Matthew R. Perry

We Need to Study God’s Word — And God’s People — In Our Preaching

In Apologetics, Church Life, Culture, For Preachers/Pastors, For Seminary Students, Preaching on November 15, 2007 at 10:46 am

eku.jpgTonight, I’ll be speaking to the Campus Crusade students on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, KY. I would appreciate your prayers. It is a rush, really, to see over 250 students come on a Thursday night to fellowship with God’s people and hear God’s Word. Adam Dixon is the new leader of the EKUCRU, so please keep Adam in your prayers.

A number of these college students come to Boone’s Creek — and I must say they have really helped my preaching. College students are inundated with so many philosophical, spiritual, and social worldviews that we preachers need to be aware of these issues and speak directly to them from a biblical perspective. I’m becoming more and more convinced that we must know and study our people as well as know and study the Word. Graham Johnston, in his book Preaching to a Postmodern World, notes that we cannot expect that our regular church listeners “subscribe to a Christian worldview” (p. 14). Listen to this quote:

When the speaker demonstrates an understanding of contemporary concerns and issues as well as the pressures to reject a biblical worldview, listeners will sense a personal interest. Listeners today will have their antenna up, looking for the speaker’s personal agenda or angle. Is the speaker’s desire to wield influence or chalk up another notch on the response list? When compassion and mercy flow from the messenger, people may walk away having listened and be unwilling to embrace the message and yet still maintain an openness because they perceived genuine concern (p. 69).

Having been preaching for five years and in ministry for fifteen, I’m just now starting to understand that we must love the truth and love our doctrine as well as love our people (hmm, Ephesians 4:15 still applies, yes?).   Some have said that we evangelicals care more about the Bible than we do people.  While the Bible is certainly our authority, we must remember why God left us here — as a salt-and-light witness to those around us (Matthew 5:13-16).

Matthew 5:13-16
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. [14] “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  [15] Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  [16] In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
I do not think that this sermon for tonight will be recorded, but I’ll try and fill you in as best as I can.

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