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Proclaiming the Word, Receiving the Word

From John MacArthur’s 2006 Together for the Gospel message:

image   Expository preaching that is theological is not easy. The stringent discipline required to interpret Scripture accurately is a constant burden, and the message we are required to proclaim is often offensive. Christ himself is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense (Rom. 9:33; 1 Pet. 2:8). The message of the cross is a stumbling block to some (1 Cor. 1:23; Gal. 5:11) and mere foolishness to others (1 Cor. 1:23).

But we are never permitted to trim the message or to tailor it to people’s preferences. Paul made this clear to Timothy at the end of chapter 3: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). This is the Word to be preached: the whole counsel of God (cf. Acts 20:27).

In chapter 1 Paul had told Timothy, “Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me” (v. 13). He was speaking of the revealed words of Scripture—all of it. He urged Timothy to “Guard . .  the treasure which has been entrusted to you” (v. 14). Then in chapter 2 he told him to study the Word and handle it accurately (v. 15). He then brings the epistle to its summit by urging him to proclaim God’s Word no matter what. So the entire task of the faithful minister revolves around the Word of God—guarding it, studing it, and proclaiming it.

—John MacArthur, (Crossway, 2007), 142.

The applications for us are multiple. The most obvious concerns how we should handle Scripture in our own study and witness. Less obvious, but more immediate and on point, concerns how we should receive the Word delivered to us by the shepherds of our churches.

Our pastors are called to work hard, diligently and faithfully studying, interpreting, explaining, and applying the Word for us. If they faithfully fulfill their calling, delivering the Word to us week after week, should we not also work hard to receive, understand, and apply it in our own lives?

is a collection of messages from the 2006 Together for the Gospel Conference. You can download the entire message from which today’s quotation was taken here.

Posted 2010·08·13 by David Kjos
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Posted in: John MacArthur · Preaching the Cross

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