With the 500th year anniversary of the Reformation coming upon us October 31, many people are looking to history and learning Martin Luther and his the men that came before him.
Martin Luther is generally acknowledged to have been a main spark to the Protestant Reformation. Protestant comes from the word protest, which Luther’s 95 Theses sparked against the Roman Catholic Church’s excesses of indulgences (sin absolution for hire) and other abuses.
The Reformation didn’t happen because Martin Luther put the 95 Theses on the door to Wittenberg Chapel. It happened because the Word was unleashed. ~Mark McAndrew, North Avenue Church
Here, John MacArthur explains in a 1:33 clip How unhindered access to God’s Word changed history.
William Tyndale, John Hus, and many others were executed for translating or preaching the Word in the people’s language. The Roman Catholic Church prevented the Catholics from reading the Word themselves and from possessing and reading a Bible. Mass was performed in Latin. The RCC was fearful that if the people got a-hold of the Word, they would be uncontrollable. So it was restricted. For a thousand years.
William Tyndale: “Let it not make thee despair, neither yet discourage thee, O reader, that it is forbidden thee in pain of life and goods, or that it is made breaking of the king’s peace, or treason unto his highness, to read the Word of thy soul’s health—for if God be on our side, what matter maketh it who be against us, be they bishops, cardinals, popes.”Christianity Today
Read the word for thy soul’s health. When push comes to shove, and you are undergoing a tragedy and need comfort, or are under conviction and need some solace, the pastor’s witty anecdote is not going to help you. The pastor’s fad-driven bullet point topical sermon is not going to help you. The greatest help we have is the Word- with the Spirit to illuminate us to our mind. There is nothing like the word, because it is alive.
Let each true church commit to expository preaching. What IS expository preaching?
Expository preaching involves the exposition, or comprehensive explanation, of the Scripture; that is, expository preaching presents the meaning and intent of a biblical text, providing commentary and examples to make the passage clear and understandable. The word exposition is related to the word expose — the expository preacher’s goal is simply to expose the meaning of the Bible, verse by verse. Source
Read the word to the people, explain what it means in context, repeat next Sunday.
Do we need fancy stunts? Do we need extreme stage lights and fog machines? Do we need motivational speeches? Do we need to change the church so we can attract the goats seekers and meet their “felt needs“? Do we need to ditch everything and be radical, wild at heart manly men?
Martyn Lloyd Jones said,
Another argument that I would adduce at this point is that the moment you begin to turn from preaching to these other expedients you will find yourself undergoing a constant series of changes.
Does your church still do the Prayer of Jabez? Undergo 40 Days of Purpose? Wear a WWJD bracelet? Maintain membership in Promise Keepers? Are you still renovating your prayer closet/war room? Do you see how many changes you have to make when you focus on the world and its church fads? If you preach the word, it does not change. It may change you, but it does not change. John MacArthur has been preaching it from the same pulpit for nearly 50 years. He reads the word to the people, explains what it means in context, repeats next Sunday. I hope your pastor does too.
Expositors today preach the Word. The evangelists in the Second and First Great Awakenings preached the Word. The Reformers preached the Word. Apostle Paul preached the Word. Jesus preached the Word. Ezra preached the Word. Noah preached the Word.
Knowing the blood of the martyrs soaks the ground under thousands of stakes, how dare we insert our own words, opinions, fads, and stunts onto the pulpit? Men died for this Word to be preached. Jesus as the Word suffered and absorbed all God’s wrath for the elect so this word would go out and be preached.
Pastors, please exposit the word.
preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:2)