentance in greek is metanoia-ish. Meta means change kind of like metamorphosis. Noia means thinking. Metanoi means that our thinking has been turned upside down, we are on longer on the throne, God is. Repentance is a daily thing, we get things wrong and our relation with God is spoiled by that, even though he is still our father that is not changed.
Core aims in teaching sermons should be faithful to God’s word, relevant well applied to God’s people and clearly communicated. The text analysis is only about what the text meant to those that heard/read it for the first time. Only in the application is the leap made to our time. The societys are different but God, gospel and human nature has not changed. You can not preach in a way that a corithian had understood, because someone today will not understand that sermon.
The outcome of a successful sermon is not “You’re an amazing preacher” but rather “God is amazing”. The text should determine the shape and content of the sermon.
If there are things that don’t fit or doesn’t make sense you have to take a step a way from the text. A letter of Paul has one river and many tributaries. Only when you view the letter from a distance can you make sense of the letters. Say the love part in 1 Kor 13, you need to zoom out to see that the church is divided by who was baptized by whom, who has which gifts, how the rich treat the poor. Chapter 13 is a rebuke to this behaviour and is an example for how people should behave in the church. 2 Kor is also a part of this whole. You have to ask what is the Amazon and what are the tributaries. Is chapter 13 the main thrust or is it a tributary? Chapter 13 is not only about love but also a stinging rebuke of the behaviour in the church. Paul is calling out the bad behaviour in Corinth. When you see things that stand out you need to give those passages more time.
Biblical Poetry I
What is so powerful about poetry?
Describes feelings and things that are difficult to describe. Adheres to a certain form that makes them concise. The Bible is filled with poetry. The OT is filled with poetry, a third to a half of the OT is some kind of poetry. The easy part of preaching poetry is that the text gives a lot of imagery, but that imagery may be difficult to translate to a modern context. Jesus used the Psalms more than any other book when preaching. The Psalms where deeply ingrained in Jewish worship. Paul admonished believers to encourage each other with Psalms. Psalms speaks to our hears both about God and about us. Psalms gives us hope and encouragement.
David, Solomon, Asaf, Moses, Sons of Kora, Hema, Levite, Ethan Ps. 89, 40 Psalms where anonymous. Asaf wrote 16 Psalms, he might have been Asaf the Levite “ordained” by David. Kora was judged by God, even though he was judged that family line was still praising the Lord.
Psalms mean praises an are arranged in 5 books. All the books end with praise, see 41:14, 72:18-19, Ps 89:53, Ps 106:47, Ps 150. No matter what the content of the Psalms all the books end up in praise. THe last verse does not only conclude that specific Psalm but the whole book.
It is unknown who edited the Psalms and it is not known when the current structure was established.
The book could reflect the structure of the Thorah with 5 books.
Psalm one is like a title page for all five books because it explains what the life of worship and faith looks like. The contrast of the fruitful way of life of meditating on the Lord’s word and teaching and the opposing way which leads to condemnation. The first Psalms sets the tone of what the blessed life is.
Another theory of organisation is that it goes from lament to praise. Books 1-3 is more focused on lament and is more focused on the self. Books 4-5 are more focused on praise and the larger congregation. So through ups and downs of life we will find that god is worthy of hearthy praise.
Third theory. The Psalms tell the story of the People of Israel. The psalms start out with David and the second book ends with David’s prayer to have Solomon be a good king. Books 3-4 are more of the deterioration of Israel and exile to Babylon. Book 5 is for the return from Babylon and for a people on a journey to the concrete and heavenly Jerusalem.
We should not view Psalms as buffet but rather view the Psalms in a larger context.
The first verse could be a reference to the perfect Eden. It also fits with the story of the People of Israel where Israel would have had a “golden age” during Davids reign.
Psalms of Praise
Begins with an admonition to praise and reasons for praise. The psalms of praise usually end with a reaffirmation of praise or faith. The psalms focus on the aspects of the Lord and what he has done and call for us to put our faith in the Lord.
Psalms about historical kings but has taken on a messianic property and we see them fulfilled in Jesus.
Lament and Despair
In despair the psalmists relation with God is shown more aspects. David i.e. believed he had a deal with God and would get angry when he felt that God was not holding up his part.
Psalm 13, three parts. Questioning why God has not already acted, the prayer with almost demands and the a reaffirmation of faith. Why don’t we sing songs of lament in church? Is there a disconnect between church and our ordinary lives where the service is only focused on happiness and praise where everything is jubilant, but where in our ordinary lives are we feel pain, that God is distant. We shouldn’t leave our ordinary lives at the door.
The world is obviously not a happy place, and maybe the service should reflect more of the world. But the lamentation should end with praise. The psalmist has anguish in many aspects, he brings it all to God and pleads with God. But it ends in praise.
Laments are a sign that God is for real people. Even when everything is dark as it is in Psalm 88 they bring are their despair to God. They didn’t bring it to other people but turned to God. Even in their sorrow and troubles they came to God.
How do you preach Gospel from Psalm 88? You have to manage the context. If you are at a retreat you can leave it hanging and let people medidate over that desolation. It would not be possible to do that on a Sunday, which usually needs to be resolved. Sometimes you can resolve it with pencil, not in colour. You want to have a positive note, but without diminishing the feeling of the psalm. The need to leave heavy but not distrought. We need to emotionally manage the the service, to bring people on a journey so that people do not leave without hope.
Psalms of Zion
Celebrating the temple, Jerusalem and the center of worship. It was written to accompany pilgrimage to Jerusalem. But they are not difficult to translate to our context. “We have come to Mount Zion to worship the living God”.
Preaching from the Psalms
Songs of orientation. ps 1, 19, 24, 119. It’s a world at peace where we can sing and have confidence in God’s providence. It’s the world as it was supposed to be. Much of our contemporary worship is from this category. We need to preach songs of orientation to re-orient people’s mind to how the world should have been.
Songs of Disorientation. Expressing pain and frustration to God, while clinging to God’s character. Why does the wicked prosper? The world is not only orientation. Nothing is out of bounds in the songs of disorientation. It’s a genuine conversation of the heart with God. Everything must be spoken, and spoken to God. We should go with everything to God.
Songs of New Orientation, ps 30, 34, 66, 73, 97. How God “fixes” the world?
Songs for Faith: Who God is and how we are to live? What does it look like to have faith in this broken world. It includes wrestling with God.
Psalms for Living: It’s challenging to preach because it’s easy to become legalistic. Living a rigtheous life. Psalms is a gift and not a burden. How does the Psalmist present the law? Law is life-giving, it’s the best way to live.
Songs for Mission: THereare references in the Psalms to all of the world coming to know God. Ps 86:9 102:15. The Psalms has themesthat all nations will come to worship God. And from our new covenant perspective we can se how that is coming to frution. Even though it still remains to be fully fulfilled.
Environmentalism as a means of showing the modern man that the world needs to saved from us. For many guilt and judgement is difficult concepts so it might be better to address it in a way that modern man can understand.
People have their own idols, but God are above all those. What are peoples idols today?
The authority when we go on mission comes from God.
It’s all subjective
We shouldn’t diminish the objective worth of the psalms.
If only the were written epistles
Don’t force structure on the Psalms that are not there
Which direction are the Psalms facing
The direction is from people to God which is different to most of the Bible. Or between people. Ps 46 contains several directions, but the words of sons of Kora to God is also the word of God to us. The Psalm is a testimonal from sons of Kora to us on the nature of God.
Ps 88 God vindicating this feeling. We face the reality of judgement. The sons of Kora still pray to a God that they belive has abandoned them. A model for expressing a relationship with God, even though it touches the edge of what we think is “appropriate” for the Bible.
Understanding Hebrew Poetry
Inversion, Repetition, Explanation, Contrast
Biblical poetry does not rely on rhyme but on metre and parallelism. Parallelism prompts reflection and slowing down. Hebrew poetry is a prism that captures hues of an idea. Hos 5:14. We need to not focus on the image, but rather on what the Bible says. If we use only the image of the lion we could end up with an Aslan-sermon. Rather we should read the whole verse and see in what way that God is a lion to his people.
Poetic Licence, Metaphor & Simile
Ps 103:13. The point seems obvious but we need to be careful. It’s easy to be carried away with fatherhood. What can we see in human fathers and what can it teach us about God. But that is the wrong way to go about it. It is God who is the inspiration for human fatherhood, not the other way. We can not run away with the image, but we can only take the point from the text.
Ps 19:1-4. God i communicating through creation but subverts the image, because it is speech without words and voices, yet it is a language that is understood by the world. What is the glory of God? In creation we can glimpse the creator.
We need to look at the images to capture the depth of the Psalms. We should help the congregation to appreciate not only what is said but also how it is said.
Poetic Mood & Emotional Impact
There is a broad palate of moods. We must read the Psalms and not only note the impact on us but also reflect on how the author wanted us to feel. How does the writer shape the tone and note of the poem? I might be preoccupied with another feeling, so I should focus on what the author’s intention were. We like religion to be clean, without anger and white washed, kind and timid. But that is not the way of the Bible. We need to enter into the emotions of the author.
Psalms in the Redemptive-Historical Context
We need to understand the Psalms in their historical context.
Specific events: - Ps 51 & adultery with Batsheba - Ps 59 when Sals’s men seeking David to kill him - Ps 63 when David is in the desert
Books of history:
Psalm 51 - 2 Sam 11-12 Psalm 56 - 1 Sam 21 Psalm 57 - 1 Sam 24 Psalm 59 go to 1 Sam 19:11ff Ps 63 go to 2 Sam 15:23
Poetic Prophecy and fulfilment
If a modern or ancient jewish person recognizes nothing in your sermon you’ve gone wrong. Maybe you are not taking the context into consideration or are jumping straight to Christ. But if a jew agrees with everything we’ve also gone wrong. We must interpret the OT in terms of the new. Remember that the story of the Bible is more to do with his plan than it is to do about us. So preaching over a Psalm may be more about his plan than it is about us, e.g. Ps 22.
When can our typology be authoritive? Only when NT does the typology for us?
Ideas for preaching for the Psalms
Intentional reading that digests the word. Shut off from distractions. Our minds are distracted, it is divided and thus we never do anything with all our heart. We should read the text aloud. Interact with the text in a physical way. If the Psalm say blind, cover your eyes etc.
Use concrete language
The Psalms are not vague which is why we can really relate to them. When you preach OT don’t use illustrations, it’s already inundated with rich imagery.
Use the ideas of parallelism from the Psalms in a sermon.
Could end the service with a hymn or a song based on that Psalm.
Work in partnership with the rest of the service Consider actual images
Like bringing a lamp to the service.
Use an expressive voice and body
How we look and sound is our medium. People are more convinced by our body message than by our words. We are already communicating, we need to be more deliberate about it.
If what I say is contradicted by how I behave/am the message is undermined.
Use parallelism from the Psalm when preaching
Individualism is reductive, if I don’t get what I need, this specific aspect I move somewhere else. We determine the goodness of a church on if certain things that are our requirements are present in the church.
These things are not necessarily bad, but we must be alert to them and anticipate them.
In an individual culture:
People see church as an institution, not a community. I want to belong to the church to feel secure, the church is there to meet my needs.
Worship/service is a sense of divine connection, the “liver shiver”. But you can also get that at a football game, it’s not exclusively christian or authentic. The gathering of the church is at the worst a weekly entertainment hit. It’s not a comment on the people in the community, but on the model and on individualism.
Preaching is primarily therapy, the questions on how to live life and how can you live a good life. Perhaps with a little celebrity thrown in. Our culture is awash with charismatic people, TV, politics, entertainment. A preacher with charisma should not necissarily restrict themselves, but this what an individualist relies on.
God for the individualist is my ever present help when I’m in trouble, which is the natural extension of therapy. God should leave me alone when everything is just going along, and I can take him out of the drawer when I’m in need.
Preaching as a response to individuality
If you are shaped in your ministry by the NT then preaching will be central to kingdom thinking. To often preaching reinforces individuality, especially in application between application is individualistic. There are so many implications on how we should live our lives.
The five mores of application reductionism:
- Pray more
- Read your bible more
- Come to church more
- Give more to church
- Evangelise more
It reduces christianity to a list and makes preaching automatic and does nothing to disprove the individualistic notion that God is only concerned with me. The Bible has so much more meaning to give.
When Paul talks about the peace from God and the forgiveness of sins that is actually a political statement against the Roman empire. An individual looking for security may read the Bible more and pray more, but may not say that Jesus, not Ceasar, is his Lord.
You assume that the Bible has something to say about everything that can be found in a newspaper. We are not engaging with our times. We must work hard to make gospel to speakt to modern problems without compromising the gospel. The gospel contains aspects that are so foreign to the modern intelectual that they will always appear as follies. We must believe and obey what we understand. We listen to the world with critical listening and sympathise it and with grace see how the gospel relates to it.
Discpleship is sharpening everyones biblical spectacles so that we see the world as God sees it. Gen 1: The world is created and we have a place in it. It’s not about reading your Bible more.
Mark has a blog.
Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again. Through the question: What would be different if I were not an individualist and I was more corporate? Individuals in community. The Bible understands both the individuality of everyone and the belongingness of everyone.
We need to do better of developing a christian corporate memory, the inheritance of the gospel. What do we share together, even though we are from different cultures and churches. Because of gospel we share a corporate memory. It’s important that we resist an era that is ignorant of history. We have a grand history that we are part of, in fact the grandest of them all, salvation history. Without history you can have an individualistic gospel. Preachers are storytellers of this grand story. Even if you use a full text, don’t use a full text for your stories.
Rememberance, celebrating the heroes of the faith. The Bible does it without doing Haggiography (biography without the bad parts). We celebrate the heroes because we own them, we wouldn’t be here without Luther or Aquinus or Jeremiah or Rosenius. We need our heroes, not to worship them, but it puts us in our place. We see far because we stand on the shoulders of gians. The enlightenment is called that because everything was dark before, the dark ages where dark. If we listen to modernist propaganda it sounds like Newton stands on the greek philosophers. It’s not true, Newton stood on Bacon who saw creation as God second enlightenment. Many are not aware of this and think that science and thelogy are not compatible, which is nonsense from a historical perspective.
Imitation, who are we going to learn our life lessons from. Who are we going to imitate? Philippians. The chain of imitation is unbroken back all the way to Jesus. I’m not the first person to think of these questions or to think that I have the answer.
Causation, being able to discern God’s purposes over time. A lot of christians assume they can be good pundits, and it’s an temptation. We know God and therefore we can tell what God is doing in Europe or thinking. It’s too soon to tell. If we identify ourself in the story we have the ability to dectect parallels between what is going on now and what was going on in history. And it could be wrong, but it could also be helpful. What mistakes, what were the consequences earlier. What do we need to watch out for? Punditry is dangerous. If we study history we can get a sense of what God is doing.
We are all chronological snobs, we think we are the pinnacle of evolution and human history and the ancients and grandparents didn’t understand. That is hubris.
Christ has risen
Identity is a big issue today. Identity politics, but also the profound issue of teenagers. Who am I? It’s not only as individuals but also culturally, and we’ve lost our moorings thus people try to latch on to anything that can. Our preaching about sin makes sin to small, we think it’s only about what I’ve done to God by not making him the centre. It doesn’t sound to bad. But when you start realising the corporate nature of sin and realising it’s a spider web. Is there such a thing as corporate sin of a goverment, church, denomination, family or corporation? If you think sin is just about individuals you think that individuals can also deal with it. Think about Auschwitz where there is this collosal machinery of death, but everyone even the train mechanic was guilty of sin.
Sin puts us in our place it is far to complex for us to deal with. The sin is structural and ever present. It permeates and corrodes everything.
This mystery is that through the Gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel….
We are divine royalty. Be who you are. Sin is about us. Salvation is about us. Christ is risen is the only answer to corporate sin.
Christ will come again and therefore we will be swept up in a new creation. Not “I get my resurrection body and that’ll be cool”. No! It’s not about me. Above all, it’s not about me. It’s about us.
We are individualists when it comes to our sermons. If you criticize it is me your criticising. But that’s not true, it’s the church’s sermon. It’s not about me. We can not resist the individualism of the world if we have not begun resisting the individualism of our heart.
Application is not about what you do, it’s about shaping a world view.
Without God’s promise of redemtion there is no salvation from the helplessness of sin.
Our false bookkeeping
The grace of the Lord causes the psalmists to ascend from the depths of despair to the pulpit of assurance.
The psalmist is on a journey, narrative,
v 5-6 expectancy on God, eagerness
The grace of the Lord will lift you up from the depths of despair to the pulpit of assurance.
A song of mission where the psalmist is preaching in v 7-8.
Outline follow structure of the song
Cry to the one that can help Confess his gracious character The confidence is individual The confidence flows over to a collective
Song of ascent, there is no temple for us, where should we go? Jesus is the new temple that we ascend to.
We hope for the Lord because with the Lord has the grace that we need.
v 1-4, 5-6, 7-8 I cry out from the depth of my guilt to the Lord who forgives
I wait patiently for the Lord
Trust the deliverance of the Lord
The reality of sin and that the Lord has no obligation to forgive us.
The psalmist is impatiently awaiting the Lords salvation. We aren’t waiting in the same way, because Jesus has already acted. When we ask for forgiveness we get immediate response. The pilgrimage is pensive, it’s scary to meed God, even though you are looking forward to forgiveness, but fearing meeting God, who has every right to judge us.