Preaching tips that will change lives

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by gb93433, Feb 16, 2006.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    http://www.pastors.com/RWMT/default.asp?id=246&artid=4552&expand=1

    Issue #246
    2/15/2006

    Preaching tips that will change lives
    by Rick Warren

    I’ll say it over and over: The purpose of preaching is obedience. Every preacher in the New Testament – including Jesus – emphasized conduct, behavioral change, and obedience. You only really believe the parts of the Bible that you obey. People say, “I believe in tithing.” But do they tithe? No? Then they don’t believe in it.

    That is why you should always preach for response, aiming for people to act on what is said. John did this: “The world and its desires pass away but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17, NIV) And in 1 John 2:3 (NIV), “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.”

    After about 30 years of preaching, here are nine things I’ve learned about preaching for life change:

    1. All behavior is based on a belief
    If you get divorced, it’s because you believe that disobeying God will cause you less pain than staying in your marriage. It’s a lie, but you believe it. When somebody comes to you and says, “I'm leaving my husband, and I'm going to marry this other man because I believe God wants me to be happy.” They just told you the belief behind their behavior. It’s wrong, but they believe it.

    2. Behind every sin is a lie I believe
    At the moment you sin, you’re doing what you think is the best thing for you. You say, “I know God says to do that, but I'm going to do this.” What are you doing? You believe a lie. Behind every sin is a lie. Start looking for the lies behind why people in your church act the way they do. When you start dealing with those, you’ll start seeing change.

    Titus 3:3 (NIV) declares, “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.” When you live in sin, you’re living in deception and believing a lie.

    When you look at your congregation, you don’t see the lies they believe, but you do see their behavior. You know they’re unfaithful; you know they’re uncommitted; you know all these things. The tough part is figuring out the lie behind the behavior. The wiser you get in ministry, the quicker you’ll start seeing the lies. You’ll grow and mature in ministry and become more discerning, because you’ll start seeing patterns over and over.

    3. Change always starts in the mind
    You’ve got to start with the belief – the lie – behind the behavior. Romans 12:2 (NIV) commands, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act. If you want to change the way you act, you must determine the way you think. You can’t start with the action. You’ve got to start with the thought.

    4. To help people change, we must change their beliefs first
    Jesus said, “You will know the truth and it will set you free.” (John 8:32 NIV) Why? Because to help people change, you’ve got to help them see the lie they’re basing their behavior on. That’s why when you know the truth, it sets you free.

    5. Trying to change people’s behavior without changing their belief is a waste of time
    If you ask a person to change before his mind is renewed, it won’t work. He’s got to internalize God’s Word first.

    For example: Your belief patterns are in your mind. Every time you think about a belief, it creates an electrical impulse across your brain. Every time you have that thought again, it creates a deeper rut.

    If you want to see change in your church, you must help people get out of their ruts and change their autopilot. For instance: Let’s say I go out and buy a speedboat with an autopilot feature on it. I set the speedboat to go north on autopilot, so the boat goes north automatically. I don’t even have my hands on the wheel. If I want to turn the boat around, I could manually grab the steering wheel and by sheer will power and force, turn it around. I can force it to go south, but the whole time I'm under tension because I'm going against the natural inclination of the boat. Pretty soon I get tired and let go of the steering wheel, and it automatically turns around and goes back to the way it’s programmed.

    This is true in life. When people have learned something over and over, being taught by the world’s way of thinking, they’re programmed to go that way. What if a man is programmed to pick up a cigarette every time he’s under tension? But one day he thinks, “This is killing me! I'm going to get cancer.” So he grabs the steering wheel and turns it around forcibly, throws the pack away and says, “I am going to quit!”

    He makes it a week without a cigarette, a week and a half, two weeks … , but the whole time he’s under tension because he hasn’t changed the programming in his mind. Eventually, he’s going to let go and pick up a cigarette again.

    If you want to change people radically and permanently, you have to do it the New Testament way. You have to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Just telling people, “You need to stop smoking … You need to stop doing this … You need to stop doing that …” isn’t going to work. You’ve got to help them change their belief pattern.

    6. The biblical term for “changing your mind” is “repentance”
    What do most people think of when I say the word “repent”? They think of a guy on the street corner with a sandwich sign saying, “Turn or burn. You’re going to die and fry while we go to the sky.” They think of some kook.

    But the word “repentance” is a wonderful word – metanoia – which means in Greek “to change your mind.” Repentance is just changing the way we think about something by accepting the way God thinks about it. That’s all repentance is. The new words for repentance are "paradigm shift."

    Pastors, we are in the paradigm-shifting business. We are in the repentance business. We are about changing peoples’ minds at the deepest level – the level of belief and values. But let me clarify this with the next point.

    7. You don’t change people’s minds, the applied Word of God does
    1 Corinthians 2:13 (NLT) helps us keep this in focus: “We speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.” In real preaching, God is at work in the speaker.

    2 Samuel 23:2 (NIV) says, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me. His word was on my tongue.”

    Zechariah 4:6 (NIV) says, “‘Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

    So keep in mind: You don’t change people’s minds, the applied Word of God does.

    8. Changing the way I act is the fruit of repentance
    Technically, repentance is not behavioral change. Behavior change is the result of repentance. Repentance does not mean forsaking your sin. Repentance simply means to change your mind. John the Baptist said in Matthew 3:8 (NIV), “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” In other words, “OK, you’ve changed your mind about God, about life, about sin, about yourself — now let’s see some fruit as a result of it.”

    9. The deepest kind of preaching is preaching for repentance
    Because life change happens only after you change somebody’s thinking, then preaching for repentance is preaching for life change. It is the deepest kind of preaching you can preach.

    Every week I try to communicate God’s Word in such a way that it changes the way people think. The word “repentance” has taken on such a negative image, that I rarely use the word. But I preach it every single week.

    Repentance is the central message of the New Testament. What did the New Testament preachers preach on?

    * John the Baptist: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matt. 3:2 NIV)
    * Jesus: “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mark 1:15 NIV)
    * What did Jesus tell his disciples to preach? “So they went off and preached repentance.” (Mark 6:12 NAB)
    * What did Peter preach at Pentecost? “Repent and be baptized everyone of you.” (Acts 2:38 NAB)
    * What did John preach in Revelation? Repent.

    I believe that one of the great weaknesses of preaching today is that there are a lot of folks who are afraid to stand on the Word of God and humbly but forcefully challenge the will of people.

    Rick Warren
    I believe that one of the great weaknesses of preaching today is that there are a lot of folks who are afraid to stand on the Word of God and humbly but forcefully challenge the will of people. It takes courage to do that, because they may reject you. They may reject your message; they may get mad at you and talk about you behind your back.

    And because so many pastors have been unwilling to challenge people and cause a change in belief resulting in behavior change, our nation is falling apart. Proverbs 29:18 (NCV) warns, “Where there is no word from God, people are uncontrolled.”

    P.T. Forsythe says, “What the world is looking for is an authoritative Gospel spoken through a humble personality.” An authoritative Gospel spoken not as a hammer, but with humility.

    So now, I have a personal challenge for you – life application. Are you going to use the Bible the way it was intended or not? Will you repent of preaching in ways that were not focused on application that could change people’s character and conduct?

    Until next time,

    Copyright 2006 Pastors.com, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
     
  2. tinytim

    tinytim
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    And who said RW was against Repentance?

    Very good article.
    Thanks
     
  3. Brice

    Brice
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    Don't worry no one will comment on this one, they have their hands full bashing him on another thread.. [​IMG]
     
  4. Plain Old Bill

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    Thanks for the article and the site.
     
  5. gb93433

    gb93433
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    I thought the same thing.
     
  6. R.D.

    R.D.
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    WOW! This doesn't sound like the same person that gets slammed on this board nearly every day.
     
  7. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Those are very good words from Rick. I think he could have simplified it quite a bit, though.

    1. Preach the Word of God.
    2. Pray for the congregation.
    3. Love the congregation as Christ does.
    4. Rely on the power of God to convict the Church through his spirit through the preaching of the Word of God instead of the wisdom of man.

    This is some of the best writing I have seen from Rick Warren in a long time and is certainly different from his normal emphasis of trying to make the lost at ease in Zion. Perhaps his message is changing.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  8. Joseph_Botwinick

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    And you seem to have your hands full bashing them on this thread with a very unwarranted generalization...although, I don't think it is quite as funny as you seem to think it is.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  9. standingfirminChrist

    standingfirminChrist
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    I pray that Rick's message does change. The message that people can go to heaven outside of knowing Christ is heresy.

    Galatians 1:8-9 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

    Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
     
  10. Joseph_Botwinick

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    SF,

    I have read Rick and have seen some problems with his teaching. But I think I have missed that part. Where did Rick say that?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  11. standingfirminChrist

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    Joseph, on his Saddleback Church web site
     
  12. standingfirminChrist

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    originally posted by eloidalmanutha
     
  13. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Ok...here is what I found:

    Salvation

    It doesn't seem to be saying what you said it does. Can you help me out here?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  14. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
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  15. Joseph_Botwinick

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    </font>[/QUOTE]Ok. Didn't see that. Two things:

    1. What is your interpretation of the passage in Romans 1:19-23?

    and

    2. The reason we do missions and evangelism is because God told us to and we are to be obedient to his Word if, as Rick Warren pointed out, we are truly believing in his Word. This is the only reason we, as Christians, should need.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  16. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
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    Joseph, I think it is pretty clear that SFIC is basing his words on the commentary by that website instead of the words and writing of Rick Warren.

    Like others, I have some problems with Warren and his methodology. However, I think he has made it clear He believes in salvation by faith in Christ alone.
     
  17. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Ditto...although, I think I might have some problems with his theological base for his methodology as well. But, I think he is fairly clear that he believes his salvation is through Christ alone. I am open to listen, however, to SFIC's interpretation of Romans 1.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  18. standingfirminChrist

    standingfirminChrist
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    Actually SBC,

    These are letters from Rick's pastors to people asking about his church, membership, and beliefs. It is not from other people, else Rick would have refuted it, being his own church website. Rick is the Senior Pastor, he would not allow heresy to be posted unless he agreed with it.
     
  19. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Welcome back to the discussion, SFIC. What is your interpretation of the Romans 1 passage?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  20. standingfirminChrist

    standingfirminChrist
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