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But I want to consider one single answer today. I must try to answer it, without apology, from the Word of God. So, I ask you to join me, and turn to 2 Timothy 3. There, a little pastor named Timothy, just like the name of the mouse in Dumbo, who followed a ministry giant, a pastoral pachyderm named Paul, is instructed on how to latch on to the legacy.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. Timothy was pastor of the church planted by Paul. When I feel really challenged, I think of Timothy. The elders at Ephesus had fallen on the neck of Paul and wept over his departure at Miletus. Three years of powerful ministry gave Paul the right to call them to shepherd the Church of God that He had purchased with His own blood. And Paul, in his swan song at the twilight of his remarkable ministry, reminded Timothy how he had to follow Him.

He gave the secret to power. He lifted a mouse no, his words were so divine and powerful that they magically transformed the mouse into an elephant , a giant linked to his ministry, and linked to Jesus Christ, powered by Almighty God Himself. And what did Paul commend? He commended the Word of God, and after calling it God-breathed, he charged a God-called man to preach.

The answer to the question, "How do mice latch on to elephants? Like Charles Hodge addressing new students at old Princeton, I, too, say to you, "I glory in saying that you will learn nothing new here. The only way for any of us to stand in the long and honorable legacy of gospel preachers is through expository preaching. I offer eight concise reasons why expository preaching is the power for the pastorate, whatever your situation. The way for Timothy to take his place as "[the] beloved child [of Paul]" 1.

For Paul makes it clear that the Word of God alone is able to meet the mission of the preacher. The reason this is so is that the Word of God is the authoritative instrument from the throne of God to accomplish God's mission in the world. We remember that Paul's admonition to "preach the word" follows his teaching that "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent for every good work" 3.

Paul had been building up to say that in everything he had written previously. I love the way Dr. Reymond puts it, "the Bible is a Word from another World. He gave us the pou sto "[a place] where I may stand" , or base that justifies both our knowledge claims and our claims to personal significance. Indeed, our very existence, our calling, our vocation only have meaning through this Word. I recently read J. Ryle's wonderful "Warning to the Churches," in which the old Bishop of Liverpool warned his diocesan ministers of the perils they faced. The book left me amazed at his prophetic gifts and understanding of the times.

I do not have such gifts, I am sure. But I do want to raise a danger related to the matter before us. We live in an ever increasing iconoclastic culture that demands image and entertainment to communicate, that tells the preacher that short sound bytes are more persuasive than exposition of a text, that narrative is of more importance than the exposition of a text, that postmodern man cannot endure direct teaching, but needs to make the homeletical turns for himself.

I say that this is a danger to the preaching of the Word, to evangelism, and to discipleship. And in the midst of such an age, we would all do well to remember that God called for Israel to do something that the heathen did not do, to think about Him in His Word, not in image. The late Neil Postman, a non-practicing Jew, saw this clearly.

Gospel of The Kingdom

The God of the Jews was to exist in the Word and through the Word, an unprecedented conception requiring the highest order of abstract thinking. Iconography, thus, became blasphemy, so that a new kind of God could enter a culture. People like ourselves, who are in the process of converting their culture from word-centered to image-centered, might profit by reflecting on the Mosaic injunction. The Word, my beloved brothers in the ministry, is the God-given place where we may stand, where we may reason, where we may dialogue with man. Indeed, we have been forbidden to go elsewhere.

This has powerful implications for my ministry that I want to explore further. The only way for me to stand in the company of pulpit giants is to stand with this Word from another world.


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The truth is, if they are truly giants in the church, if they are linked from Spurgeon, to Ryle, to M'Cheyne, to Whitefield, to Bunyan, to Luther, to Calvin, to Wycliffe, to Augustine, to Paul, to Jesus and the prophets, then they are men of this one Book, and that is all they have to say. This leads me to a second reason that we must cling to expository preaching in order to find our place in the accredited college of godly preachers. We have seen that Paul tells Timothy to preach the Word, and we all know why.

Preach the Word because the Word is divinely wrought. It is God's Word, and what could be nobler? If there were no other reasons to proclaim His Word other than the mere fact that the Bible is His Word that would be enough. The matter, then, becomes how shall we do it? To "preach" the Word must be to faithfully communicate that Word from another world. Expository preaching, properly understood and properly done, fulfills this mandate.

A Vision for Reforming Worship": William Temple was not an expository preacher, though he said enough good things that we often quote him. But the old Bishop of Canterbury did not believe that God would communicate His Word propositionally in the Bible because man could not understand it even if He did.

Temple did not believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible. Temple did believe that you could understand what he wrote; otherwise, he wouldn't have written anything, but that is another argument. Enough to say, that if we believe that the power for our ministries is the Bible, as Paul teaches us, then it surely follows that expository preaching is the only model we should seek in communicating that Word. As one who serves a seminary and who is also a professor who gets to teach preaching every now and then, and who, as a pastor, gets to mentor younger preachers before sending them to other places of service, the subject of "the future of expository preaching" in light of post modernity and post Christian America is a hot topic.

I have found that many are wrestling with the question of whether such communication really can reach across the widening and ever-changing rivers of modern culture to grip the hearts and persuade the minds of an emerging generation. The realities of the emerging generation cause them to question expository preaching, and, in fact, have led several on a journey to "find their voice," as they tell me, apart from the safe constraints of exposition.

I'm happy to say that many of these with whom I have met have worked through that question to re-discover the power of expository preaching for this generation. The whole matter of whether expository preaching can effectively communicate to a "late modern" Western secularized culture is a question that has been posed and pondered by many. Yet if we are preaching the very Word of God, then surely God knows what we need in every age. The Word worked in Genesis 12 when God's Word provided promises to Abraham for a land, a nation, and a blessing that would reach around the world.

God's Word was enough in BC in the crumbled remains of Jerusalem when a weeping prophet named Jeremiah preached through tears. God's Word worked in first century Rome when Paul preached it. It worked in the 18th century in America when George Whitefield roared out its truths up and down the colonial coast. It worked in the 19th century in Korea when missionaries preached there, and it worked in industrial Dundee, Scotland, when Robert Murray M'Cheyne preached there. It worked in the 20th century, the bloodiest century in the world's history, when modernity overtook the West and men such as Martyn Lloyd-Jones thundered from a world capital such as London.

And it will work in the 21st century, in postmodern and post-Christian North America, as it will work in China, Africa, India, and in Bulgaria.

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The Word will work in Chattanooga, will free slaves to sin in Miami, give abundant life in Los Angeles, renew cold-hearted saints in Des Moines, restore marriages in Peoria, reunite severed relationships in Louisville, sprinkle the spirit of holiness in New Orleans, call new missionaries out of Kansas City, and save souls from eternal damnation in Bangor, Seattle and Paducah.

The power of our ministries is expository preaching because, if what we have to say is the Word of God, how we say it matters. And expository preaching, rightly followed, is the way to say it. Now, I have said that expository preaching is powerful because it is the Word of God and it is faithful to the Word of God. Let me continue with my reasons as to why it is the power for the pulpit, but let me be thoroughly pragmatic about it. If this is the Word of God and it is and if expository preaching is the biblically faithful method for giving out this Word of God— and it is— then it surely is the key to success in the pastorate.

What do I mean? I surely don't mean to imply that success and effectiveness in the pastorate is to be connected with being a celebrity, or selling books, or gaining fame. This past week I read a fine sermon by J. Philpot, from , about the ever-present temptation of pride and vainglory among preachers, and I am aware that each of us deals in some way with this.

But no, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about effectiveness in what I call the essentials of the ministry—gathering, growing and sending forth strong disciples of Christ. I have in mind the work of seeing souls saved, lives transformed, marriages saved, young people's hearts burning with zeal for Christ and His kingdom, and desiring to die to themselves to live for Christ. I have in mind "setting in order the things that remain" and ordering our churches according to God's intentions.

I have in mind speaking peace into a troubled, maybe even splitting, congregation. I have in mind being pastorally effective in shepherding the flock of God over whom God has made me an overseer.

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There is no program, no model, no paradigm, no experiment, no policy, and no amount of pure elbow grease or mental genius that can equal the power of the Word of God preached. It accomplishes everything I hope for in the ministry.

Lamar Williamson Jr. (Author of Mark)

Recently, I read where someone said that the best time-tested discipleship tool in the history of the church has been morning and evening worship where there is expository preaching. My own experience as a disciple and a pastor is that I couldn't agree more. I believe that this is so. When I counsel people in trouble, I always ask if they are sitting under the expository preaching of the Word of God.

I'm not asking them to come to my church, though I would love to have them. I'm simply saying that they must locate a place to belong, a local congregation, where the preacher is committed to moving sequentially through the Word of God—that may be moving through books, chapters, or other preaching portions within a book—in such a way that they are getting the mind of Christ in the study.

Expository preaching is pastorally effective. When I say "vocationally satisfying," I am speaking to those who have come, in their own lives, to say with Paul in 1 Corinthians 9. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! Eugene Peterson is the pastor's friend in so many ways. I have greatly benefited from his various works. He was going from board meeting to board meeting, doing this and that, and as a pastor who has planted two churches and Peterson's church was a church plant I know how it can be.

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Well, this tired pastor goes to his session and tells them that he can't go on. He thinks he is at the end of his pastorate. Fatigue is physical exhaustion, and we all get that. Burnout is a loss of meaning, and we do not necessarily have to have that, but this is apparently what Peterson had. His Session was wise and told him to list the things he went into the ministry to do. He listed, preaching, visiting the sick, sharing the Gospel, and the things that the Bible teaches us is our work. In this accessible treatment of the major themes of the Gospel of John, renowned New Testament scholar Lamar Williamson blends the best of biblical scholarship and a close reading of the Fourth Gospel to meet the practical needs of weekly preaching.

A more reflective Gospel in which the risen Jesus speaks in signs and discourses, John does not simply tell stories, but allows us to experience the Word and to see Jesus offering living water to the aridity of the institutional church and bread to the hungry hearts of individual disciples. More than mere exposition, Preaching the Gospel of John includes at the end of each passage three to five possibilities for preaching the text--creative and pertinent suggestions that can help preachers apply the words of the Fourth Gospel to the lives of today's churchgoers.

Proclaiming the living Word is a major theme of the Gospel of John, and this clear and insightful commentary captures that message in the preaching moment. Sponsored Products are advertisements for products sold by merchants on Amazon. When you click on a Sponsored Product ad, you will be taken to an Amazon detail page where you can learn more about the product and purchase it.

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Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Sponsored products related to this item What's this? ESV Bibles by Crossway. Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture. Perfect gift for history lovers! Offering new dimensions of insight to Bible passages with behind-the-scenes tour into the ancient world. Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands: About the Author Lamar Williamson Jr. Related Video Shorts 0 Upload your video. Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features: Share your thoughts with other customers.

Write a customer review. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Several years ago one of the editors of the Interpretation Commentary series commented to me that they, the editors, were thinking about redoing some of their volumes, because a few of them did not succeed as well as the others in making clear the homiletical moves and possible sermon themes that could be developed from the given texts.

One of the clearest volumes was the one on Mark by Lamar Williamson, a masterpiece of scholarly condensation and homiletical sensitivity. This reviewer does not know whether or not the volume on John in the Interpretation Series was to be redone in his opinion it is the weakest in the entire series but this work of Lamar Williamson would make a wonderful replacement volume in that particular series, for it can stand even taller next to his effort on Mark in this Interpretation Commentary Series.

It is, if anything, a better volume, if that is possible. The reviewer says this because the issues in John are quite complex and, especially in the case of how John writes of 'the Jews', potentially harmful. Williamson masterfully summararizes the scholarly opinion on each pericope, sometimes spending several pages on this, sometimes only a few paragraphs, depending on the complexity of the scholarly issues involved.