The Art of Preaching: The Applause of Heaven – Jeremy Lang

On today’s video blog I’m interviewing Pastor Jeremy Lang.  He discusses how we should seek to gain the applause of Heaven rather than the applause of an audience.  Great stuff!

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~Pastor Matthew Ball

Philippians on Friday: The Preacher is Repeating Himself!

Thanks for joining me for Philippians on Friday.  We’re still looking at chapter one and verse three:

3:1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

Oh No! Not Again!

Last week I interjected a little humor by labeling Paul as a typical preacher.  Long-winded preachers often claim to be about finished but then preach on for a while.  Paul used the word “finally” at the beginning of this chapter even though he had two chapters left to write! Today, as we focus on the latter part of verse one, we see another characteristic of preachers – they often repeat themselves.

PhilippiansAt Faith Apostolic Church, I routinely get some light-hearted ribbing about my teaching approach.  Apparently, I’ve  spent half of my Bible study time on Wednesday nights reviewing the previous week’s material! My standard response is, “We learn through repetition.”   (And, I’m sure I’m not the only preacher given to a lot of review.)

Paul plainly states in this passage that he is repeating something he’d already taught the Philippians:

To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

Paul didn’t mind reviewing things he had already told the Philippians. Nor did he apologize for it.  He also told the Philippians it would be to their benefit:

To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

The Value of Repetition

Paul knew the value of repetition in teaching. He knew we all learn through repetition. And there are many truths of God’s Word that we need to hear over and over. Some things are so important we should be reminded of them regularly. Remember what Peter said in 2 Peter 1:12-13:

12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. 13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;

The Jewish people call it the “Shema.” It is the foundation of the Old Testament teaching:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

The truth of one God and the command to love God with all one’s heart, soul, and might are of upmost importance. God instructed His people to teach these truths repeatedly:

 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

How important are these precepts? We are told to speak them to our children many times each day! There is nothing wrong with reiterating important truths of God’s Word. Paul said there is safety in such an approach.

Lessons from The Lord’s Supper

Why did Jesus establish the sacrament of The Lord’s Supper and instruct His Philippiansdisciples to continue celebrating it until His return? It is because you cannot overemphasize foundational precepts like the Cross, forgiveness, the Blood, grace, and healing.

We certainly hear the philosophies of the world over and over! We are relentlessly bombarded with anti-Christ and anti-Christian sentiment. The constant barrage of the enemy’s agenda as well as the pressures and cares of life can erode our focus.  It’s necessary to be reminded of the very truths that set us free and give us daily victory.

We need to hear God’s Word every day. We need reminded of things we’ve previously been taught. There is nothing wrong with your pastor repeating things you’ve heard before. Don’t ever let the attitude or thought, “Oh, pastor, I’ve heard this before,” cause you to tune out what is being preached. Being reminded of the glorious truths of God’s Kingdom is a blessed thing!

~Matthew Ball

Philippians on Friday: Rejoice in the Lord!

Thanks for joining me for Philippians on Friday! We’re moving on today to chapter three:

3:1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

Finally

Paul is definitely a preacher.  He’s only half-way through the Book of Philippians  and he says, “Finally, my brethren!”  When preachers say, “I’m closing,” or “I’m just about through,” look out.  Of course, in the Greek, this passage can be translated as, “Now for the rest.”  That is likely what Paul is saying here.  (Although we know he was long-winded!  In Acts 20, he preached so long that Eutychus fell asleep, fell out the window, and died.  Don’t fall asleep on your pastor this Sunday – even if he is long-winded!  Thankfully the story of Eutychus ended well.  They prayed for him and God raised him from the dead!

But enough humor for today – let’s dig into this great passage.  Paul told the Philippians to rejoice!

Rejoice in the Lord

It was a command without conditions.  Paul simply told the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord.  He didn’t say:

  • You just got a raise on your job – rejoice!
  • God just answered your prayer – rejoice!
  • You just receive a healing – rejoice!
  • An unexpected blessing just came your way – rejoice!

PhilippiansNo, Paul just said, “Rejoice.”  Sometimes you just have to decide to rejoice. Rejoicing is a choice.  You can decide to rejoice.  You can choose, regardless of what’s going on in your life, to rejoice.  David said in Psalms 118:24:

24  This is the day which the Lord hath made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

The prophet Habakkuk said:

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. (Hab 3:17-18)

The last thing people want to hear when their joy is gone or when they are having a bad day is the preacher telling them, “Just be glad.  Just rejoice!”  But often rejoicing is an act of faith.  You make a decision, “I will rejoice.” God honors faith.  And it is a demonstration of faith to say, “I will rejoice.”  I may not feel like rejoicing.  I may not have anything good happening right now in my life.  But I will rejoice.

Joy Will Come

Am I saying we should live our lives as a fake?  Should we pretend to have joy when deep inside it’s not really there?  Of course not.  But I believe when we step out in faith and decide to rejoice, God honors that faith and imparts His joy to us!  It’s like receiving healing – sometimes you have to make the declaration, “I am healed in Jesus’ Name.” You may still feel the symptoms, but you declare your healing in faith.  Is that fake or dishonest?  No.  We are walking by faith and not by feeling.  Oftentimes it is that declaration of faith that brings the healing.

Sometimes we have to make the decision, “I will rejoice!”  

It’s no different with joy!  Sometimes we have to make the decision, “I will rejoice!”  We decide to rejoice in the Lord.  And when we take that step of faith, God honors it and imparts joy.

How Do You Decide to Rejoice?

People certainly can decide not to rejoice!  People choose to be glum or ho-hum.  philippiansYou can choose to rejoice.  You can focus on your blessings (which on any given day still outweigh your trials).  The decision to rejoice in the Lord is yours.  Say it!  Say it right now, “I will rejoice!”  Put a smile on your face.  You can sing, leap, or dance.  Make the decision you have the power to make: I will rejoice!

You can choose to say, “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”  I believe when you take that step of faith, even when you don’t feel joy, then God honors your faith.  He pours His joy upon you!

~Matthew Ball

The Art of Preaching with Robert Tisdale

On today’s video blog I’m interviewing one of the great evangelists of our movement, Robert Tisdale.  He gives some great advice to preachers about the pitfall of studying God’s Word just to get a sermon.  It’s important to study for personal growth in God’s Word.  I’m sure what evangelist Tisdale shares will help improve your preaching ministry.

If today’s video blog has been a blessing to you, please share using one of options below.  Thanks.

~Pastor Matthew Ball