Particle Board Preaching
"In the Gospels Jesus warns against false teachers, speaks of wolves in sheep’s clothing and the “leaven of the Pharisees.” The record of His ministry is one of conflict with those who refused to accept the teaching He set forth.
Acts contains the record of the church’s first major controversy over whether or not a person must become a Jew before he could qualify as a Christian. A church council was called to settle the matter. Paul goes to lengths to warn the Ephesian elders about wolves who would devour the flock and schismatically draw away disciples to themselves.
Romans is an entire doctrinal treatise about justification by faith alone in contrast to salvation by works, and how sanctification follows thereafter. In it, Paul also takes up the rejection of the Jewish church.
I Corinthians is loaded with problems; schism, misuse of gifts, church discipline, marriage and divorce, and on, and on, on.
II Corinthians takes on false apostles who had invaded the church and charged him with pretending to be an apostle. The place of apostolic authority is set forth, along with the qualifications of an apostle.
Galatians is a sterling defense of Justification by faith alone over against those who taught otherwise, and were upsetting the church by Judaistic legalism.
Ephesians is less controversial, being a universal epistle rather than directed to the adverse circumstances of an individual or a congregation
Philippians deals with a split in an otherwise good church. But it has to do with self-centeredness and sets forth a key Christological passage.
Colossians is consumed with fighting Judaistic Gnosticism.
I & II Thessalonians take up false teaching about the Lord’s coming and eschatology.
I & II Timothy & Titus teach “healthy” doctrine over against many false ideas. And, in them, Paul doesn’t hesitate to name specific heretical individuals.
Philemon is a welcome exception
Hebrews, in its entirety, combats all influences that would cause Jewish Christians to revert to Judaism.
James utterly destroys the idea that one can have genuine faith that does not result in good works.
I Peter explains how the New Testament church is no longer a physical political entity, but that the church is now the spiritual people of God, the new Israel.
II Peter warns against scoffers and libertines unsettling the church and reveals the true picture of final things.
I John argues quite effectively throughout the book against Gnosticism of a Cerenthian sort.
II John warns against hospitality for heretics
III John deals with church discipline gone so far astray as to virtually destroy a church.
Jude throughout its entirety is and exhortation to contend against the libertines who invaded the church that failed to listen to the warnings in II Peter.
Revelation speaks of the warfare of God against apostate Judaism, the first persecutor of the church, and Rome, the second persecutor, and predicts the fall. It also mentions cults like the Nicolatians."If this is not enough to convince us of the pervasiveness of false teaching in the church, and the dire need we have to be testing all that we hear with the word, then nothing will. So how can we discern whether or not we are sitting under biblically faithful preaching and teaching? What tools can we give others to help them know whether or not they are listening to solid preaching? Here are a few suggestions: 1. Read the Scriptures Prayerfully and Perseveringly. Discernment will only ever come from personal, prayerful and persevering time in God's word. The Holy Spirit commended the Bereans for being "more fair-minded" than those in Thessanonica because, "they received the word [from the Apostle Paul] with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). The more we know the Scriptures, the more we will desire to sit under the faithful proclamation of the Christian message of Christ crucified and risen. 2. Listen to the Sermons of Trusted Preachers. One of the great privileges that we have today is that of being able to listen to some of the greatest preachers of the last 75 years such as Martyn Lloyd-Jones, James Boice, Sinclair Ferguson, Eric Alexander, Derek Thomas, William Still, John Piper, Edward Donnelly, Ligon Duncan, H.B. Charles Jr., Thabiti Anyabwile, Ian Hamilton, Phil Ryken, Rick Phillips, Joseph Pipa, Tim Keller, Joel Beeke, Kent Hughes, D. A. Carson, Mark Dever, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Alistair Begg and many, many more. Sites like Monergism, Sermon Audio and The Gospel Coalition make finding solid preachers much easier. The more we are trained in listening to good preaching, the more discerning we will be when it comes to what sort of preaching we ought to be sitting under in a local church. There is, however, one downside to listening to the best expositors in the world is that we can sometimes have too high a standard for local church pastors. We must also be on guard against this opposite error. 3. Make Use of Trusted Church Search Sites. A number of years ago 9 Marks and Gospel Coalition both added "church search" lists to their sites. While there is no sure guarantee that the churches listed on these sites are going to have faithful biblical and Christ-centered preaching, the chances of finding those that do on these sites is much higher than it is with anything else online. My assistant pastor, when he first came to visit our church, found us online through Gospel Coalition because he knew that he wanted to find a church that faithfully proclaimed the word of God, the Gospel and the doctrines of grace.
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