What My God Says, That I Will Speak: Faithful Preaching in 2 Chronicles

Rest assured, your faithful preaching receives its “praise not from man, but from God”

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Featured on Servants of Grace (servantsofgrace.org)

A Plethora of Prosperity

Do you remember that song in 2009 by Toby Keith called I Wanna Talk About Me?  The song title gives away the lyrics, “I wanna talk about me, I wanna talk my, I wanna talk about number 1 oh my me my…” and on and one it goes.  Though this song is thrown into the context of a selfish relationship he has, the words of this song echo through our culture.  The most popular religion in the world is idolatry, namely, I-dolatry.  I want to talk about me, what good there is for me; please me, speak well of me, make me be the object of the sermon.  Our good desire to praise implodes on our sinful desire to be praised.  Judas sold him for thirty, we sell him for less — and it’s usually a few more smiles and a few less ‘awkward’ moments from the world.  In the book of 2 Chronicles, we read the account of the faithful prophet Micaiah who delivers the unbelievably heavy words given to him by the Lord to the king of Israel; and this king “hate[s] him, for he never prophesies good concerning me…” (2 Chronicles 18:7).

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Stop, and Consider

Let us look to the Scriptures, and consider.

God’s Traveling Preachers

One of my favorite texts that I have penned to my heart is Psalm 19.  Many of us are familiar with the opening words of David, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”  Among the many uses of the Hebrew word translated here as ‘proclaim’, it can be found in Job 1:15, 16, 17, and 19 as “to tell.”

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Better

Take the truth of what is better

Featured at For the Church (ftc.co)

The Empty Deceit of Sin

Believer, the delicacies of sin are widely displayed and lifted up for all to indulge upon.  From movies to Netflix Originals to commercials to Facebook posts, everywhere we look there are vices set like bear traps — covered up and entrapping in their grip.  Like in the life of Samson, sin comes at us like a lion ‘roaring’ (v.5) that we can tear as easy as ‘one tears a young goat’ (Judges 14:6).  Then, we pass by the ‘carcass of the lion’ again to see that honey has developed (14:9) and we stop to taste the sweetness of decay, death, and the sinfulness of sin.

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Subduing and Subdued

This is fight of the Christian life: subduing what once subdued us

Featured at For the Church (ftc.co)

Dominion Enjoyed

The triune God rules supremely and perfectly as the happy God (cf. 1 Timothy 1:11).  During his creation, everything that exists was created by him and exists by and for his will (Revelation 4:11).  And all of creation was created and declared good by him (Genesis 1:31; 1 Timothy 4:4).

By his sovereign decree, the creation exists to serve one purpose: God.  Psalm 119:91 says in reference to the sun and the earth, “By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants.”  Created things exist to serve God, and if God’s chief end is, as John Piper says, to glorify God and to enjoy himself forever (cf. Isaiah 48:9-11) then all created things exist for God.

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God Forgives So You Will Fear Him

Reconciliation required propitiation.

The Offense of the Cross

One of Billy Graham’s most well-recognized sermons was in 1958 called The Offense of the Cross.  In it, he explains that the cross of Jesus Christ is offensive because of the need for it declares our standing before God.  The cross shouts like the voice of roaring waters to a deaf world, “you have sinned against the Most High God of the universe and you face his infinite judgement and deserve his fierce wrath.”

John 12:31, “Now is the judgement of the world,” and that is the first message that the cross shows us: we are in grave danger as we stand as enemies of the cross and of God (cf. Romans 5:10, 8:7-8; Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 1:21).

But something profound about the cross of Jesus Christ and the masterful plan of God the Father is this: the forgiving of sinners causes fear of God.

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