preaching: acts and now

This year I've been reflecting on preaching in the book of Acts. Here are ten things that I've been learning:
[NB - I have brought these observations closer to home with the use of 'Auckland' as it is my home town. Feel free to make the appropriate substitution!].

1. As in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Rome, we must acknowledge in Auckland that a divine initiative lies behind this human speech. The challenge is a theological one before it is a methodological one. God chooses to use preaching as a vehicle for the advance of his unstoppable word.

2. As in Jerusalem, Samaria, Caesarea, Pisidian Antioch, and Corinth, we must focus in Auckland upon Jesus Christ - ensuring that the proclaimer in the Gospels becomes the proclaimed in the church as we build on the gospel events (the death and resureection of Jesus), the gospel witnesses (the Scriptures), the gospel promises (the offer of salvation) and the gospel associates (repentance, faith, baptism, Spirit-filling etc). [Using a little John Stott with that one!]

3. As in Pisidian Antioch, Thessalonica, Corinth, and Ephesus, we must persist in Auckland with opening and explaining the text of Scripture - in its fullness and depth and over a lengthy period of time - so that the revealed and sufficient word of God can mature the people of God.

4. As in Jerusalem, Pisidian Antioch, Thessalonica, Ephesus, and Rome, we must expect in Auckland a divided response to faithful preaching as we encounter both acceptance and rejection of the message. We must recoil from the cultural forces which would have us 'accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative' in an effort to market the gospel to consumers.

5. As in Thessalonica, and in comparing Athens with Pisidian Antioch, we must be flexible and fulsome in Auckland - ensuring that preachers and preaching teams include 'information, declaration, exhortation, persuasion, and conversation' (Peter Adam) in their preaching. Afterall stott-ing, graham-ing, campolo-ing, carson-ing, and bell-ing are both distinctive from each other and yet still overlap with each other.

6. As in Jerusalem, Pisidian Antioch, Philippi, Athens, and Ephesus, we must identify the spaces in Auckland with equivalency to the temple courts, the synagogues, the riversides, the marketplaces, the lecture halls, and the homes and occupy those spaces with an appropriate communication of the gospel.

7. As in Caesarea, Antioch, Pisidian Antioch, and Philippi, we must free the gospel in Auckland to cross boundaries thereby enabling the 'turn to the Gentiles' to be ongoing as it seeks out the lost and the last and the least and maybe even discovers some of them to be part of a God-fearing fringe in society.

8. As in Lystra and Athens we must be prepared in Auckland to commence a gospel presentation from a point of contact with our audience that is outside the Bible - such as those provided by our own contemporary philosophers expressed in the billboards and lyrics, the advertising and cartoons of our world.

9. As in Philippi, Thessalonica, Athens, and Ephesus, we must loosen preaching in Auckland from its monological stereotype and welcome the interactivity which comes with dialogue and debate.

10. As in Jerusalem, Damascus, and Caesarea we must in Auckland be well-acquainted with both the biblical story and our own personal story - and be able to testify boldly to the significance of both as we bear witness to Jesus.

And my favourite resource as I've reflected?
I reckon Michael Green, Thirty Years That Changed the World (Eerdmans, 2002) is just fantastic. So readable - yet covers the territory well.


nice chatting

Paul Windsor

Comments

Mark Maffey said…
Hi Paul

As I have been re-acquainting myself with Luke 2 and the story of the Shepherds one thing that captured me was that in the face of the good news being just as the Angel said it would be, they did't keep quiet about it -
"When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen which were just as they had been told."

Likewise through the gospels there are many instances (The Samaritan Women in John 4 being one example)when people were healed or were given precise words about their lives that they couldn't keep quiet about it they had to share the word.

Where is this leading to - put simply Preaching needs to be like Rhema to those who hear it, living breathing and convincing enough to get people to not sit on the words but proclaim what they hear.

The challenge of preaching to me is to first listen to God, secondly soundly exegete whilst allowing contextualisation and colouring in of the text, and to then deliver with passion and empowerment of the Spirit.

Regards
Mark
Paul said…
Thanks for this, Mark. As someone who preaches in different places I would add one more thing ... the activity of the Spirit in the lives of the listeners. Increasingly, I am seeing the need for the Spirit to be at work at both ends of the sermon. The preacher needs to be anointed and listener needs to be illuminated.