Summary: Exposition of Acts 13:13-41 about Paul’s longest recorded sermon and its example toward evaluating preaching in our day
Text: Acts 13:13-41, Title: What is Good Preaching? Date/Place: NRBC, 5/4/08
A. Opening illustration: Bible Stories with Graham: The Four Tests – Youtube.com
B. Background to passage: The missionary duo took their instructions from Sergius Paulus to head for the mainland, and so they did. Scripture never says whether or not they ministered in Perga or Pamphylia. But when they came to Antioch Pisidia, they did their normal thing—go to the synagogue and witness. They gave the visiting rabbi of Gamaliel his chance to speak and a sermon came forth. This is the first recorded and the longest of the sermons preached by Paul. Since we have already looked at long sermons by Peter and Stephen, which bear out similar content, we are going to look at preaching in general.
C. Main thought: Looking at this sermon, and others, to determine what good, biblical preaching is. As we all need to be coinsures of preaching
A. Full of biblical content (v. 17-22)
1. Notice in the first six verses of this sermon we get an overview of biblical history beginning in the Exodus and going through David. Paul uses the storyline of the OT to begin to frame up his case for Jesus Christ. He understands that we are begotten by the Word, and that it must be included in preaching for preaching to be preaching. And the word that is used must be spoken/interpreted in context. For we know that it is not permissible to use scripture to make it say what we want it to say. It is the job of the preaching to take what God said, and say it to you again.
2. Acts 2:16-17, 7:2, 20:27, Heb 1:1, 1 Pet 1:23, Eph 1:13, “word of God” was received and spread
3. Illustration: I never cease to be amazed at the preaching that Baptists will up to me and tell me that they have been listening to, tell the MacArthur story about him preaching before in chapel and getting the evaluation back from his mentor that read, “you missed the entire point of the passage.” “The reason I preach the Bible is: first, I’m not smart enough to preach anything else. The Bible is a bottomless well. So I’m not smart enough to preach anything else. The other reason is I am smart enough not to preach anything else, because I know that that has the staying power. My people love me today; I don’t want to say boastfully, but I know this is true: they love me, they come. This place is packed; we have run out of room. It is not a testimony to the man but to the Bible. If I stop preaching the Bible, these folks will saturate this place with absence. They come for the Word of God. They want it to be warm; they want it to be understandable and applicable. But I have learned that there is power in the preaching of the Word of God.” –Adrian Rogers, Rev. Phil Chambers, senior pastor at the church, would not grant TBNN an interview, but did send us a letter. In it Chambers said, "Jeremy Willis is a fine teacher of the bible. However, our youth and parents have a vision of a youth group that centers on the needs of the kids. Youth these days need a place where they can have good, clean fun in a safe environment. Mr. Willis’ dismissal has nothing to do with him personally, but rather speaks to the difference in vision about what a youth group should be. Teaching the bible is fine, but just not too much bible."
4. You can listen to a lot of preaching on TV, internet, or radio, but all preaching is not worth listening to. Good preaching is not the preacher sharing his clever thoughts, emotionally provocative stories, or the best clean joke that he has heard that week. Good preaching doesn’t necessarily make you feel good or bad about yourself; but it does make you feel good about Jesus. Good preaching is not saying all the clichés that will give rise to “Amens” in your congregation. It is not getting on your soapbox, or preaching the same thought out of every text. It is not diving board preaching. It is the Word that does the work in the heart of the individual. It is the word that sustains, enlivens, regenerates, convicts, enlightens, empowers, conquers, and feeds the sheep. We must ensure that depth in preaching biblical content happens in our hearing. The goal of preaching is the exaltation of Christ through the proclamation of His Word. So the job of the preacher is to say what God said. He is a messenger of a written letter. If we don’t we will develop a theologically weak church that will eventually die out or go liberal. Evaluate how much scripture is being quoted or explained in the sermons that you hear from this pulpit or any other. Look up those references, and see if they are being used to achieve purposes for which they were not designed. “We don’t have time for all that…”