In his timely little book, God Hath Spoken, J. I. Packer has an introductory chapter called “The Lost Word.” He likens our day to the period of which Amos prophesied: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD” (8:11). He goes on to say that these words “show us the present state of much of Christendom.… Preaching is hazy; heads are muddled; hearts fret; doubts drain our strength; uncertainty paralyzes action.… Why is this?” Dr. Packer answers his own question by asserting that “for two generations our churches have suffered from a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.”
Only a little while ago one of the greatest preachers of our day bared his heart to a group of ministers when he said: “I am appalled by the lack of true expository preaching today.”
To my mind, expository preaching is the most inclusive and rewarding means of communicating divine truth. Experience has taught me that to go through the Bible in this fashion covers more ground in doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness than is covered in any other method of preaching.
Three things should determine the spirit and content of all preaching. In order of importance, there is first the minister’s ordination. The call to the ministry and “the ordination of the pierced hands” should serve as a constant and humbling reminder of one’s responsibility before God. In his Epistles to Timothy, the Apostle Paul solemnly reveals the true nature of God’s ordination to the ministry of the Gospel, and he concludes by saying: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his ...1
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