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Monthly Archives: August 2008

“Preaching That Hinders Revival” Part VIII by Richard Owen Roberts

Preaching That is Without Power

Many a congregation is doomed to listen to a powerless preacher, a man without unction, one upon whom the fire of God never seems to rest. What a strange anomaly it is to see an unanointed servant of the living god who is an eternal fire. How can such creatures exist?  For some, it is a matter of theological error. By their system if beliefs they have ruled out the present empowerment of the servant of God by the Holy Spirit. Somehow, in their twisted thinking, special enduements of power either ceased at the end of the apostolic age, or all believers receive all of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit that is possible to receive at the time they first believe. God pity the congregations that must listen to such men.

For others, it is a very practical issue — they are too busy to seek the power of the Holy Spirit on their ministries. Empowerment does take time. It is connected with protracted season of prayer and seeking. True Holy Spirit power is not something once received, always possessed, but is to be freshly sought in connection with every opportunity of service. Oh, the tragedy of those too busy to seek!

For far too many, it is a moral matter for they are too sinful to allow for this profound and gracious influence of the Holy Spirit to work through them. It was ancient Job who recognized, “He who has clean hands grows stronger and stronger.” But the reverse is obviously also true — unclean hands always rob men of power. How sad it is that multitudes listen weekly to powerless men with dirty hands.

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Posted by on August 27, 2008 in Devotional

 

“I AM FREE” By Newsboys

Too many people see the Christian life as a set of rules to be followed.  The goodnews is that we don’t follow rules, we follow a person.  We follow the Lord Jesus Christ and trust in His life, death, and resurrection.  Because of our faith in Christ we enjoy true freedom.  I hope this song encourages you today to find your freedom in Christ.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2008 in Devotional

 

“Preaching That Hinders Revival” Part VII by Richard Owen Roberts

Preaching That is Without Authority

How can one read the life of Jesus with any care at all without noting the authority with which He conducted His ministry? Matthew, Mark, Like all record this. The same essential authority is evident in the ministries of the New Testament days. Is such authority a special gift to Christ Jesus and to first-century Apostles but not to be hoped for in times like these? Certainly not! There are men of authority today just as in every preceding generation: but why do some men speak with impressive authority and others without noticeable impact?

Can a self-called man preach with the same authority as a God-called preacher?  Can a man whose confidence in the Holy Scriptures is shaken by personal doubts compare with the authority of the man whose heart, soul and mind are dominated by conviction concerning the absolute accuracy of the Bible?  Can a man whose own conscience rises up in condemnation of him for some secret sin in his life preach with the same authority as the man who conscience condemns him not (I John 3:21-22)?

All of us need to face the fact that there are self-called men in the ministry. They may be good men who mean well, but they are doomed to a different kind of work than the called of God. None who listen to their preaching should be surprised at their lack of authority.  While I believe with all my heart in an educated ministry, I know full-well that many men have lost what little confidence they had in the Scriptures during their of formal preparation. I will never forget the negative impact of my own seminary days as my confidence in the written Word of God bordered on destruction. It was only because of the interference of a gracious Providence that I was spared the permanent doubts and uncertainties that plague many men in today’s pulpits.

While some might like to pretend otherwise, the men in ministry whose own lives are marred by unconquered lusts and unbridled sins are legion in number. It is utterly impossible for a man who rejects God’s command “Be ye holy as I am holy” (I Peter 1:16) to preach with divine authority. The crippled churches and limping Christians affected by the ministries of these leaders are everywhere apparent.  Christian preachers say that they deal with the most significant issues that mortal beings can ever face; issues of life and death, of hope and destruction, of eternal salvation and everlasting condemnation. Yet they often handle these sacred matters with less enthusiasm and passion than prisoners working on chain-gangs.

In second Peter one the apostle speaks of applying all diligence to your faith by supplying “moral excellence” or “moral power” or “moral energy.” Faith must be supplemented by passion.  Those who listen to preaching have the right to be convinced that the preacher is morally in earnest about what he is saying, that he believes in it with all his heart, and that it is of the greatest possible consequence. If the listener has reason to doubt the earnestness of the preacher, he is fortified in doubting the message preached.  Preacher, why is there so little passion in your ministry? Do you yourself believe what you say?

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2008 in Devotional

 

“Victory In Jesus”

I had a pastor friend of mine say, “Traditional church and traditional hymns are in again.”  I thought about what he said and I think he is partially correct.  Some contemporary (style of worship) churches had great music with dumb words, flashy sermons with no mention about salvation in Jesus Christ, and membership with no commitment.  People were drawn at first to churches like this, but are leaving because people need to experience the real Jesus, not the one we created for them. 

  With that said, traditional (style of worship) churches need to realize that the reason that they are gaining some popularity again isn’t because of their tradition.  It is because of the message of Christ.  God is glorifying Himself through His Word.  No matter our style of worship, If we will glorify the Son of God, The Word of God, and the mission of God we will have a growing church.   

Personally, I enjoy the new choruses that proclaim the Lordship of Christ and His work of salvation.  I enjoy hymns that do the same thing.  For me I’m so glad that some are updating the music in hymns.  I remember growing up thinking about hymns that the music reminded me of a funeral service.  Now the updated hymns encourage me to worship.  Listen to the lead singer of Mercy Me sing, “Victory In Jesus”.  Remember isn’t not your style of worship that matters, it is who you worship that does.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2008 in Devotional

 

“Preaching That Hinders Revival” Part VI by Richard Owen Roberts

Preaching That is Either Irrelevant or of Minor Consequence

Some sermons, which might have had a measure of usefulness fifty years ago when preached to a biblically literate congregation, are completely insignificant today when heard by generation of pagans unschooled in Bible basics.  What a strange phenomenon it is for preachers to boast that their preaching has not changed for half a century when society itself has changed so radically. My preaching has changed immensely. When I began preaching, people knew there was a God big enough to have created them, who had the authority to command their lives and control their futures. Today, multitudes who claim to believe in God know almost nothing of the God of the Bible and are often worshiping and serving a god no bigger than their own imaginations.

When we send missionaries to pagan lands we do not expect them to begin their proclamation to the heathen with statements about grace and forgiveness. We expect them to begin at the beginning, introducing their hearers to the God of the Bible. Indeed, the most effective missionaries take months in establishing the truth of God and His rights of authority before speaking of salvation.

A colossal hindrance to revival occurs when pearls are cast before swine. Jesus taught us that “They that are whole need not a physician but they that are sick” (Mark 9:12). The generations that preceded us preached the law, thus enabling people to feel their illness, long before they preached the grace that heals. Preaching grace to those who have never felt the sting of the law is a major infraction of God’s ways. Preaching truth that cannot be appreciated and received by its auditors is always a hindrance to spiritual awakening.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2008 in Devotional

 

“Preaching That Hinders Revival” Part V by Richard Owen Roberts

Preaching That is Non-Doctrinal

A pathetic wave of biblical ignorance has swept through the contemporary church. Much if the wind behind the wave is generated by the grossly erroneous preachers who frown on doctrinal preaching and from whose unsanctified lips emerge such impious frothing as, “Don’t preach doctrine! It divides!” Of course it divides! It is intended to divide! It was never God’s plan to have more goats than sheep in His flock! And yet that is precisely what has happened in multitudes of parishes.

While the scriptures clearly indicate that there will be tares scattered throughout the fields of grain, and some goats lurking amidst the flocks of sheep, the biblical picture is not the prevailing image of this day. Instead, the tares vastly outnumber the wheat and the goats far more prevalent than lambs.

The direct result of non-doctrinal preaching is millions of persons in the churches who believe that they are Christians as a result of something they have done, and whose claim to faith would have been denounced in a saner age as nothing more than mere mental assent.

Shame on the preacher who is too graceless to preach the sovereignty of God, the depravity of man, the wrath of the Almighty, the eternal condemnation of the unbeliever, the atonement of Christ, the mandatory nature of regeneration, the necessity of repentance, the justification of sinners by true faith, and all the other sobering and convicting doctrines of the Word of God.

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2008 in Devotional

 

“Preaching That Hinders Revival” Part IV by Richard Owen Roberts

Preaching That is Self-Exalting

Some preachers love fine-tuned words and phrases more than divine truth, and symmetry of sermon construction more than the welfare of their auditors. What a tragedy that preaching, which was devised by God as an instrument of salvation for those who believe, should be one of the greatest possible hindrances to the progress of the gospel in ordinary times and to revival in times of great apostasy.

Certainly there is beauty in carefully arranged words — the Beatitudes of Matthew file are an outstanding example of this as is the love chapter of First Corinthians thirteen — but beauty is turned into ugliness when the motive is impression rather than the glory of God. 

Sir, does the way you prepare and preach hinder revival? Which receives the greatest attention: the ornamentation of your words and phrases, or prayer for empowerment from the Holy Spirit? Which is your greater focus: exciting pleasure in the people and praise for the preacher, or reducing the impenitent to tears of contrition and repentance? After which does your heart clamor: the pleasure of knowing that your sermons have been remarkably good, or joy in seeing your people radically affected by the truth of God?

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2008 in Devotional

 
 
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