Just some fairly random thoughts on what I’d like to see more of in my own preaching and the preaching of others…
- Thou shalt worship Christ from the pulpit. The priestly task of declaring the gospel of God (Rom 15:16) entaileth a twofold direction to the sermon. The preacher not only standeth before a congregation to declare truth, but before the Lord to worship Him. Of course ‘worship’ does not mean putting on airs – feigning the manner of a Cranmer, Spurgeon or Piper. It does mean happy and humble gratitude in the presence of Jesus. And of course this twofoldness is accomplished in one and the same task – proclaiming ‘Worthy is the Lamb.’
- Thou shalt communicate, through both content and style, a tangible sense of the newness of God’s revelation. May such phrases as these perish from our lips: ‘Of course we all knoweth do we not…’ We really do not knoweth. We need to be toldeth. Hence preaching. Therefore preach with eager and childlike enthusiasm for the surprising and always disruptive grace of God.
- Thy tone shalt be declarative and devotional.
- Thy method shalt be expositional and christocentric. (Of course expositional does not necessitate ‘verse by verse’)
- Thy fevered entreaty shalt not be ‘DO’ so much as ‘LOOK’.
- Thou shalt not apologize for the word, whether for its supposed harshness or obscurity or backwardness or unbelievability. In truth the word is capable of defending itself on all these counts.
- Thou shalt not go searching for illustrations. Thy passage no doubt has plenty of good ones of its own. Anyone that spendeth time looking for stories to ‘lighten up their talk’ must be cut off from the congregation.
- Thou shalt not go searching for jokes. There is no doubt plenty of humour in the Scriptures themselves without you searching lamepreachergags.com. Anyone found guilty of the needless and clumsy insertion of ‘a joke’ shall be stoned to death. Show no mercy.
- Thou shalt not preach that ‘Christ is God’. Thou shalt preach that God is only and always the God revealed in Christ.
- Thou shalt not lift up the Lamb because thou art supposed to but because thou canst do no other.