E.K. Bailey Preaching Conference – Day 1
The first time I heard about the E.K. Bailey Preaching Conference was when I was matriculating at Dallas Baptist University for my bacherlor’s degree in Biblical Studies. I wasn’t much into conferences then, so I never attended. Not that I had anything against them. I just hadn’t been exposed to them at that time. If I recall correctly, it wasn’t until I was hired on in my current position as Associate Pastor of Christian Education in 2003 did I actually attend. And I was hooked!
“This is what I have been missing?! Why didn’t I come to this earlier on?!” is what I was thinking to myself as I walked the Fairmont Hotel halls and sat in the various classes for the first time. High caliber teaching on preaching by seasoned professors and pastors/preachers, stellar examples of biblical expository preaching by preachers from various backgrounds and across the nation, a treasure trove of quality Christian books and other resources on subjects ranging from Christian living to theology to, of course, preaching, and the camraderie of like-minded Christian brothers – a kind of preacher’s fraternity, if you will – are some of the defining characteristics of this internationally renown conference.
Having a B.A. in Biblical Studies, an M.Div. in Theology from George W. Truett Theological Seminary, a shelf full of books on preaching, and now pursuing a DMin at Dallas Theological Seminary, I still attend to this day because it is that exceptional and it inspires me to continue to grow as a preacher of God’s word. I would highly recommend it.
This year is the 19th annual meeting of the E.K. Bailey Preaching Conference. The focus is “Preaching 360: Old Testament Edition.” In addition to the plethora of workshops offered, attendees have the option of registering for mini-conferences – 4-hour seminars on topics regarding preaching or some aspect of pastoral leadership in the local church. Yesterday, I sat in on “Preparing Effective Expository Sermons,” taught by Dr. Chuck Fuller (PhD in preaching from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville), Assistant Professor of Christian Studies at Anderson University in Anderson, SC.
Below you will find some of the notes taken from his lecture and powerpoint presentation. It was a great refresher for me on the basics of homiletics. I know there are many who were not able to attend this year. So it is my desire to share with you some of what I learn and experience over the next few days (Note: The conference has a lecture and preaching segment every evening, but I will not be in attendance for those.). I will try to post a recap of each day in the evening. If not, then I will publish it the following morning.
Preparing Effective Expository Sermons
Dr. Chuck Fuller, Teacher
Monday, July 7, 2014
Primary Text: Psalm 90
Book Recommendation: The Heresy of Application by Haddon Robinson
I. What is Expository Preaching?
“The act of preaching brings forth a combination of exposition, testimony, exhortation, and teaching. Still, preaching cannot be reduced to any of these or even to the sum total of its individual parts combined.” (Albert Mohler)
“Preaching is theology coming through a man who is on fire.” (D. Martin-Loyd Jones)
“Oral communication of biblical truth by the Holy Spirit through a human personality to a give audience with the intent of enabling a positive response.” (Jerry Vines)
“A message which focuses on a specific portion of Scripture to determine the precise meaning of the text, so that hearers will adopt the attitudes and actions of the text for transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Dr. E.K. Bailey)
A. Biblical Theology on Preaching
1. Colossians 1:28 – “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” (ESV)
Content: “Him we proclaim”
To be a Christian sermon, the preacher must preach the text in view of the gospel…
Means: “warning everyone and teaching everyone”
Warning/admonishing: to correct the mind, to put right what is wrong, to improve the spiritual attitude
Teaching: forceful direction for Christian living
Goal: “present everyone mature in Christ”
Evangelistic and sanctificational
Preaching is God’s way of saving sinners and edifying saints, and a sermon can do both.
Preaching is NOT merely presenting information about the text (2 Tim. 4:2)
“Preaching is a person-to-person encounter, through warning and intensive teaching, that God uses to perform his saving work.” (Dr. Chuck Fuller)
We want the Bible to use the preacher to preach the Bible’s message. This is expository preaching.
Expository: exposit – to expose
Expository preaching, fundamentally, means text-driven preaching. It is rooted in and driven by the biblical text.
Expository preaching is not the preacher using the text to say what he wants, but the text using the preacher to say what God wants.
II. Why Expository Preaching?
Protects God’s Word from human distortion
Promises to deliver truth to God’s people
Promotes the gospel of Jesus Christ
III. Preparing Expository Sermons
A. Basic Process
CHOOSE a passage of Scripture (a complete, coherent unit). Read it until your eyes fall out. Pray until it’s in your blood. Study it until you can summarize it in one sentence.
Choose a text that comprises a natural, literary unit (complete thought, story, or argument). The paragraph markings in English translations can be helpful.
A Note on Topical Preaching: If you begin with a topic, identify three or four key passages that address the particular topic, choose one as your primary text. Then, allow the text – and not merely your chosen topic – to drive the sermon. Cross reference to the other texts sparingly and only when necessary.
PONDER the purpose of the passage. Why did God inspire it? In what way does it exhort, rebuke, reprove, encourage, or comfort? What does God intend this passage to do to us? State it in one sentence. This is the thesis, the big idea, the main point of your sermon.
An effective sermon has one main, driving thrust derived from the main idea of the biblical text.
The big idea is not informational, but transformational. Nothing in Scripture is purely academic. The big idea must be directly applied to life.
STRUCTURE the sermon around the big idea.
Introduce it in a way that grabs attention and quickly points to the need.
Flesh it out (in points or moves) according to the way the passage unfolds.
Conclude in a way that recapitulates the whole of the sermon and makes a specific, focused call to respond.
Start with the biblical text.
Develop the big idea: I. Main Point – explain, illustrate, apply; II. Main Point – explain, illustrate, and apply; repeat
Craft the Introduction – Usually best to wait to craft this at the end. Intro. should take roughly 3 minutes. That’s how long you have to capture their attention and gain credibility.
Draft the conclusion – summarize, illustrate, apply
“The sermon should be a window to the text, not a portrait.” Dr. Chuck Fuller