Focus of worship enhanced through expository preaching, Shaddix says

Preaching the Word of God is foundational to corporate worship, Jim Shaddix, senior pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Denver, Colo., said during chapel at Southwestern Seminary, March 6.

“Pastor, you are the lead worship leader in your church,” he said. “You are responsible for pointing people to the glory of God in high definition, and there is no occasion for musical worship outside God’s revelation of Himself.”

Shaddix was one of the guest speakers at Southwestern Seminary’s third annual Expository Preaching Workshop, March 5-6. A two-time graduate of Southwestern Seminary, he has traveled throughout the United States and Canada to speak at evangelism conferences, revivals, youth conferences and conventions. For many years he was an associate professor of preaching and dean of chapel at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Shaddix has published several writings, including his books The Passion Driven Sermon and Power in the Pulpit, which he co-authored with Jerry Vines. Shaddix’s ministry, Hope for Today, uses media technology to communicate hope, draw people to Christ and connect them with a church.

“The workshops this year were thoroughly practical, full of how-to advice on such subjects as preaching a parable, preaching an Old Testament narrative, and using video clips in the sermon,” said David Allen, dean of the School of Theology and one of the organizers and presenters at the workshop. “Dr. Shaddix did a marvelous job showing us how to preach from the Psalms. He has been a professor of preaching and is currently a pastor of one of Colorado's largest churches: This gives him an insight into preaching which the men at the workshop especially appreciated.”

More than 200 people attended the Expository Preaching Workshop to learn from Shaddix and the other preachers who rounded out the workshop faculty: Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson; David Allen, dean of the seminary’s School of Theology; Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.; and Eric Redmond, a Southwestern trustee and senior pastor of Temple Hills Baptist Church in Temple Hills, Md. Stephen Smith and Calvin Pearson, professors of preaching and pastoral ministry at the seminary, also contributed to the workshop.

Each year, the workshop show preachers and preaching students how to develop and deliver expository, Scripture-based sermons. This year the focus was on passages of the Bible that are challenging to handle. Lectures included “Preaching on the Parables” and “Preaching Old Testament Narratives.” Shaddix, who presented a lecture titled “Exposing Christ in the Psalms,” then exemplified the principles he taught through his chapel sermon.

“I bought one of those high definition TVs,” Shaddix said in the introduction to his chapel sermon. After a week of thinking that he was seeing a better, higher-resolution image than he would on a regular television, Shaddix was astonished when someone told him he needed to purchase a special tuner to access the high-definition broadcasts.

“I had been receiving a low-resolution image on a high-definition television,” he said. “Where do you watch the glory of God in high definition? You understand that there are millions of people thinking that they are looking at the majesty and glory of God in high definition when all the time they are just seeing low-definition stuff because they don’t have the right receiver … That is not something to take lightly, because God is very serious about people seeing His glory in the clearest way possible.”

Psalm 19 teaches believers how to see God’s glory in high definition, Shaddix said. I begins by showing how God’s glory is revealed through material creation. However, Shaddix was quick to point out that believers cannot look only at the material creation if they desire to see God’s glory in high definition.

“When we come to look at the glory of God in high definition, we look at the Lord Jesus Christ,” Shaddix said. In the last verse of Psalm 19, the Psalmist prays to his Rock and Redeemer. Christ, Shaddix said, is that Rock and Redeemer.

The Psalmist emphasized that a high-definition image of God’s glory may be viewed through the written word of God, Shaddix said. God wanted to display His high definition glory in Jesus Christ. The word of God is about Christ Jesus, a fact that Jesus himself points out in the Gospels. “God wanted to give us an objective way to see and respond to His glory,” Shaddix said.

Finally, Shaddix concluded that preaching is a vital part of corporate worship. Preaching gives people a vision of God’s glory to which they can respond. God displayed His glory through Scripture because He wanted people to understand His redemptive work in history.

Dean Allen said that plans are underway for the 2008 workshop which is expected to be held about the same time next year. Archived Flash Media and MP3 recordings of Shaddix’s chapel message can be viewed, listened to or downloaded through the seminary’s Web site, www.swbts.edu.

Established 1908 Fort Worth, Texas