Expositors' Conference (I)
I’m writing this evening from Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama. I am here for The Expositors’ Conference which is a ministry of Steven Lawson and this church. It is a conference targeted at preachers and one that seeks to foster their love of, dedication to, and skill at expository preaching. Dr. Lawson was kind enough to ask me to come down here to take in the conference in this, its first year. Dr. Lawson will be speaking several times tonight and tomorrow and will be joined as well by John MacArthur.
I had a very early start to my day, leaving the house at 3 something (when taking into account a time zone change) and arrived around 11 after a couple of rather uneventful flights. I enjoyed lunch with Dr. Lawson and some other gentlemen from several states to the north. This afternoon I settled in to (finally!) catch up with some emailing. And then we came to the church tonight to enjoy the first two sessions.
Dr. Lawson kicked off the conference with a message entitled “The Invincible Weapon” drawn from Hebrews 4:12-13. Every great season in the history of the church, he said, and every hour of spiritual awakening has been accompanied by a recovery of biblical preaching. The only true reformation is reformation that emanates from the Word of God. The purpose of this message is to increase our confidence in the power of this invincible weapon. There is no true preaching of the Word of God apart from biblical preaching and there is no true biblical preaching apart from expository preaching. If we wish to see revival and reformation in our day, we must recover this manner of preaching.
The message was structured around seven marks of the supernatural, invincible weapon that is the Word of God.
1. In the opening words of this text we see that the Bible is the divine Word. God is the primary Author who used other authors to record his revelation. Thus it is not the opinion of men or the wisdom of this world, but the truth of the Almighty God Himself. This gives the Word of God the authority of God so that expository preaching carries with it His authority. We speak as one sent by God, under the authority of God.
2. The Bible is the living Word. This book is alive—it is a living book. Anyone who desires a living ministry that brings forth truth must bring the living book. Only a living book, when accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit, can bring forth life.
3. The Bible is the powerful Word. Because it is living, it is powerful and dynamic and active. It is fully able to perform all that God wishes to accomplish through ministry. It is powerful to save, to sanctify, to satisfy, to strengthen, to stabilize, to steer, and to sustain.
4. The Bible is the sharp Word. The Bible is the sharpest weapon in any arsenal in the world. Nothing can compare to its razor-like sword. It is all edge—there is no dull side to it. Every chapter, every verse, every word, every jot and tittle is sharp. It cuts, converts, and changes. It cuts both ways, comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, it hardens and it heals, blinds and enlightens.
5. The Bible is the piercing Word. This is similar to the last point but advances it further. The Bible penetrates the outward facade of the lives of people and the Word of God alone can get through to people and the very depths of their being. The Word of God penetrates into the hidden recesses of the heart showing a person to be what he truly is.
6. The Bible is the judging Word. The Bible has the ability to judge what it exposes within a person. It is able to sit as judge and preside over our lives and it alone has prerogative to carry its verdict. All things are open before it—it strips the soul and leaves us naked before God.
7. The Bible is the saving Word. The word “for” which begins the text points back to what has come before. Here we’ve seen a gospel invitation for sinners to come to saving faith in this superior Savior the Lord Jesus Christ. We learn, thus, that it is this Word that saves. We can only bring the Word and watch as the Spirit brings the Word to the heart, bringing life.
Though targeted at pastors, this sermon is valuable for any Christian. I’m sure the audio will be available before long and you may wish to consider listening to it that you can have a better apprehension of the wonders of the Word and its unique power and efficacy.
I’ll be back tomorrow with summaries of some other sessions and with whatever other updates I can come up with!