Change is here. The calendar has turned. One year is complete and another has already come. And with the New Year, I offer three resolutions for those called to open God’s Word week after week.
Resolved: To remain convinced that biblical exposition must be done.
Yes, this is what we must remember in the months to come. There is no other task we do that compares with the work of preaching Jesus as God’s promised Savior-King from all the Bible. Nothing else will do. Raw exposure to the Word of God is what we need—-it is what our people need. It is what the world needs.
I am convinced that the Word of God does the work of God in this world. We must not allow other forces to divert us from this truth. These words are God’s words—-each and every one authored by the Holy Spirit through human agency. On this I must not waver. The health of the church depends on the simple and clear explication of God’s Word. The Spirit of God takes the Word of God and creates the people of God. Resolved: not to sway from this conviction.
Resolved: To find collegial relationships that will encourage me in the hard work of biblical exposition.
I am not alone in this work, and I will not live this year as if I am. In fact, my preaching will be sharpened when I am in meaningful relationships with those committed to the same calling. This is what I will seek out in the coming year. Enough laboring in isolation. Alone. Discouraged. Other pastors are needed. I will find pastors who foster a mutual commitment to Word work. These friendships will be intentional—-embedded in reciprocity. My congregation matters to God—-and they deserve better from me. Resolved: encourage others, and myself, to not go it alone.
Resolved: To invest my time in ways that show me how to go about getting biblical exposition done.
This year will be a time for me to work on my own work—-because that is what really trains. We simply need to be done with the idea of merely listening to others who preach well. Instead I will seek out situations where I am required to interact with other gospel preachers on my own preaching. I will not be content with anything less. I will remember that I am not asked by God to get the text perfect—-rather to make progress. And for that I will invest in training. Resolved: to make specific commitments that make me grow in my ability to handle God’s Word well.
These three things I will do.
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Pastors, come and be encouraged and stretched with us at The Gospel Coalition 2013 National Conference. Several workshops and focus gatherings will help you grow as an expository preacher. But hurry! Space is limited, and focus gatherings by Helm, Phil Ryken, and Mike Bullmore have already filled up. You can still learn from Voddie Baucham on “Expository Apologetics” and from Sugel Michelén on ”Preaching with Integrity” (Spanish), along with a host of other workshops dedicated to addressing issues in pastoral ministry.