It has long been my contention that those who push ONE style of preaching (exegetical, expositional, dialogic, need-driven, etc.) are wrong in the very nature of their argument. The sermons we find in scripture do not follow one model.
It was with delight, then, that I found a couple of posts by Peter Mead of Great Britain who has been reporting on his reading of a book by Greg Haslam’s (pictured—the current successor to Martyn Lloyd-Jones at Westminster Chapel in London) entitled, Preach the Word.
In it, there is a chapter entitled “Learning from Jesus.” Let me just share Peter’s comments:
To some it is obvious that we should look to Jesus, who was, after all, the finest of preachers. But I suppose some would overlook Jesus as a model of preaching since, well, we’re not Jesus. In this chapter, the writer points out ten characteristics of Jesus’ teaching. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it is a list worth pondering:
(1) Revelatory in Content – intimacy with the Father added an authority to his teaching, quite unlike the teaching of his contemporaries.
(2) Anointed by the Spirit – another key element in his authority was the role and freedom of the Spirit in the empowering of Jesus’ ministry.
(3) Biblical in its Source – Jesus knew, quoted, cited, explained and preached the Hebrew Bible. While he was able to add to it in a way we cannot, he never contradicted it.
(4) Always Relevant – Jesus knew who he spoke to and he connected his teaching to their lives.
(5) Compassionate in its Motivation – Jesus really loved those he sought to draw to faith, and it showed in his communication.
(6) Visual in its Appeal – Jesus painted word pictures. He didn’t speak in abstractions, but he helped his teaching to form in the minds of the listeners (whether they were intended to really understand that picture is a different matter!) For instance, imagery in Matthew’s gospel includes salt, light, gates, roads, trees, houses, foxes and birds, brides and bridegrooms, wine, farmers, weeds, seeds, bread, treasure, fishing, plants, pits, dogs, weather, rocks, mountains, sheep, vineyards and lamps.
(7) Varied in its Approach – Jesus varied and adapted his methodology, using parables, stories, proverbs, pithy statements, paradoxes, riddles, word plays, etc.
(8) Practical in its Application – Jesus taught his disciples to pray by giving them a prayer and not just a pattern or theory.
(9) Courageous in its Directness – He was through and through a God-pleaser, rather than a men-pleaser, which gave courage to Jesus’ ministry.
(10) Potent in its Impact – in just three years of ministry, Jesus’ impact far surpassed the combined decades of teaching of the finest philosophers of antiquity. His words inspired the greatest art of history. His teaching motivated the music and poetry of the greatest composers of the ages. His preaching continues to change lives today.
Before we just say, “that’s Jesus, He’s different,” let’s be sure to not only praise the Lord for his ministry, but also look to learn from it as we continue to represent Jesus in preaching to the body of Christ and the world that needs Christ.