Tuesday, October 2, 2018

THE SERIOUSNESS of Preaching
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church, St Louis, MO

No other event comes with such weightiness than the preaching of the Word of God. In a day where seriousness lacks in the pulpits what can be done? What must preachers remember? What must all pastors bear in mind? It is my persuasion that we must recover a great seriousness in the proclamation of the Word of Almighty God.

Preaching is Serious because of ONE WE REPRESENT.
The magnificent transcendence of God catapults biblical preaching in a category that soars high above every other earthly duty. This does not minimize the importance of nor take away the blessings of earthly employments and tasks, but rather it serves to heighten the unsurpassed grandeur of God Almighty and the world-shaking power of His voice that thunders forth through the faithful exposition of His Word. When a man stands to preach the Bible, he represents God. He stands as the mouthpiece for God to herald divine Truths. A preacher is a representative; or, an ambassador. He represents another. He has come on mission from another Person. He comes bearing good news — indeed, divine news. He is an envoy sent from God with good news of a great Savior for guilty sinners freely available to all. The preacher represents God as he takes the Word of God and the truth of Scripture and lays it before the gathered congregation weekly. To represent God is to represent the highest dignitary that exists. To represent God is to represent supreme majesty, transcendent glory, the fullness of Truth, and the judge of all mankind. This is no trivial matter. Herein lies the seriousness of preaching.  The preacher must be serious because of the Almighty One that he represents as he heralds.

Preaching is Serious because of the RESPONSIBILITY WE BEAR.
No wonder one preacher of old ran away when men called him to be their pastor and he exlciamed: “I cannot stand in that awful place” (referring to the pulpit)! O that men would regain such a lofty responsibility and a holy understanding of standing behind the “sacred desk” and saying to people: thus says the LORD. There is a regal responsibility tasked to every preacher. That responsibility is to stand as a messenger from the sovereign King to speak forth His Word faithfully, clearly and powerfully so that Christ may be exalted in the saving of His people. To preach is not to entertain. To preach is not to share. To preach is not to give thoughts or ideas or polls or stories. Nor does preaching consists in the data dumping of commentary-like messages. To preach is to speak forth what God has revealed in Scripture with power, with clarity, with fidelity, and with authority so that the Spirit of God may point men to Jesus Christ and both save and sanctify His elect to the glory of God Almighty. The preacher bears the responsibility of being the very mouthpiece of God. In so far as the minister of the gospel speaks biblical truth faithfully from the text, one can say that the preacher’s word is God’s word. Thus, God speaks through the preacher. What a responsibility! What a duty! What a heavy burden and a glorious calling to be a minister.

Preaching is Serious because of the NEARNESS OF DEATH.
There once was a preacher who spent decades pastoring a church. He loved people but he acknowledged he was not the best student, nor the best preacher. He would often tell stories in the pulpit and one of his foremost passions was to be likable by people and win the popularity of his congregation so they would invite friends to church, feel loved and welcomed there and not feel condemned or judged. But later on his death bed, the man humbly repented with great tears of sorrow that he wasted those years of ministry as he did not urgently call men and women to repentance and submission to Christ as King. He neglected the imminency of death. How many funerals he performed and yet how uncertain he now is of their eternal destiny because he entertained them with stories but he did not press Christ upon the souls of sinful men. O may the nearness of death, the sureness of death, the swiftness of death, and even the finality of death constrain men of God to stand up and preach Christ and call for a verdict — immediately! Nothing in all the world could be more serious than hearing a sermon. Death is coming. Sermons will prepare men for heaven or harden men for judgment. Dreadful is the state to go loaded with many sermons to hell. Death is coming. Let preachers stand with sobriety and seriousness and proclaim the matter of eternal life and death — repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ! Be earnest! Be serious! Don’t trifle.

Preaching is Serious because of the URGENCY OF THE GOSPEL.
A man once told a story of coming out of his office building in a downtown area where he looked across the street and saw a small work-building on fire and saw the flames dancing out of the windows and the smoke whistling upward like smoke of a furnace. Immediately he ran to the side windows on the ground level and screamed through the crackles of the flames for men and women to “GET OUT” and “RUN FOR THE DOORS” and he even chanted: “IS ANYONE THERE?” He pleaded, he screamed, he urged, he begged, he did all that he could to warn men to get out for the safety of their own lives. O how much more serious must the minister of the gospel be with eternal life and eternal death. Men preach not for the safety of one’s physical life but for the salvation of one’s immortal soul. Presidential addresses can be urgent. An ultimatum can be urgent. A peace agreement in war can be urgent. But nothing in the world can compare with the urgency of preaching the Word of God to warn sinners — young and old, church members or worldlings alike — of the tormenting fires of hell and of the sweet delights of heaven. Don’t stand to perform when you preach. Rather than being clever and funny on Sundays, men of God must stand with the Bible open and he must speak forth the truths of Scripture because the gospel of Christ crucified, atonement accomplished, propitiation won, repentance demanded and obedience required is urgent! The most serious moment in a person’s life consists in the hearing of the word preached! Let us come with this perspective as we hear from God through His chosen mouthpiece as he expounds divine Truth and may we humbly receive it, with sober hearts and obedient resolutions.

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