When I stand up to preach each week, my aim is not to deliver my own opinion, but to expound for you the message which God has delivered to us in the Scriptures.
If you’re a regular here, you’ve probably noticed that I am in the habit of preaching sequentially through books of the Bible, chapter by chapter. Today, for example, we are finishing a series in the letter to the Hebrews, which has taken about 25 sermons. While this is not the only way of expounding the Scriptures, it is a helpful way of allowing God’s word to set the agenda (and of saving you from just getting my opinion!).
This method is common amongst preachers who value the Scriptures as the inspired word of God. We have an illustration of this in a story about the famous reformer John Calvin. At one point in his ministry in Geneva, he was driven out of his post by the city’s leadership and spent a few years in exile. Eventually he was invited back. The very first Sunday after his return, he rose to preach, uttered “next text”, and resumed the sermon series he had left off a few years earlier!
I do hope, if the Lord spares me, to be able to preach on every passage in the Bible at some point in my life. (Calvin must have come very close to achieving that, even though he died at 55.)
Well, here is an update on where our preaching series is heading next. We have a few one-off sermons coming up. Next week is Jonah (yes, the guy in the whale!), followed by a guest from CMS on Mission Sunday. After the October school holidays, we will hear from Jude (who was not one to pull punches!) and Ruth, which is a warm and encouraging narrative from the Old Testament.
In brief, can I recommend the annual New College Lectures, which are coming up on 22-24 September (Tuesday to Thursday, 7.30 pm). The topic this year is Family and Faith in a Multicultural Society. The speaker, Prof. Patrick Parkinson, is a leading expert in family law, child protection and the intersection of law and religion. He lectured me at Sydney Law School, and I can warmly recommend him. I am looking forward to this event. Admission is free. See back of this week’s service bulletin for details.