Temple Baptist Church - 8-27-2014
Titus 1:3; Nehemiah 8:4
A. As the Apostle Paul instructed young Titus concerning the setting “in order the things that are wanting,” the first order of business is the pulpit. Paul mentions the “preaching” of God’s Word in verse three and refers to it as a commitment and commandment.
1 Corinthians 9:16-17 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! (17) For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation (stewardship) of the gospel is committed unto me.
Colossians 1:25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
B. The pulpit is one of if not the most important parts of the local church. It is there that God’s Word is taught and preached. If the pulpit is not right, then the church has no biblical foundation to build upon for the local church is the pillar and ground of the truth.
C. The actual word “pulpit” is found only one time and that mention is in Nehemiah 8:4. It means a tower or an elevated place. We would call it a rostrum in our day and still most often called it the pulpit. Because it is the Only Mention on the subject, it is important that we take a few minutes and look at the context surrounding the word.
1. The Importance of Preaching – vs 1 “And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate.” The People of Gathering – All the people gathered themselves together as one man. All the people, not a few. Times have certainly changed. Gathered … together … one man. Complete unity of purpose. The people of God gather at the local church and should do so with purpose and unity. The Place of Gathering – before the water gate. Water in the bible is a beautiful type of the cleansing agent of the Word of God. Ephesians 5 speaks of the washing of water by the word. The water gate was the only gate that did not need to be repaired because God’s Word needs no “fixing up!”
2. The Person of Preaching – vs 1-2 “And they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel. (2) And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.” The Old Testament Priest and Scribeand the New Testament Preacher. God has given to the local the pastor-teacher for the purpose of leading, guiding, teaching, and preaching God’s Word.
3. The Interval of Preaching – vs 3 “And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.” From approximately 6 AM until noon or 6 hours! They now only remained under the reading of the Word of God for 6 hours, they were all attentive! This shows a sincere desire, a hungering for the Word of God.
4. The Place of Preaching – vs 4 “And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose.” It was an elevated place for visibility and ease of hearing, not for elevating the man who preached. I have often heard it called the “sacred desk.” It is for the purpose of reading the Word of God while giving the people the rightly dividing and understanding. It is not a place of opinion but a place of truth.
5. The Unity of Preaching – vs 4 “and beside him stood … on his right hand; and on his left hand.” No, I am not going to pronounce the names of these 13 men. I will let you do that but I did want to mention that these men stood with the man of God as he brought the Word of God to the people. The pastor needs to have the men of the church standing with him.
6. The Respect of Preaching – vs 5 “And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up.” At times we stand when the reading of God’s Word is being done. Many preachers also ask God’s people to stand in reverence to the reading of it but do not ask the people to stand during the preaching as the bible is often read then too. But there needs to be a holy respect for the work of the pulpit. So many today lightly esteem God’s Word.
7. The Result of Preaching – vs 6 “And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.” The magnification of the Word of God and the glorification of the Son of God.
8. The Holiness of Preaching – vs 9 “This day is holy unto the LORD your God.” Normally, we associate preaching with the Lord’s Day though we do have Wednesday night and revival night preaching. It is holy because it is all about God and His Word. Notice that it is not holy unto us but holy unto the LORD your God! He set aside the time and place where His name is glorified and His Word magnified.
9. The Happiness of Preaching – vs 8, 10, 12 “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading … (10) the joy of the LORD is your strength … (11) And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.” What a thrill and blessing it has been down through these years to sit at the feet of my pastors and hear the Word of God with understanding!
10. The Faithfulness to Preaching – vs 13 “And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law.” They all came back!