Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I have seen in Christianity two types of teaching & preaching: one with powerful implications for life and one without. For example a preacher may wax eloquent and even be very bold and passionate while delivering his message. Those who heard it may afterwards walk away excited about hearing a passionate message but may in fact leave without anything to take with them in the journey of life.

I have often wondered if this implications issue is the acid test with which to assess the strength of a message. (That said I realize that Christ-centeredness is absolutely essential here as well.) I am, however, reminded that God's word Never goes forth void. He is after all very good at taking our few loaves and fish and making it to feed many.

Teaching that seems most powerful is that which comes armed with implications. A preacher may say something like, "Do you get the picture" or "If this is the case then..." However, whether these implications are highlighted by these types of statements or not seems not to matter, and in fact sometimes it seems just as powerful when they are not so stated. This way the heart and truth behind the message is caught by those who would hear it and marinate in it.

For example I (and many others also) have benefited by marinating in an atmosphere in which Jesus is praised and prized during the services at our church. What increasingly emanates from our services is an atmosphere of praising and treasuring the glory of God in Christ as it is sung about, and preached about in God glorifying and Christ exalting ways.

In an amazing message at T4G '06 entitled, "Why expositional preaching is particularly glorifying to God" Piper explained (paraphrase) some people see (the glory of God), if they can see it at all - with their ears. What he meant was that some people will only behold the glory of God as they encounter it in Christ exalting preaching. I do not think that this is what he (nor I) believes should be the case. Rather that this is often the case with many of those in the church who will not grab shovels for themselves in order to dig in search of the great treasures which would otherwise remain uncovered.

This implication packed preaching is kind of like fishing. Sometimes the implications catch those who hear the message. Jesus said it like this, "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free." The truth is powerful, it has implications for life, it says "if this then that." These are some of the implications that have caught me:

If He is God then I cannot be.
If He is sovereign then what do I have to fear.
If He is infinitely valuable then He is worth seeking.
If He loves us like this then that is how we are to love each other.
If He has given us Christ then what good thing would He keep from us.
If He is does not make mistakes then I must be right where He wants me to be and when He wants that to change it will.
If salvation is by grace through faith then we cannot earn it.
If we cannot earn it, then we are to remain in a constant state of thankfulness for such a priceless and undeserved gift.
If we cannot earn it, then why would we try to pay back the richest King in existence with a few pennies for a debt so tremendous that we could never, nor will ever (including all eternity) be able to pay.
If God could have purposes in Christ enduring unimaginable suffering then He can have purposes if we must endure suffering.

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