Gospel Preaching 20

Romans 1:9 For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you,

I Corinthians 2:2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

Some pastors and preachers are lazy and no good. They rely on these and other good books to get a sermon out of them. They do not pray; they do not study; they do not read; they do not search the Scripture. It is just as if there were no need to read the Bible for this purpose. They use such books as offer them homiletical helps in order to earn their yearly living; they are nothing but parrots and jackdaws, which learn to repeat without understanding, though our purpose and the purpose of these theologians is to direct preachers to Scripture with such books and exhort them to plan to defend our Christian faith after our death, against the devil, the world, and the flesh. (Martin Luther)

At issue here are some vitally important points regarding Gospel preaching. A man cannot really preach the Gospel of Christ alone and grace alone if all he does is to read books to figure out a sermon in order to have a sermon because he is supposed to do so on Sundays. A man cannot really preach if he does not search the Scriptures for his sermons, but even more to instruct his own heart with prayer and meditation. A man cannot really preach the Gospel from a heart that does not pray. When a man can come up with a sermon quite without prayer and the Bible, that is a sermon that is not from God and is not Gospel preaching.

Underlying the statements of Luther are some basic thoughts or presuppositions about preaching. Gospel preaching is not the same thing as giving a lecture on a topic or a text of Scripture (or something else) where the intent is simply and only to disseminate some information. Of course even if the intent is to disseminate information that is preferable to those who simply want to say some good things in order to keep their jobs. They view “preaching” as something they are supposed to do so that they can get paid. But of course that is not limited to liberals and those who obtain a living and some honor among men because they are ministers, but this is true of conservative as well. It may not be at the level where the man thinks about these things in this way, but it is his primary motivation whether he admits it or not or even recognizes it or not.

A Gospel preacher must be a man who loves the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Gospel of grace alone from the heart and has experienced it. Not only must this man have experienced the Gospel at some point in the distance past, he should have fed upon Christ and His Gospel of grace alone that very week in preparation of the heart in order to preach. It is only the heart that Christ has prepared though the means of grace (prayer and Scripture) that the soul of the man will have grace to preach Christ and grace with more than intellectual knowledge. Only the man that has tasted of Christ and free-grace will be able to preach Christ and free-grace. The man who knows about Christ can speak about Christ, but the man who has tasted Christ can speak of the taste and how the affections and desires of the soul are moved by Him.

It takes a true Gospel of Christ alone and grace alone to feed the souls of spiritual people. Natural men can give information, but only spiritual men can preach in a spiritual manner where spiritual men can feed upon Christ and the grace of the Gospel. Only men who have true faith can speak in such a way to build faith. Only those who have tasted of their inability to keep the law and have been slain by the law can preach of what it means and what it feels like to be slain by the law. Men who use their brain alone can speak with great information about Christ, but men who have tasted of Christ can speak of spiritual things to the hearts of others.

Gospel preaching requires a man who can speak from a heart that is prepared and taught of God. When this is the case, it is in a very real way Christ Himself speaking through the man to His people or the people. This is to say that the man who is going to be a Gospel preacher must be a man that spends time with God in prayer and prayerfully studying His word in order to become clay that is formed as God pleases to speak His words.

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