First of all, I want to give you a couple of links for the “homework” I assigned during my sermon this past Sunday. If you are reading a print copy of this article, simply search some of the keywords below.
The first is a three-minute clip from the S.M. Lockridge sermon “Sunday’s Comin.’” This is the famous section of one of the greatest sermons on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The second item of homework is a Breakpoint Podcast episode featuring J. Warner Wallace. Wallace is a former detective with the Los Angeles Police Department and a former committed atheist. Wallace came to faith in Christ after examining the evidence of the claims of Jesus Christ and the evidence for His resurrection.
Proverbs: Continually Relevant
If you have ever done a study or even a cursory reading of the book of Proverbs, you know that it is a book of eternal relevance. The entirety of the Word of God is perpetually relevant, and nothing illustrates that more than the book of Proverbs. For example, just listen to this gem: Proverbs 12:15 –”The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”
As you read this collection of practical wisdom, you will be amazed at just how fresh and applicable the truth is in the twenty-first century. This is why I believe it is a perfect focus for our next sermon series.
Preaching the book of Proverbs is not without its challenges. At first blush, it can seem like a random collection of very important, yet disconnected nuggets of wisdom. In fact, one title for a sermon series on the book of Proverbs was, “God’s Post-It Notes.” I wish I had thought of that! However, the more you examine the book, the more you see that there are themes that rise to the surface.
Allow me to pull back the curtain for a moment regarding good preaching. Many of you have heard the term expository preaching. Without getting into the manifold variations, expository preaching basically means that you allow the text to speak for itself. The opposite, and I believe poorer practice, is to start with one’s own thoughts, and then attempt to interpret the text in such a way that it supports those thoughts. All too often this practice destroys coherence, draws scripture out of context, and most damagingly, clouds the overarching thrust of the preeminent author, the Holy Spirit of God.
After some good research on the plans that expository preachers have used through the decades, I believe I have some good direction. Practically, I will walk through the first several chapters of Proverbs in sequential expository format. The second part of the sermon series will follow a topical expository format, arranging the remaining verses of Proverbs around common themes that arise naturally from the text.
I would also like to challenge you to make the book of Proverbs a part of your daily reading during this sermon series. Nothing will drive these truths home like your own personal study reinforced by collective examination of the scripture. As you may know, the book of Proverbs contains thirty-one chapters, so that breaks down nicely to one chapter a day for most months.
Finally, I encourage you to come to this series with an open heart and active mind. The book of Proverbs is a book that is continually relevant.