by: Tyler Gordon
I have been reading a book by Dr. Steven J. Lawson titled, “Famine in the Land: A Passionate Call for Expository Preaching.” He argues that we are living in a time of "famine" rather than "feasting" when it comes to the preaching and hearing of God's Word. Many churches have lost their confidence in the power and sufficiency of God's Word, and therefore have turned to pragmatism. He writes, "exposition is being replaced with entertainment, preaching with performances, doctrine with drama, and theology with theatrics." How does Christ build his church? How does God work to save the lost and to sanctify his people? Through his Word, empowered by His Spirit. Dr. Lawson writes, "Doing God's work God's way requires an unwavering commitment to feeding people God's Word through relentless biblical preaching and teaching...Biblical exposition must always occupy the leading place of influence in the life of any church. At the core of any healthy congregation is a vibrant exposition of God’s Word…God’s truth is always a means to a greater end, namely, leading God’s people into genuine worship, personal maturity, spiritual service, and evangelistic outreach."
Dr. Lawson puts forward Acts 2:42-47 as a paradigm for ministry. We find the priorities and practices that made the early church dynamic and powerful. They were committed to the apostles' teaching, fellowship, worship, prayer, service, and evangelism. These commitments are a good gauge for how healthy a local church is. Based on the fact that their devotion to the apostles' teaching is listed first, Dr. Lawson argues that the apostles' teaching is the primary and foundational ministry of the church. As the early church received the apostles' teaching, it bore the fruit of fellowship, worship, service, love, prayer, and evangelism.
Listen to how Dr. Lawson describes how the Word brings about these fruits:
- "As these new believers grew in the truth, they grew in the Lord, and in turn, they grew closer to each other." (Fellowship)
- "As they were taught the rich truths about Christs' work on the cross, their worship experience at the Lord's Table intensified. The deeper they dug into the Word, the higher their hearts soared in fervent worship." (Worship)
- "The apostles' teaching ignited a passion for prayer...The more believers learn about God, the more they recognize their dependence on Him in prayer" (Prayer)
- "The apostles' preaching generated great concern, compassion, and commitment in their hearts for each other." (Service)
- "The apostles' teaching sparked an atmosphere of contagious joy...when received by faith, God's Word always produces joy, filling hearts with gladness." (Joy)
- "The apostles' teaching resulted in the conversion of many individuals. As the Christians grew in their faith, they shared the gospel...Evangelism flourished because the believers were strong in the written word. With a growing confidence, they shared the good news of Christ with those around them." (Evangelism)
May you long for the pure milk of God's Word,