Volume. XXXII, No. 34
Sunday, 18 February 2018

From the Pastor’s Heart: Preaching and Scripture

We considered one of the five solas of the Reformation only a couple of weeks ago, which was sola Scriptura.  Some of us have expressed the difficulty of the message.  However, we cannot emphasize too much on the importance of the Scripture for our faith and religion.  1 Timothy 3:15b calls the church “the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”  In particular, we must know and understand that the church is to be the pillar and ground of the truth.  If we negatively elaborate this point, we may say that the community of professing believers that have no truth is not a true church, not a house of God, and not a church of the living God.  One way to define a true church is to examine its congregation, if it has and believes in the truth.  As for Christian churches, there is nothing but the Bible, inspired Word of God, which is the truth. 


Having recognized it, we need to know how we can know of the truth, the Bible.  We must acknowledge that God chose His own ways to communicate His truths with us.  We know that God used diverse manners to speaks to His people (Hebrews 1:1).  First, we need to consider that God spoke to His people.  It is not an unfamiliar expression that God speaks to His people.  We sometimes hear from people saying that God has spoken to them.  They may refer to spiritual impressions upon their hearts, or they may say, like charismatic people, that God spoke to them audibly.  It seems that there are lots of confusions about God speaking to man.  However, we must not be too surprised that God speaks to man.  Hebrews 1:1, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.”  As we saw before, when God spoke to the children of Israel directly, they were scared and asked Moses to speak to them on God’s behalf as His spokesman.  God used Moses, Aaron, and many prophets.  He used diverse manners to convey His truths to us through His servants.  However, He used His prophets as His instruments of communication.  The last revelation is the very Son of God, Jesus Christ, the incarnated Word.  Hebrews 1:2, “[God] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.”  Thus, the written word, Scripture, testifies of the living Word, the incarnated Son of God (John 5:39). 


Second, God uses a method to communicate His truths with His people through His servants.  This method is none other than preaching.  Paul spoke to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”  Greek word for “preach” means “to herald,” or “to proclaim.”  It is often used of the public proclamation of the gospel.  We should not overlook the “teaching” ministry, either.  2 Timothy 2:2 says, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”  Whether it takes a form of preaching or teaching, we must remember that God uses such methods through His human agents, prophets, apostles, pastors-teachers, or faithful men in general term.  The necessity of human agents is clearly demonstrated in Romans 10:13-15.  Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved, He promised.  However, in order to call upon His name, we must believe in Him.  In order to believe in Him, we need to hear and know of Him.  In order to hear of Him, we need preachers.  Thus, we would say that preachers are like life-support equipment for Christian churches.  It is not too much to say that the spiritual life of the believers is affected by the quality and faithfulness of the preachers.  At this point, we face a challenging question: aren’t preachers only humans?  Is what they preach only human words?  Before we move any further, I would quote 1 Thessalonians 2:13, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”  The Thessalonian believers heard of them, preachers (Paul, Silvanus, and Timotheus), but they did not receive the messages as the word of men but of God.   


Third, preaching is a human act, but God’s appointed means for our salvation and spiritual nourishments.  We would not deny that preaching is a fallible act of men.  Then, our natural question is: Is there any contradiction between preaching as an act of men and preaching as a means to convey God’s infallible Word?  At this point, we must understand that preaching is not the word of God in the same way that the Bible is the word of God.  Preachers’ messages do not replace the Bible.  Preaching is an administration of God’s Word as God ordained.  “It is an extension or application of God’s revelation in Jesus testified in Scripture, rather than a second or rival source of revelation.”  Therefore, all preaching must be weighed according to the standard of God’s infallible word in the Bible.  Hence we need to learn lessons from the Berean believers who were nobler even than the Thessalonians.  Acts 17:11, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”  They diligently compared what Paul preached with the Scriptures.  Such right attitude could spare Christians and their churches from falling into false teachings and false teachers.  The importance of preaching must lead our minds to the value and importance of faithful Bible preachers.  Pray for all preachers, and especially, new preachers who will step into our pulpit in the future.


Fourth, we may begin to wonder and think that, then, why when we listen to the preaching of God’s Word, our minds are still dull and feel ordinary?  It could have many reasons.  (1) Our heart conditions could be an issue.  The soil in our hearts is not fertile because of sin, corruption, unbelief, love of the world, and disobedient spirit.  We do not have ears to hear, and our hearts are not circumcised.  (2) As Luther says, all we hear is the voice of the preacher and all we see is a man.  But God Himself is addressing us.  Everyone, every fellowship group, and every ministry of Hope Church needs to rediscover Christ present through His Word.  Many of us think of preaching as primarily a process of education.  Thus, we come together to learn what the Bible teaches.  Good preaching must involve teaching the Bible.  However, as for the Reformers, preaching was more than simply the transfer of information.  If we view preaching as simply a process of education, then we will tend to pursue novelty.  Instead we come to the preaching of the Word as those who need to hear Christ’s voice and encounter His presence.  We need to hear from Him words of reassurance or words of challenge.


John Calvin said, “There is nothing that should stir us up to embrace the teaching of the Gospel more than to learn that the pre-eminent worship of God, the sacrifice of a sweet odour, is to hear Him speaking by the mouth of men and to submit ourselves to His Word as it is brought by men no less than if He himself had come down from heaven or had revealed His purpose by an angel.  And secondly, trust is confirmed and doubting removed when we hear that the witness to our salvation is no less when declared by men sent of God than if His voice sounded from heaven.  On the other hand, to warn us of contempt of the Gospel, He adds the strong threat that those who refuse to hear ministers, however humble, are not insulting men but Himself and God the Father” (Calvin, Commentary, on Luke 10: 16).  Here is the irony. Many people today are desperate to hear the voice of God.  They become obsessed with prophecies, dreams, and words of knowledge.  Many people are not content with a Spirit-enabled application of Scripture. They want something extra. However, we have God’s Word through preaching in church.  Where should we go? 



Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



  • Welcome to our pulpit: Rev Willy Ng.
  • YAF O-Week stall at Flinders University this week. Please come & support them by helping at the stall or providing food & drinks.
  • Easter Family Bible Camp forms available at foyer. All are encouraged to attend. Early bird discount ends Sun, 11 Mar. All forms must be in by Sun, 18 Mar. 
  • Visitation to Auscare, Unley on 25 Feb @ 2:35 pm. 
  • Kitchen Duty helpers - This week: Team A. Next week: Team B.


  • Healing: Rev George van Buuren (FMC) and others who are unwell.
  • IBPFM Board & Missionaries.
  • Journey mercies: all who are travelling.

Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Commencement of church activities this year.
  • Journey mercies: those who have travelled.



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