TEACHING/PREACHING FOR LIFE CHANGE (SESSION 1)
Updated: Oct 27, 2021
Today I want to introduce this course and talk about the calling, the passion, and the purpose of biblical preaching. I feel a passion for this class because I feel it is so central to why we started this school. I am believing God to help me train 20 new preachers in the next year. Though all ministries are important the preaching of the gospel is foundational.
A. I believe it is the single biggest ministry factor that influences the growth and health of the church. People will not come, stay, and grow in a church unless there is preaching that produces life change, that feeds their soul. It was the one thing Jesus spoke in a way to Peter that indicated its primary importance-feed my sheep.
B. It’s also key to the harvest, the world knowing about Jesus and getting saved.
Romans 10:9-13 speaks of this.
How will they believe if they don’t hear, how will they hear if someone doesn’t preach, how will they preach unless they are sent. We know from Matt. 9:37-39 of Jesus burden for the harvest… fruit is dying because no one is going to pick it and rescue it. Heaven and Hell are literally in the balance.
He refers to the idea of a preacher being a herald of good news, running over the mountains to a people huddled in fear, waiting to hear about the battle. This herald would scream the good news. In Isaiah 52:7 it spoke of the announcement of deliverance from Babylonian captivity. We get to go home.
When I was called Acts 26:18 was the theme of my calling-the profound reality that my preaching would take off blindfolds. Think none of us would be here if missionaries like Paul didn’t take arduous journeys to bring good news.
I feel the burden so great today. For example, just to kids… Over 80% of all who will get saved will be saved by the age of 15; this tiny window exists. It comes down to communicators.
C. The verse here speaks of the need to be sent-commissioned-prepared. They need shoes/equipping, empowerment, and training. I believe that preaching is both a calling and a skill. It takes both.
But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is shut in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” Jeremiah 20:9
We are not just giving speeches… there has to be a sense that you are compelled to deliver messages from God. There is nothing wrong with learning skills of teaching, but I do want to encourage you that you would be aware and ask Holy Spirit about this. For me it was very personal. I had to share and see my responsibility to be God’s mouthpiece.
This becomes motivational, because there are plenty of times where you will want to quit. I can tell you how hard it is, for example for me to listen to my own sermons. I’m my worst critic and struggle not to quit or give up. I have to be motivated by the idea of being obedient… not motivated by being talent.
Joke, I can relate to the guy who asked his wife to edit his sermon, in conclusion…
D. That’s why it is important though to see it is also a skill and a “stewardship” like music. We sharpen the saw. 2 Tim. Study to show yourselves approved of God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed. Luke 2:52, Jesus grew in favor with God.
We both learn as much as we can and rely on God with all that we can.
I Corinthians 13, talks about a trumpet that gives an uncertain sound…
The fact that there are hundreds of thousands of sermons preached every week but so much dysfunction, shows that we could use growth.
II. THAT BRINGS US TO THE PURPOSE OF PREACHING.
Before we get to how to preach, it is so important that we know why we preach. HFTW has a philosophy of preaching, values that we hold and express that are so important.
A. If I could share one of the biggest goals of this class is to develop a preaching team. Like a great band-a group of people who have the same heart, spirit, and vision of preaching… This will take lots of training and practice.
SOME EXAMPLES OF VALUES/DISTINCTIVES THAT WE PROMOTE AS A HFTW PREACHING TEAM.
1. Ministers grace to the hearers- It is the gospel that changes lives-the hearT application of what Jesus did on the cross to the circumstances. We are not motivational speakers- You can do it, believe in yourself. We are not legalistic teachers-We don’t believe you can shame people into behavior.
2. Goal of transformation not just information- Our goal isn’t making people scholars, intellectual Christians who are focused on doctrine.
We have all known people who know the Bible so well they could quote every passage, but you didn’t want to be around them because they were critical and grumpy.
“Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” I Corinthians 8:1
The heart of our message is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” We aren’t trying to tell people who they should be but who Jesus already is in them.
Message of replacement, not improvement. Jesus isn’t trying to fix your old self; He is trying to replace your old self with Himself.
3. We are not ministers of fear but of faith. We know that scaring the Hell out of people doesn’t work. Our focus is not on their ability but their identity.
James 1:23… people looking in a mirror, you aren’t a sinner trying to be righteous, you are a righteous person who is overcoming sin.
Our message is not if you can behave enough, you’ll be saved; it is if you simply believe you are already an heir by grace of all you need. You don’t become so you can believe; you believe so that you can become.
4. We are preachers who aren’t satisfied with giving explanations. We are preachers who expect and preach for encounters with God.
2 Corinthians 2:4 teach us "My message was not with eloquent words of man’s wisdom, but with a demonstration of the spirit’s power. So that as vs. 5 says, “your faith may not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” It’s not if I can be strong enough or have faith enough, if I can simply be weak in total dependence on Jesus, I am enough.
Our closing argument is that the Spirit comes. Jesus gave promises that the Spirit would reveal God’s truth to people’s heart in a personal way.
It’s when Jesus tells you He loves you personally that changes you. The Holy Spirit wants to take the words of Jesus and reveals them personally to your heart. We encourage people to ask this question...
“Jesus, what truth do you want to give me to replace that lie?” (Eileen’s song- “What do you say?”) This is what you say!
5. We are preachers whose focus is on creating doers of the Word (Disciples) and not just hearers.
Live changing preaching is all about teaching people how to live their lives on purpose in every area by the revelation and power of God! Are the people we teach living their Christian life as an afterthought or from intentional habits of forethought?
There is only one thing that creates life change and that is the application of God’s word.
In the parable of the Sower, Matthew 13:23
Someone who actually uses the seed to produce a crop-They take an action of faith to intentionally see, change and expect different results in some area of their lives because of what they intentionally apply from God’s Word to their life today.
Our biggest responsibility in preaching is to help people go from information and interpretation to application.
B. Some important points about Bible application
1. This is where all life change occurs. The 8% who see the 100-fold harvest, are those who INTENTIONALLY APPLY WHAT THEY SEE IN THE BIBLE TO DAILY CHOICES
Today I will apply what I learned about love by_______________.
2. What makes you a great preacher is being a great applier of God’s Word. This is what a disciple is, it takes one to make one.
Teaching them to OBSERVE all that I have commanded you.” Matt. 28:30
3. Spend as much time praying about and articulating ways to apply the text as you spend interpreting the text.
It takes work and effort to seriously ask a question like: What are 5 things I can do differently as the result of reading Jesus’ words in this text?
“Never before in the history of the United States has the gospel of Jesus Christ made such inroads while at the same time making so little difference in how people live their lives.”
James 1:24-25 makes this point so good.
“Anyone who listens to the Word but does not Do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does.
Biggest question we must ask: Is our preaching producing hearers or doers!
It is sobering but true, we can actually increase consequences instead of blessing if we don’t teach for and hold people to a standard of application. Greater knowledge=Greater responsibility!
“Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4:17
III. TEN LESSONS ABOUT TEACHING FOR LIFE CHANGE
1. All behavior is based on a belief.
This is true positively and negatively. Our greatest accomplishment is to help people align their beliefs with God. Romans 10:13... Faith comes by hearing. If you get God’s beliefs in you, you will change. We are trying to feed people’s faith and starve people’s doubts.
This is true, for example, when it comes to preaching. Some vital things that God wants to help you believe in order for you to be an effective preacher.
a. The authority of God’s Word, The truth of God’s Word, and the Relevance of God’s Word.
You won’t see God’s fruit in preaching if you don’t believe God’s Word is the final authority. If you are trying to get God’s Word to fit with your beliefs, experience, modern philosophy, it won’t produce fruit.
“Let God’s word be true every man a liar.” Romans 3:4
“This is my Bible. I am what it says I am. I can do what it says I can do. Today I will be taught the Word of God. I boldly confess. My mind is alert, my heart is receptive. I am about to receive the incorruptible, unchangeable ever living seed of the Word of God, I will never be the same!” (Isaiah 55:11)
Something you exalt above opinions and circumstances.
You have to believe the Bible is the most relevant truth in the world today. Its timeless principles are the most certain and powerful thing. Heaven and earth pass away. What is built on this will stand, what contradicts will eventually fall!!
Belief will determine the effectiveness of how you preach.
b. In every area as we believe what God says is true our behavior/attitudes/relationships conform to God’s good standard. But the opposite is also true. If your behavior is bad, it is because you are believing a lie.
Whatever you do, it’s because you believe something. If you sin, divorce/premarital sex.
2. Behind every sin is a lie I’m believing.
This is also true of strongholds and bondages like fear, insecurity, despair.
Hopelessness is not a thing that comes upon us; it is a belief that gives the devil power within us.
In all dysfunction there is a lie. If our kids (or we) do something stupid, it is because they believe a lie. It is not enough to tell them to quit doing stupid things (that’s just a muzzle; it won’t work to change them). We have to help them discover the lies they are believing and replace them. Wherever there is bondage or addiction there is a lie.
"At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures." Titus 3:3a
3. Change always starts in the mind.
“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2b
The way you THINK determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act. If you want to change the way you act you must determine the way you think.
A BIG PART OF PREACHING IS IDENTIFYING, EXPOSING, AND REPLACING THE MYTHS AND LIES WITH TRUTH FROM GOD’S WORD. INTERNALIZING THE WORD INTO A SCRIPT FOR THEIR LIFE IS OUR HIGHEST GOAL! I want to point out our strategy with small groups. The real work of discipleship is modeling and teaching others how to take truth they hear and incorporate it into a script they will look at when they make the next choices in their lives.
It is twice as much work to teach people how to apply the word than it is teaching the word. Most small groups end up being lots of talk and little change. It takes great effort to train people to be appliers, because it is unnatural and uncomfortable. It requires bringing uncomfortable issues to the surface. (Our method of having people write answers to personal questions is a key step we are trying to take).
4. To help people change, we must change their beliefs first.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
Key part of our ministry of teaching goes beyond just exposing lies and speaking truth; it is about training people in a power of responding to life. John 8:31... If you continue in the word.
Challenging every thought.
Doubting our doubts, questioning our fears.
Eileen Walker, "What do you say?"
“I’m the God who’s close to the brokenhearted, the God who knows suffering and pain. I’m the God who’s always gonna stay.”
“Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the enemy’s strong places. We destroy people’s arguments and every proud thing that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4b-5 NCV
5. Trying to change people’s behavior without changing their beliefs is a waste of time.
“What people say with their mouths comes from the way they think; these are the things that make people unclean.” Matthew 15:18 NCV
6. The bible term for “changing your mind” is repentance.
It is a wonderful positive word. Metonia-To change your mind. We are in the mind changing/paradigm shifting business.
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NIV
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV
The applied word of God is what happens as we study and meditate with a heart open to change and as in the process we listen and trust Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts.
7. You don’t change people’s minds; the applied word of god does.
When the Holy Spirit reveals God’s Word to people’s hearts they change.
We speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. I Corinthians 2:13
8. Changing the way i act is the result or “fruit” of repentance.
Repentance is not from the outside in. It’s not us turning from our badness to do goodness. We don’t repent when we change; we are able to change because we repent. A changed life is an outcome or biproduct.
Repentance is simply this- change of mind, that as we begin to believe differently, see ourselves differently inevitably shows up in our life.
The guy who came feeling bad for cussing a guy out. Repentance was when he realized God forgave him and he wasn’t that old person. His confession and apology were the fruit of that.
9. The deepest kind of teaching is teaching for repentance.
We preach to change the way people think on the inside so that as a natural result they will change the way they live on the outside. Deep teaching is not people being impressed with our depth of knowledge; it is this deep commitment as not only a teacher but a disciple maker to go deep in the weeds with people in their journey towards life change. Planting the seed is just one stage, preparing the ground, watering, protecting, modeling, and praying are all part of this process.
Example tithing. Believe in God as their source, owner and provider, that He deserves the priority place and it makes sense that I can trust Him.
It is ultimately going to the cross and recognizing not only was I forgiven there, but I died so that every part of my being is an instrument of God, through which He is living in me.
Repentance is-It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives.
He is my wisdom, peace, righteousness. I claim my place of complete security and love to live from His infinite supply.
Ephesians 1:18-20 is at the root of all preaching, partnering with Holy Spirit as he gives the spirit of wisdom and revelation.
10. To produce lasting life change you must enlighten the mind, engage the emotions, and challenge the will.
We will talk about ways to do this, but the main point I want to make here is that at the end of the day true preaching is ultimately about a verdict. It is not coming and hearing, or acting religious. It is claiming a tangible action step where you by faith lay claim to radical new choices that allow the life and nature of Christ to shine through you.
Every message comes down to two words: WILL YOU!
It is the “I do” of preaching. There is an unapologetic appeal to the life of Christ, that may completely contradict what their mind is comfortable with, what they want to believe. It is a lot easier to” tickle the ears,” or give an interesting talk. But as a preacher you will always be asked to make a bold appeal- “Will you go from here to there?” The Spirit isn’t allowing you to be the same; he is challenging you to see things God’s way, do things God’s way, lay down your rights and take up your cross. It will require courage... Pausing and letting people feel uncomfortable in the light of God’s truth-exposing elephants in the room.
Your goal isn’t to please the audience; it is always to please God and set the captives free. The truth will set you free but often it will first make you mad!