Page 7 - July 2021 - Truth & Tidings
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thority to God’s people? What can I do? I   acts through His word, and is identified
        can open up a special book, authored by   with His word. Notice how seamlessly the
        God, and proclaim a passage from it with   preacher moves from the Word of God
        divine authority, though in myself I am no   to the God of the Word in 4:12-13: “to be
        one. As Amy Carmichael once put it, “The   exposed to the word of Scripture is to be
        seed is not your poor little word. The seed   examined fully by God himself.”  Where
        is the Word of God.”                  God speaks, He is present. 8
        Clear                                   I’ve discovered this year that if I’m go-
          There is a danger, however, of someone   ing to attend something online, I prefer a
        making the text say what he wants it to say   “live” talk to a pre-recorded one. Hebrews
        and investing his spin with divine author-
        ity. This makes our third attribute – the   3-4 teaches us that faithful public reading
        clarity of Scripture – so important. After   and preaching of Scripture is always both.
        reading his text from Psalm 95 (3:7-11),   The Holy Spirit who said Psalm 95 when
        our preacher makes constant reference   it was first written says it again live every
        to it in his exposition (3:15; 4:3,7). He’s   time it is read: “Today, if you hear his
        implying that his passage is clear, that his   voice” (3:7). The ultimate reason for con-
        listeners can look at the text and verify for   forming the content and purpose of our
        themselves that what he’s saying is true.   sermons to that of the text we’re preach-
        Someone might object: “Well, if Scripture   ing from is that when we do, the Holy
        is clear, why do we need someone to stand   Spirit re-enacts it live, performing in our
        up and explain it?” But the clarity of Scrip-  contemporary hearers what He intended
        ture doesn’t make preaching redundant;   to accomplish when He first inspired it. 9
        it’s what makes it possible. And safe. The
        expository preacher says: “My teaching   Why is it that some expositional preach-
        is true because it can be openly seen that   ing can seem dry and lifeless, then? The
        what I am saying is in line with the mean-  danger inherent to this approach is that we
        ing of Scripture.” 5                  focus on the content of the passage while
        Alive                                 failing to be gripped by the Spirit’s passion
          And yet I’m still tempted to take the   and purpose in writing it. The result is a
        “What can I say about it?” approach.   content-rich delivery with no address to
        Good thing the preacher has one more   deliver it to. Even expository preaching
        attribute of Scripture to mention, one that   must aim for the heart (recall our earlier
        persuades me more than all the others to   articles) by giving it something better.
        preach expositionally. Scripture, written   There’s a reason our model expositor
        by “the living God” (3:12), is itself alive:   begins and ends his convicting message
        “the word of God is living and active”   with Christ (3:1-6; 4:14-16). 10
        (4:12).                               ⁷ Peter Thomas O’Brien, The Letter to the Hebrews,
          God acts when He speaks. He creates   The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand
        by speaking, sustains by speaking, rescues   Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2010), 177.
        by speaking, sanctifies by speaking.  God   ⁸ Ward, Words of Life, 30.
                                              ⁹ Ward, 162.
        ⁵ Ward, 121.                          ¹⁰ David Gooding, An Unshakeable Kingdom: Rock
        ⁶ Gen 1; Psa 33:6; Heb 1:3; 11:3; Rom 10:17; Joh   Solid Truth in Uncertain Times (Port Colborne,
        17:17.                                ON: Gospel Folio Press, 2002), 107.

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