Nature of True Preaching 7

I would have you notice, moreover, that theology itself, in certain of its aspects, has shared in the pessimistic reaction. There are those, for example, whose reflections on the contemporary scent have landed them in hopeless dualism. The world, as they see it, is the battleground where dark demonic forces wage war unceasingly with the hosts of heaven. By this conflict God Himself is limited, thwarted in His purposes, constrained to strive and struggle indecisively for the realization of His holy will. It is quite oblivious of the repeated trumpet note of the New Testament—that at the cross once for all Christ raided the dark empire and vanquished the demons, and led captivity captive.          (James Stewart, Heralds of God)

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

I visited a local congregation in another city this past Lord’s Day. One of the reasons I attended this particular place is that it advertises (found this by Google) itself as Reformed. There is no real need to go into details about what it means to be Reformed, but after tasting this for one Sunday I did not find any flavor of Reformed in it. There was also little (at best) to nothing of Christ and His cross and His Gospel in it either. There was nothing of the note of the New Testament (as Stewart says above) that at the cross Christ has won the battle and the war. There was nothing of the cross and there was nothing of grace. It was all about how men were to be faithful.

Are men to be faithful? Well, of course they are. But can they be faithful simply by listening to stories of how the pastor was faithful? Can they learn about how they cannot be faithful apart from grace simply by listening to the pastor tell them that they need to make a decision to be faithful? While the preacher was not an example of true preaching, he did serve as an example of the great need for there to be true preaching and the importance of why there needs to be true preaching.

For there to be true preaching the glory of God in Christ needs to be the focus and not the preacher. I learned more about the preacher this past Sunday than I did anything else. In fact, I heard more about the preacher than anything else this past Sunday. He spent the majority of His time speaking of how he was faithful rather than the faithfulness of Christ. He spent his time talking about his experiences (as interpreted by him) rather than the Scriptures and of the glories of God in the face of Christ. The preacher cannot be the focus of the sermon in any way or it is not true preaching. Jesus Christ is the light of men and not the preacher.

I went to this congregation with the longing of hearing about the true glories of God and how they are demonstrated in and by Christ. The whole world was created through Christ and for Christ, so one would think that going with a desire to hear of Christ would be appropriate and biblical. I guess it should suffice to set out a series of points regarding preaching in light of the fact that Christ has vanquished the enemy at the cross.

1. Preaching should focus on Christ and His glory and not the preacher himself.
2. Preaching should set forth the victory of Christ and not the victories of the preacher.
3. Preaching should be God-centered and not centered on the preacher.
4. Preaching should always have Christ and His cross in view as that is all we have to boast in.
5. Preaching should deal with the Scriptures as interpreted by the truth of Christ, not the experiences of the preacher.
6. Preaching should glory in the Gospel and how it shows Christ as our hope rather than our hope being faithfulness or any other fruit that comes by grace alone.
7. Preaching should look to the faithfulness of Christ as our hope of faithfulness.
8. Preaching should empty sinners of hope in themselves and not put obedience on them apart from grace to do it.

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