Mick Porter, Brisbane Australia
November 8, 2004
"And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today. This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. O king, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me." Acts 26:6-7
Brothers, I decided to write this short paper to attempt to promote a change in how we view our preaching and teaching of God’s living and active Word, particularly when it comes to preaching and teaching from the Old Testament. The apostle Paul gave one primary reason to Agrippa for his being on trial before him; in fact, one reason for his whole life’s work: hope in a promise. It is my contention that the promise of God that began with Eve, was given to Abraham and the patriarchs, lived on through the great men and women of faith, and now reaches fulfillment in God’s redemptive work through Christ, is the promise that must underpin the hope that is a basis for our lives as Christians and for the corporate hope of our churches. The purpose of this paper is a very positive one – to try to bring some inspiration to those who would bring that hope to their congregation.
A Problematic Legacy
Quite clearly over the last few years, it has become apparent that the culture of the International Churches of Christ has left some less-than-desirable thoughts and behaviors in its wake: faulty leadership paradigms, a works-driven mentality, harshness within the churches, and the like. Some of these things have been dealt with in no uncertain terms: leaders have resigned or been laid off, “discipling trees” dissolved, etc. However, my deepest concern is that we have not come to realize the extent of the fallacious preaching models that have been the example to many of us for the last decade or two, particularly in preaching and teaching from the Old Testament.
As an example, one of the sermons that had an enormous impact on me and really defined my image of what a “great sermon” should be, was a tape that I heard around 15 years ago titled “Does Your Life Make a Difference?” The sermon text was the book of Esther, and the premise was that the listener should compare himself or herself with one of three characters in the book: does your life inspire people to great good, like Mordecai; does your life inspire people to great evil, like Haman; or does your life inspire people to great mediocrity, like Esther’s would have? To read the entire article, download the Word document or the pdf below. Available Downloads: Article (.doc - 66k)