April 19, 2007

Va Tech Tragedy - The Outsourced Generation

George Barna has written brilliantly that the Virginia Tech tragedy is related to a parenting problem.


Lost in our culture are fathers who walk beside their children and communicate the doctrines of sin and judgment and righteousness and the love of God when they sit in their house, when they walk by the way, then they lie down and when they rise up (Deuteronomy 6:6-8).

Instead we outsource them to the video game, the DVD, the internet, the music feed, the college... Fathers today cast their children out in the great broad road, and there, absent of personal fatherly discipleship, wisdom, love and correction, they fall. There are so many tragic things about the Virginia Tech killings, and much to say about it, and many tears to shed for everyone there. Consider that this 23 year old boy is like millions of others in our land who have been outsourced, simply because everyone else is doing it.

Here was an oursourced boy in a freefall , whose only hope was the gospel, with no one to pull him "out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh." Jude 23

Of course, a parenting technique is not what saves a soul from wrath. Ultimately, we cannot trust in our technique, but on the grace of God alone... But, this grace ought not lead us to take lightly the commands of scripture regarding the personal shepherding of our children.

Blessed Communities where Expository Preaching is Common

As a young man I was granted a blessing that I wish for everyone. I grew up in a community with an abundance of Bible expositors. Some of the greatest expositors of the twentieth century lived within two hours of my home. And, each Sunday, our pastor John Tebay faithfully delivered expository sermons to our family beginning in my teens at Calvary Church in Placentia, California. He did this for FORTY TWO YEARS. "Selah"!

Within a stones throw were expository preachers like John MacArthur, Charles Swindoll, Chuck Smith, Henry Morris, David Jeremiah, Kent Hughes and J Vernon McGee. Then, a few hours north was Ray Stedman. John Tebay recommended Stedman to me and he became one my mentors - through his books.

Ray Stedman figures in to this picture in a slightly different way. His greater calling was to teach young pastors around the world about expository preaching. He led a movement of conferences called the “Congress on Biblical Exposition” (COBE) for some years.

The first COBE conference was held in 1982. I was there. Over the next few years thousands of men from all over the United States came to learn how to more effectively exposit scripture. I was one of those young men. I caught the vision and it never left me. I was (only) one of the next generation Ray Stedman was praying for and I would be honored to be a living legacy of what he prayed many years ago.

A short list of the men who spoke at the COBE were RC Sproul, Francis Schaeffer, Ray Stedman, James Montgomery Boice, John MacArthur and E.V. Hill.

Most of the men in the generation who cast this vision of expository preaching are dead now - Ray Stedman, EV Hill, James Montgomery Boice, J Vernon McGhee, Francis Schaeffer and more recently Henry Morris. And I want to submit the idea that it is for my generation to keep the fires burning and to do the same thing that they did.

As a young man growing up in Southern California, I learned that It is a blessing to be surrounded by expository preachers. The community is strengthened, hearts are steadied and souls are nourished by the pure milk of the Word.

Perhaps God would do the same for every community in our day.

Lord give us more churches like Calvary Church in Placentia and men like John Tebay where boys and girls grow up under the blessed ministry of the Word of God. John's careful, warm hearted, passionate sermons were a treasure to me and I continue to live off the nourishment I received.

Here is an expository preaching conference to consider:

April 17, 2007

How to Get Better Expositors In the Next Generation

Proposition: the more expository fathers we have in this generation, the better expository preachers we will have in the next. Preachers and fathers play distinct roles, with different gifts and requirements and limitations, yet they are meant to work in harmony so that the activity of each promotes the other.

Illustration: Matthew Henry's Commentaries were drawn from his fathers expositions in family worship. And when he wrote his famous commentary set, they came partly from his own family expositions. In the preface of Matthew Henry's commentary on Revelation, the editors say that they compiled the commentary from "transcribing the notes... expounded by him in his family or in the congregation..."

Conclusion: As fathers spend their energies in exposition in their homes, their daily work is an investment in the future. And as God ordained pastors and teachers spend their energies in exposition, the church is blessed with a word from God, and "all the families of the earth will be blessed." (Genesis 12:3

Contemplation: Notice how glorious a calling it is for a father to open holy scripture in his home everyday, not only for the blessing of his own children and his own church, but also for the blessing of the church in another era.

April 12, 2007

A Tale of Two Expository Fathers

I have always treasured Matthew Henry’s commentaries on the Bible. They are a rich tapestry of faithfulness to the text, theological depth and warm hearted devotion. How did this commentary series come into existence?

Here is the story:

Matthew Henry’s father, Philip started a daily routine of exposition in the home that bloomed over fifty years later, into one of the finest commentary sets available today.

This father and son duo from the seventeenth century present some of the best role models in Christian history for the dynamics of fathers passing on their faith from one generation to the next. They accomplished this through consistent and careful exposition of scripture – in the home – even with their littlest children. Both were expository fathers.

Philip engaged his whole family in the systematic reading of scripture and barely ever missed a day of it his whole life. He had his children take notes on each section of scripture. The result was that Matthew, his son entered adulthood with a complete commentary on the Bible written in his own hand.

Then, when he became a father, Matthew maintained the exemplary patterns of his father in his own home. The lifestyle in his home was so much like that of his father Philip, that his great commentary had its beginnings in the notes from Phillip’s expositions before his family in his home when Matthew was a mere stripling. Matthew used his handwritten notes to instruct his own children.

Then, Matthew had his children copy down the fine points of his expositions, leaving them with their own personal record - written in their own hand. These simple notes were the beginnings of Matthew Henry’s great commentary series on the whole Bible that we enjoy today. Here is one example of an expository father and a proof that exposition in the home can have a dramatic impact on the church.

Church leaders should recognize the importance of exposition in the home for the long term health of the church.

Of course, Matthew is best known for his wonderful set of commentaries on all of the books of the Bible entitled An Exposition of the Old and New Testaments. His warm-hearted and accurate expositions are beautiful testimonies of a son who was walking in his father’s footsteps. George Whitefield and Charles Spurgeon used Matthew Henry’s commentaries, recommending them faithfully. One commentator says, “Whitefield read it through four times, the last time on his knees.” Spurgeon said, “Every minister ought to read it entirely and carefully through once at least.” (Charles Spurgeon, Commenting and Commentaries, p. 3.).

I say Amen! And… what a blessing it would be to have more expository fathers in our own generation stepping up to the plate. And how helpful it would be if there were more pastors rising up to encourage it.

To sign up for an expository preaching conference with this dual purpose, go here, http://www.visionforumministries.org/events/ucf/010/

Why the term "Expository Fathers"?

It may sound strange to our ears for we normally think of this as the exclusive territory of preachers. I use this term, simply because scripture is clear that a father’s primary purpose in family life is to teach his children the glory of the gospel - in all it's radiance. Fathers are given a prominent teaching role that is commanded by God to be engaged every day of the week and all throughout the day. In this sense, he has an expository role. It is the duty of fathers to exult in God and exposit His words, glorify His nature, proclaim His grace and explain His callings.

Here is the biblical case:

Genesis 18:19
For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.

Deut 6 :6-7
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

Prov 1:8-9
My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother; For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck.

Psalm 78 :1-4
Give ear, O my people, to my law; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.

Ephesians 6:4
Bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Matthew 28:19-20
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations… teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…

To become a better expositor in your home, consider this: http://www.visionforumministries.org/issues/uniting_church_and_family/expository_preaching_the_need.xml

April 11, 2007

Expository Preachers and Expository Fathers

A Book for Fathers and Sons

Steven J. Lawson has done this generation of young men a tremendous favor, for not only giving us an inspiring look into the life of John Calvin, but by capsulizing 32 marks of the expository genius that Calvin displays. I hope that fathers and sons read this book out loud together to prepare themselves for a lifetime of handling accurately the word of truth both in the church and the home.


My son and I are reading Calvin's Institutes this year - slowly - and it is one of the most wonderful devotional readings we have ever had - outside the Bible itself.

We need expository preachers today. But we must not stop there, for we also need expository fathers who explain scripture daily in their homes, and who boldly throw themselves upon the testimony of scripture for every area of life - as Calvin did in Geneva - no matter what the prevailing opinions might be.

April 10, 2007

Expository Preaching Conference April 27-28

Why an expository preaching conference?

Simply, to raise up a new generation of Expository Preachers and Expository Fathers. Both are desperately needed today.

For more information: http://www.visionforumministries.org/events/ucf/010/

I believe that for the reformation of the church to occur three things must happen.

First scripture must take center stage of church life and church leaders become fiercely thorough and expository in their teaching.

Second, fathers become bible expositors, taking on the mantle of prophet, priest and king as heads of their households delivering the whole counsel of God.

Third, churches need to be planted that are free from many of the modern secular encumbrances that are plaguing the church today.

The Divine Genius of John Calvin's Geneva
We need a reformation like the one that took place in Geneva in the sixteenth century. Four powerful things happened in Geneva that shook the world and beautified the church. First, fifteen families with an unusual passion for the recovery of the Word of Christ, moved to Geneva and started a little church. These church planters included the families of John Foxe (author of Foxes Book of Martyrs, Samuel Rutherford, (author of Lex Rex), John Knox, John Calvin and several other devoted bible scholars. Second they held fiercely to the practice of expository preaching as John Calvn faithfull handled all of scripture. Third, during a two year super abounding labor of love, they translated the entire Bible into English (The Geneva Bible) and put hundreds of thousands of them in the hands of the common man. Fourth, used they scripture to reform every area of life – particularly family life according to the patterns and commands of scripture. People moved there in droves to get in on the action.

In the midst of this, they resurrected the biblical doctrine of the family. They particularly focused on reforming fatherhood making them the heads of their households and charging them to become the heralds of the whole counsel of God in their households, in the way that Deuteronomy 6 explains.

Steve Lawson expresses the need in this way,

“The greatest seasons of church history – those eras of widespread reformation and great awakening – have been those epochs in which God-fearing men took the inspired Word and unashamedy preached it in the power of the Holy Spirit. As the pulpit goes, so goes the church. Thus, only a reformed pulpit will ultimately lead to a reformed church. In this hour, pastors must see their pulpits again marked by sequential exposition, doctrinal clarity, and a sense of gravity regarding eternal matters. This in my estimation is the need of the hour.”
The Expository Genius of John Calvin, Steven J Lawson, Reformation Trust, a division of Ligonier Ministries, 2007, p4

I couldn’t agree more!

Except, I would add one more thing. Expository fathers are the only thing that can make any reformation sustain for generations. An expository father is one who teaches daily, when he sits in his house, when he walks by the way, when he lies down when he rises up. We believe that reformed a fatherhood will insure the continuation of a reformation from one generation to the next. Richard Baxter touched on this issue with these words,

“You are not likely to see any general reformation, till you procure a family reformation. Some little religion there may be, here and there; but while it is confined to single persons, and is not promoted in families, it will not prosper, nor promise much future increase.”

This is the second year the NCFIC has offered an expository preaching conference. Last year, I was heartened that several of the conferees were fathers who simply wanted to do a better job of explaining scripture to their families during family worship... I believe that this is how the best preachers cut their teeth.

We are delighted to be able to invite you to participate in this important workshop, on one of the most important subjects before the church today.

Jeremiah on the Emptiness of Worldliness

Thus says the LORD, "What injustice did your fathers find in Me, that they went far from Me and walked after emptiness and became empty?" Jeremiah 2:5

Shocking reality: walking after emptiness makes a person empty.

April 03, 2007

Praying for Daughters Near and Far

Here is how I am organizing my prayer for the marriages of daughters.

First, for the young ladies in our church, Hope Baptist.

Second, for young ladies I am aware of in our community and around the country.

Third, for young ladies who may be struggling or are wayward.

April 02, 2007

Prayer and Fasting for the Marriages of Our Daughters

Tomorrow (April 3) many from all around the nation will be fasting for our daughters. I say 'our' because we are all brothers and sisters in His great family. All of the daughters of Zion are our sisters and daughters in a spiritual sense and we are connected to them for all eternity. I trust that these prayers will be a source of tenderness and love toward these daughters.

So now we will pray for them that God would bless them mightily by providing marriages for them for the glory of Jesus Christ.

It is a precious generation of daughters.

Here are some thoughts for your consideration:

First, begin with a time of confession and repentence.

Second, pray for specific young ladies by name. In this way you can labor before God on their behalf.

Third, remember that God often performs miracles many miles away from the places prayers are given.

Who knows how Almighty God might bless them.

Scott Brown