Monday, March 06, 2006

a blessed week: 2006 shepherds' conference

(l to r: me, scott, and gabe)

well, the 2006 shepherds' conference is history. actually, it is a sweet memory (history sounds kinda 'dead.') there is NO WAY to describe the preaching, the worship, or the atmosphere of the shepherds' conference. i am tired, but excited to get back to teaching the Word. a challenging and uplifting week.

for me, the best sermon was delivered by dr. steven lawson of christ fellowship baptist church, mobile, alabama. dr. lawson preached from nehemiah 8:

And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the Lord had given to Israel. Then Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. He read from it before the square which was in front of the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand; and all the people were attentive to the book of the law. Ezra the scribe stood at a wooden podium which they had made for the purpose... Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. Then Ezra blessed the Lord the great God. And all the people answered, "Amen, Amen!" while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground...[and] the Levites explained the law to the people while the people remained in their place. They read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that [the people] understood the reading. (Neh. 8:2-8 )
dr. lawson pointed out that Biblical preaching requires:

  1. preparation. ezra had been digging into the Word for fourteen years. ezra 7:10 says: "...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."
  2. reading the Word. we must begin with the authoritative Word of God.
  3. a lengthy treatment. no 20-minute "positive talks" here.
  4. an authoritative posture. ezra didn't sit on a stool and "share." the Word of God was open, on the podium.
  5. a God exalting thrust. ezra blessed the Lord, and the people cried "amen!"
  6. a precise explanation. "the meaning of the text is the meaning of the text." (i think dr. macarthur made that comment.)

the consequences of Biblical preaching is that the people repented and they rejoiced.

this sermon (and other sessions) can be be ordered from the shepherds' conference website. dr. lawson's sermon is listed as "general session #6."

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