Wednesday Morning: Tim Jordan "The Place of Expository Preaching in the Spiritual Advancement of the Preacher"

After singing "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms," Dr. Tim Jordan gave his testimony of faith in Christ, which is also his earliest memory.  "It was the first of thousands of times I asked Him to save me. (Laughter) God saved me the first time and tolerated the rest." He then moved to his message.  What follows is not a transcript but just some of the highlights from the message from my perspective.  Get the mp3.

Text: 1 Timothy 4:6-16

Introduction:

  • Monty Python, “and now for something completely different…”
  • One enormously powerful influence in my life as a Christian, dad, grandpop, and preacher has been preaching, particularly expository preaching.
  • During seminary, Tim joined a church where he heard true expository preaching for the first time and really was drawn to it.
  • The day-to-day preparation to preach has been the tool of gracious transformation in my life.
  • We have to rejoice in this grand privilege we have, this demand placed on us to say “This is what God says” each Sunday.
  • Nehemiah 8:8, the heart of expository preaching is this, regardless of age or audience:
    • Read what God said.
    • Explain what God said so the listener can understand.
    • Apply what God said.
  • Clearly in Scripture, there is a divine purpose in this.
    • Jeremiah 23:22, commanded to do this.
    • 1 Thess. 2:13, preaching should be God’s words, not ours. His words actually change us.
  • What I want to emphasize is what it will do for you and what it has done for me.

Outline:

1. This text includes clear instruction to Timothy concerning his practice of preaching and teaching.

  • V. 6, “Point these things out.” If you lay these things out like stepping stones, the people will be able to avoid the quagmire of wrong doctrine and faith.
  • V. 11, “Command and teach these things.” Timothy, say it. Then, keep on teaching and explaining.
  • V. 15, “Keep on concentrating and meditating on these things.” This is supposed to be your obsession. This is not a place you visit; this is your address. “The mind is to be immersed in these pursuits as the body is in the air it breathes.”  What things? The public reading, teaching, explaining of God’s Word, the cultivation of the spiritual gifts in people.  This needs to be practice and passion. 
  • V. 16, “Continually fix your aim on yourself and your teaching.” You get on target and stay on target.  The cross hairs go on the goal and then you keep it there.
    • On yourself, the things that come to mind are personal life, character, and relationships. Devote time to you, not in an Oprah sense, but that it’s my walk with God.
    • On the teaching, the faithful teaching/preaching of God’s Word.
    • Why? Paul emphasizes what it will do for Timothy.

2. This text includes powerful and compelling instruction concerning the personal and practical impact that obedience would bring to him, to us.

  • V. 6, “He would be nourished.” One of the deepest aches in the servant of God is the desire to know that I pleased God. It’s nice to know that we please people as well, but there are limitations to that.  But to please God, isn’t that what makes us tick?  If I know that appearing to be a failure in the eyes of men was exactly what God wanted me to do, the role He wanted me to play on the team, I would say “sign me up.” There’s nothing a child desires more than his father’s approval. Prov. 27:7, many catastrophes are directly related to an empty soul. When we’re starving, we’re suckers for just about anything.  When we are nourished by the Word we teach, we will be healthy.
  • V. 15, “All may see your progress.” Progress, advancement, to go new places you would not have gone before on your own.  If you give yourself to the Word like this, you will blaze new trails, not away from orthodoxy, but being more completely obedient to all that God says. God’s Word will never take you any place that God didn’t anticipate and design.  This can be scary, but it is good news. Didn’t this happen to the disciples?  What is the essence of discipleship?  What did Jesus tell them? Follow me.  Where is this going to lead to?  If I follow Him, I probably won’t get lost.  I’ll end up where He wanted me to go.  This is a tremendous promise.
  • V. 16, “you will both save yourself and your hearers.” Not redemption, but a “working out of our salvation,” e.g. Phil 2:12-13. It will in every way be used of God to sanctify, not just you, both those who listen to you.  That’s a pretty big deal.  Psalm 1 is like this, “whatever you do will prosper” if you delight in the law of the Lord. If at the end of my life, God’s summary is “Tim, you were saved and through the ministry of Word, everyone who heard you was sanctified,” wouldn’t that be okay?  What else would you want?  A significant part of that prediction from God is the day-to-day exposition of the word.

Application:

  • Where is this going to take me? I don’t know.  It’s an adventure.  I know that it will lead me to be more loyal to sound doctrine.  It may also lead me away from practices or beliefs I have held to.
  • Where will I end up in fellowship? I don’t know. I know that if I follow Him, I will be nourished, I will make progress, my character will be refined, sound doctrine will continue to be fortified.  There’s stuff that I used to think was really important that I don’t anymore.  Why? Because in my study of God’s Word, my assumptions were no longer fed.  Things I didn’t think were important have also become more important.  Frankly, I find a measure of peace in a sea of fear knowing that I’ll end up where He wants me to be. So, the preaching of God’s Word has enormous benefit to us.
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Todd Wood's picture

"It was the first of thousands of times I asked Him to save me. (Laughter) God saved me the first time and tolerated the rest."

Sort of like my testimony.

"Where is this going to take me? I don’t know. It’s an adventure. I know that it will lead me to be more loyal to sound doctrine. It may also lead me away from practices or beliefs I have held to."

It is a glorious journey.