Friday, January 5, 2007

Yesterday I posted my verse for last year and today I want to take the opportunity to post my verse for the upcoming 2007 year.

Ezra 7:10 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.

There is probably no greater example of a great preacher in the Old Testament than the man Ezra. The text here gives three requirements to being an effective preacher:

I. The Effective Preacher Must Study the Law
II. The Effective Preacher Must Practice the Law
III. The Effective Preacher Must Teach the Law

Though these three points are crucial and important, the order is just as important. Ezra had it right. Any other order will not suffice.

First, it is absolutely imperative that preachers (and for the sake of application, everyone) study the Law. This requires reading your Bible. Everyone has one. Old Testament and New Testament. Both inspired. Both authoritative. Both inerrant in all history, science, geography and theology. Read it. Immerse yourself in it. Be consumed with what the Word says. Think on it. Meditate on it. Memorize it.

You get the point?

It is so crucial to study the Law. Notice also the word for study. It doesn't give the idea that this is light-easy-reading. Studying is hard work. To really sit down, focus, research, cross-reference, write down notes, apply to your own life and pray over a text is hard work. Yet this is what is required here in Studying the Law of the Lord.

Second, it is imperative that all preachers (and everyone) must practice the Law of the Lord. This is the only follow-up that is required to studying. After you study, you read, you research, you cross-reference, you pray over the text, you take notes, then the only result MUST be a changed life. Put what you read into practice.

The Scriptures are replete with examples that prove that a genuine believer will evidence this by good works. Or to use biblical phraseology, a born-again believer must "bear fruit."

Are you Studying the Law of God? Furthermore, are you APPLYING the Law of God and practicing it in your daily life? Are you growing in sanctification, that is, growing more and more in Christlikeness day by day? Make this the ambition of your life this 2007 year.

Third and finally, the effective preacher must Teach the Law. Again, the order is crucial. No teacher is prepared to teach unless he has done thorough studying of the Law and preached his message to Himself and practiced it in his life before he can preach to others. Every preacher must preach every sermon to Himself before he preaches his message to others. The preacher must evidence the change that he expects to see in his congregation. They must first see the text impacting YOUR life. Take heed to the Scriptures - Study, Practice and then Teach.

Everyone is equipped to teach. This excludes NO ONE. Though there are different environments that everyone can exercise this command. For example, your gift may not be preaching and exhortation from a pulpit on Sunday morning, but perhaps your teaching gift may be discipling a younger child in the faith. If you are older in life, with much life experience, and a thorough knowledge of the Word, then take a younger youth group kid aside and meet with him week by week and teach him the Scriptures. Or perhaps you are a woman that does not know where/how you can implement this gift. Take a younger woman and disciple her. Train her. Love her. Show her how the Scriptures flesh itself out by YOUR own life. Get a small women's group together and teach them the Scriptures.

In sum, notice here Ezra's 3 points to effective preaching:

I. Study the Law
II. Practice the Law
III. Teach the Law

God help us.

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