Monday, March 28, 2022

Sermonic Timing

(This post will also serve as episode 38 of my podcast.)

God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;

This coming July, I will have been preaching at Edgewood Church in Danville, IL for thirteen years. I have preached at least three sermons per month, with several long stretches of preaching every sermon in the month. If I had to estimate the total number of sermons that I've preached, it would be well over 600 sermons.

For the most part, all of these sermons have been expository in nature. For those of you who do not know what expository preaching is, I could sum it up with the phrase, "Preach the Word" from Paul's letter to the young pastor, Timothy (2 Timothy 4:2). Expository preaching is to preach sermons firmly rooted in the text of scripture. The most straight-forward way of accomplishing this is by "preaching through" portions of the Bible. I began this endeavor when I started at Edgewood, by beginning with an introduction to Ephesians with Ephesians 1:1 and some 62 sermons later with the Conclusion to Ephesians from Ephesians 6:19-24

I have proceeded from there to preach through The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), The Gospel According to John, The Book of Acts, 1 Corinthians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, James, 1 Peter, Revelation 1-3, Genesis 1-25, Various Psalms, The Book of Jonah, and I am currently in The Gospel According to Luke. Even the sermons that were meant to be topical in nature, I attempted to focus on one particular passage of scripture. 

I mention all of this, NOT because I feel that doing this or accomplishing this is a feat of any measurable value... no. I mention this because I am always amazed at the wonderful timing of the topics that arise from working through these passages of scripture and their specific relevance to, not only our modern world, but to the nature of the situations active in our own little church. This amazement is turning into a blog post because of our current church situation and the passages we are working through. 

Allow me to paint a picture for you.  We have seen a striking increase in attendance over the last year or so, and especially over the last few months. This attendance increase has come from a variety of sources: from those who have not been faithful to church to people who have, for a variety of reasons, been looking for a new church home. The resulting church body feels very much like we are at the beginning of something new. 

We are currently working our way through the Gospel According to Luke. We are near the end of Chapter 9, and this chapter marks the beginning of something new in Jesus' ministry. He has just divulged, for the first time, the core focus of his ministry -- his own journey to the Cross. The disciples do not comprehend what he is talking about, but he is laying the foundation for all of the Christian Walk... I couldn't have asked for a better time to lay this foundation in our own little fellowship. The next several chapters of Luke focus on several different teachings of Jesus. As I scan ahead, I see the amazing Sermonic Timing of the preaching that is cued up to be presented. 

Ok. I made up that word: Sermonic... But it just seems so fitting to what I am experiencing. I am no musician, but I love the elements of harmonic timing that can be heard in different forms of music. Individuals' skill in their ability to sing in Harmony, along with those who understand the mathematics behind developing harmony in the writing of music is truly fascinating, but equally fascinating... no... more so fascinating... is God's perfectly timed presentation of his truths through his ordained ministers of the Word. 

And it is just so exciting to get to be a part of that. 

So, whether you are a preacher of the word or a recipient of that preaching on a weekly basis, marvel with me at our sovreign Lord who grows his people through his truth. If you go to a local church, you get to be a part of this each and every week. 

Here is a hymn to worship the great teacher, Our Lord Jesus Christ, who works in perfectly orchestrated ways to teach us through His Word, but to also guide us through all of the other of life's events.

God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill;
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence,
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding ev'ry hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow'r.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain.

William Cowper, Light Shining Out of Darkness, 1773

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