The ministry of the Word through preaching in the local church is a tremendous means of grace for God’s covenant people. I have had the opportunity to preach on two Sunday nights in my local church and I can attest to the unique and incomparable joy that filled my heart during the sermon. I am eager to continue to grow as a preacher for the sake of God’s glory in his people. It is through the ministry of the Word that a pastor shepherds the flock of God. The church of God is a pillar and buttress of truth (1 Tim. 3:15). And this is forged through the preaching of the Word. There is great power in gospel-centered, Christo-centric preaching because the gospel is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). Suffice it to say, in the words of the doctor, D. Martyn Lloyd Jones: “The primary task of the Church and of the Christian minister is the preaching of the Word of God” (Preaching and Preachers, 27).
Preaching matters. But not just any kind of preaching will do. Only gospel-centered, Christo-centric, expository preaching glorifies God in the ministry of his Word, since it is through this kind of Christ-exalting, Scripture-saturated preaching that exposes what God has said. God has spoken and it is the task of the preacher to be nothing more than his microphone. A microphone magnifies the voice of the speaker. So, the preacher is to magnify what the Speaker has already spoken. The content of a preacher’s sermon must be the content of the text that is being preached. God has graciously revealed himself through the written word and he has a message for his people that must be heralded. Bryan Chappell has written, “The goal of a preacher is to get out of the way of the message.” Too often, preachers stand directly in the path of vision between the hearers and the message through anecdotes, stories, videos, moralistic Deistic thoughts, etc. However, Paul exhorted young Timothy to “Preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:2). Let’s do that!
I pray this serves as a reminder and encouragement to pastors and preachers of the Word of God. Though it is tempting to doubt the power of the Word of God in a postmodern culture, step into the pulpit with the assurance that God’s Word will never return to him empty (Isa. 55:11). God’s sovereignty over the ministry of his Word is a preacher’s confidence and assurance. There is no special formula or chant to see droves of people come to Christ. There is only the power of God in the gospel through the ministry of the Word. When you step into the pulpit, or on the stage, or under the shade tree in Africa, trust the Word of God to do the work of God (HT: Kevin DeYoung). And be content with the results and timing of the Lord of heaven and earth. The glory for transformed lives through the gospel belongs solely to God who bestows his sovereign grace on whom he wills. So, pastors and preachers, preach the Word…and trust it.