Alrighty then. So you have the passage in front of you, properly exegeted. What does the burden look like specifically? I gave one example, I thought I would give a few more examples.
- So when you preach from John’s Gospel. John has a burden and point and big picture he is after. He tells us in John 20:30-31, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” So every single passage is pregnant with purpose, and that purpose is to demonstrate that this man, Jesus, is the Christ the Son of God, so that you might believe and believing you might have eternal life. While I absolutely believe in the application of this book for believers, I whole heartedly believe John’s inspired purpose is the preaching of the gospel to the lost for their salvation. So no passage can be interpreted outside of that huge burden and intention. Which makes arguments against John 6 being applicable to our day laughable (but I digress).
- 1 John 5:13 tells us that, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know you have eternal life.” Pastorally speaking there are those who can live with doubt that they have eternal life. (I think 2 Peter suggests this very thing as well when Peter says, “For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed form his former sins.”) So when you go to preach from 1 John, this burden for the people to KNOW that they have eternal life, weighs in to every single sermon. While there is all sorts of good theology taught in this small book, that theology serves the pastoral purpose of helping those believers who are struggling with knowing that they have eternal life. The flip side is this burden is also aimed at those who believe that they have eternal life, but have nothing at all in their lives to commend them.
- Finally example from the Old Testament. Now here this is a little more tricky for a lot of pastors. Let’s take the book of Exodus. Now Moses wrote this book to God’s people. He wrote this books it seems for the purpose of reminding God’s people year after year, of the redemption that God had accomplished and the worship that God demands. Broadly speaking I think the themes of redemption and worship are the center of this book. So you would expect from what I have said, that perhaps the burden of this book is for us to see the redemption with which God has redeemed us and learn the worship that God demands of us. And, you would be right. However the trick, I would say here is that we are not Israel, we are the church, and it is clear that the Old Testament is clearly all about Christ and the redemption he has made for his people. So while the burden in the sermon is on the purposes of Moses, those purposes have to be finally made clear by the inspired New Testament authors who show us how these things were pointing forward to Christ his redemption and his worship. So even here, we are after that burden of the pastor who wrote these books so form up the points and message of our sermons.
So I hope this is helpful to give a little more detail with what I am talking about. Next time I will deal with how to form my sermons from this information and how at times I violate these things as well.