One of my goals as a pastor is to preach and teach "the whole counsel of the Word of God." What that means for our sermon-life at DPC is that we're always going to be making laps around the whole Bible. I have no interest in seeing us become "New Testament Christians." I'm wanting to see us encourage one another to grow into what it means to be "whole Bible Christians."
Having just recently finished a sermon series in the Gospels, we will now turn our attention to a sermon series in the Old Testament. More about that series in a later post.
But I hope we will love getting to know our Savior better in the Old Testament Scriptures. Remember what he said? "You search the Scriptures [by which he meant the Old Testament] because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they [the Old Testament Scriptures] that bear witness about me." John 5.39
But once we finish the Old Testament series, we'll turn our attention to an Epistle series. And then start lapping the Bible again with a series out of the gospels. (Not an entire gospel every 3rd lap. We just finished going through Matthew. Next time it'll be a shorter series from a well-defined section within a gospel.)
We will occasionally do other things, but the general practice at DPC is studying right through whole books of the Bible. Here are a few reasons why:
- doing so disciplines us to cover topics and issues we might never otherwise chose to study, if we just left our studies up to our own tastes and whims and preferences. You ever been in a church where you're always studying the pastor's favorite topics? Boring. Do you want to be conformed to a pastor's mind or to the mind of Christ?
- and in going through the Bible in this kind of systematic way, I believe we will often come upon a particular topic or passage that will be far more relevant to our current situation than if we went out on a search for something relevant. God's Word is funny that way. It's always relevant. It's almost as if... well, by jingo, it's exactly as if there's a Living God who providentially intended for his children to experience his Word in this way.
- it preserves the "surprises" in Scripture. If we're always deciding ahead of time what we want to say & then finding the right text to use to say it, then we're really just thinking our thoughts after ourselves. But when we walk straight through a book of the Bible, we're thinking God's thoughts after him. And I, for one, am often quite surprised by God's thoughts. There's some wild stuff in the Bible, if you just let it say what it says. He's not a tame lion, as they say in Narnia. Expect the unexpected. Expect to hear things that no one intended to say. No one but God.
- approaching the Bible in this way affirms our commitment to hear God's Word and submit to God's Word. We're not interested in preaching for the sake of preaching. Even if it's really really really good preaching. What we're interested in is the preaching of God's Word.
- if we don't approach God's word in this way, I'm afraid we'll never learn more about God and his ways. If we're just using the Bible to preach what we already know we want to say, then nobody knows anything more when we're done than when we started. There's nothing new being added to our understanding. We're not being challenged by the Word.