Monthly Archives: March 2010

Doctrinal vs. Practical Preaching-A False Antinomy


Many preachers like to control their preaching duties-so they prefer to preach their favorite topics. They always preach doctrines they love and where they are well-versed. They hop from one verse to another. The outline of  their message is formed in his mind-usually the application and illustrations for their message is formed first before the normal outline of the passage -if ever he has a main passage. 

So if they preached a doctrinal message -it will be based more on what he wants to say than what the Lord is saying in His Word. Then-his congregation will get tired of this kind of preaching. It will be his pet doctrines all over again .

So they switched to practical preaching. Things to inspire, things for his congregation to do. But still it is still the outline in his mind that controls his preaching. Hoping from one verse to another. It is never the Lord’s Word that control his study,outline, content, application. It will be his but never the Lord’s. His congregation for  at time will kike this kind  fo preaching-it is more accessible than the last time. But later it will bore them. It is similar to what they can read from the newspaper, magazine and internet. It will not be the Living Word of God. There is no power there.

If only they know expositional preaching -wherein the passage controls the study,outline,content and application he brings. But he can be confident if he do this faithfully-he will be preaching the Word of God-and not his alone. Even if his hearers are offended-he will know that these thinsg happened because he is faithful to the Lord.


How to prepare for Preaching

This is my short list on how to prepare the material for preaching:

1. If you have a topic given -search through the bible or topical bible for appropriate text. If without topic-always go for sermon series on a book or group of passages.

2. Read the text-and search is logical and natural boundaries.Then read it again -same translation. By the time you are finish ,you have read the passage a minimum of 6 times.

3. For initial reading-I use NIV.The n subsequent reading can be in this versions-NASB,ESV,RSV,NEB,NLT,NKJV,NAB,JB,GNB

4. Then start reading the Greek or Hebrew text-With your reading from the English versions and the original language-you will be able to see what word or group of words stand out or odd. Check its meaning and grammatical information. Use synchronic and diachronic methods in word meanings.

5. I use my computer softwares like Esword 7 , The Word and ISA software here too-for ease of study. It is free anyway.

6. Read Study Bibles, encyclopedia,dictionaries and commentaries for cultural,archaeological and theological comments.

7. Then make an outline based on the following :

a. Introduction-tell a story showing relevance of the passage at hand

b. Contextual info-give a short drift on cultural and historical milieu of the passage

c. Give the 2-4 major points of the passage. Provide details of the passage. Interpret the passage with regards to its context-and then compare it to the canonical-biblio-theological and Christological point of view.

d. Give appropriate illustrations for each of the major points-using nature, current news, stories from real life or from the bible or even from Reader’s Digest.

e. Make applications or examples of the all the major points-considering different type of people listening to you-inquirers, faithful members, pharisees and those who want to leave.

f. Restate  your main points

g. Conclude with your main verse and with a prayer.

8. Restart – by thinking about the One Big Idea of your message and make changes in your message-showing this emphasis.Also check how long your message is . Ideal is 30 minutes to 45 minutes. Edit out unsynchronized ideas.

9. Finally- from the start you must be in prayer mode-and to the finish your heart must be also in the guarded mode. You will be tempted to show off your talent-resist it. The only voice that must be heard is God in Christ. Not you. Hide behind His Glory.

Who is our Shepherd?

Psalm 23: 1 “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

Isaiah 56: 11 “The dogs have a mighty appetite; they never have enough. But they are shepherds who have no understanding; they have all turned to their own way, each to his own gain, one and all.”

Jeremiah 2:8 “The priests did not say, ‘Where is the LORD?’ Those who handle the law did not know me; the shepherds transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal and went after things that do not profit.”

Jeremiah 31:5 “And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”

Jeremiah 23:1,4 “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD…I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the LORD.”

Jeremiah 50:6 “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold.

Ezekiel 34:2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?

Ezekiel 34:5 “…So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts.”

Ezekiel 34:10 “Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.”

Ezekiel 34:15 “I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD.”

Ezekiel 34:23 “And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.”

Ephesians 4:11 “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers”

Hebrews 13:20 “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,”

1 Peter 2:25 “For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

1 Peter 5: 1-4 “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed:shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Jude 12: “These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted;

Revelation 7:17 “For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

My Take:

There is a preponderance in the OT to highlight our Lord as the shepherd of his flock-and that human shepherds have failed him.And even in the NT-The Lord Jesus is always highlighted as the Good Shepherd or the Shepherd-This is the primary answer to who is your shepherd! It is warning to those human leaders who wants to take that place away from the Lord.

Yes there are human shepherds-and they are God’s gift to the church because of their teaching function-which “”for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ” but they are nevertheless warned not to be domineering or lording it over the flock nor to be greedy for money-but be an example for the flock-This is how they shepherd. By teaching and by example or pattern of life that can be copied  or mimicked.

And yet here are some people-cult in fact-who are displacing the Lord-with g12 mumbo-jumbo-so that gullible Christians will submit to them-even in adiosphora-where we must grant each others freedom. What power-trip! Our goal as shepherds or disciplers is that they submit and model their lives to Jesus. Their submission to us is secondary. And yes-lo and behold the leaders of these group are taking advantage of their flock-because it gives them such power and control of lives under them.

The secret of servant leadership is willingness to be powerless and yet continue to give oneself  to those under his/her care.