234. A preacher is like a carpenter; his tools are God’s Word. Because the audience, upon whom he is to work, is diversified, he should not continuously teach in the same tone, rather, in respect of the differences in his congregation, comfort for a while, frighten, scold, offer reconciliation, and so on. (p. 209).
4812. The magnificence of the Word of God is never-ending and indescribable. We can never thank God enough for it. Human reason thinks thus: “Oh, I would walk to the end of the world if only I could hear the Lord our Creator here upon the earth!” Hear, dear brother, God the creator of heaven and earth does talk to you through His preachers. He baptizes, instructs and pronounces us free from sin through His Sacraments. And the Word of God is not to be compared to the words of Plato or Aristotle, but rather God Himself speaks. And the Word is best learned by the common people and youth when preached simply and plainly without the slightest obscurity or ambiguity, just as Christ taught through simple parables. And that is the best and most suitable manner for the congregation to hear the Word of God and never doubt the preacher. It is especially important when the people are not quite secure in their belief that the pastor speak simply, so he can help and guide them. For although God can certainly overcome opposition, he cannot tolerate confusion and contradiction. (p. 228).
Over at the Proclamation Trust blog, they have posted a top ten list of reasons for pastors to engage in expository preaching. It is taken from the book The Shepherd Leader: Achieving Effective Shepherding in Your Church by Timothy Witmer.
Here is the list:
- Expository preaching identifies exactly what is at the heart of the Christian message
- Expository preaching requires that the shepherd concern himself with the intent of the Divine Author for every text.
- Expository preaching respects the integrity of the textual units given through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
- Expository preaching keeps the pastor from riding his favourite hobby horses.
- Expository preaching requires the preacher to preach the difficult or obscure texts and challenging truths of the Bible.
- Expository preaching will encourage both pastor and students alike to become students of the Bible.
- Expository preaching gives us boldness in preaching for we are not expounding our own fallible views but the Word of God.
- Expository preaching gives confidence to the listener that what he is hearing is not the opinion of man but the Word of God.
- Expository preaching is of great assistance in sermon planning.
- Expository preaching provides the context for a long tenure in a particular place.
HT: Tim Challies
In this week’s installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, Luther writes about the burden and responsibilities of a preacher:
“453. If I were to write about the burden and responsibilities of a preacher, as I have experienced them, I would scare everyone away from it. For a good preacher must be of such a mind that nothing is dearer to him than Christ and His life; so that when he finally has lost this life, and everything, he knows Christ will say to him: ‘Come here to me, my dear son.’ I hope that He will also speak to me with those words on Judgment Day, for here all speak to me in an unfriendly way. I have the burden of the whole world, the emperor, and the Pope. But since I have been called to this, I must stand my ground and say: ‘What I do is right.’ After I was called, the devil attacked me many times and has tormented me with this argument: ‘You haven’t been called!’ As if I had been made a doctor for nothing.” (pp. 211)
DISCLAIMER: The views reflected in this quote do not necessarily reflect those of the author of this blog. This quote is shared in the interest of edification, education, and/or humor.
In the most recent issue of Themelios, D.A. Carson has written a stimulating article on appealing to heart motives in our preaching. Although his focus is on heart motives in unbelievers, he helpfully stresses that these same motivations are present in believers as well. Here is an outline to whet your appetite:
A Survey of Possible Heart Motivations
- The Burden of Guilt
- The Need for “Future Grace”
- The Attractiveness of Truth
- A General, Despairing Sense of Need
- Responding to Grace and Love
- A Rather Vague Desire to be on the Right Side of What is Right, of What is from God, of What is Biblical, of What is Clean, or What Endures
He then offers Four Theological and Pastoral Reflections on This Survey
- We do not have the right to choose only one of these motivations in people and to appeal to it restrictively.
- On the other hand, we may have the right to emphasize one motivation more than others.
- Nevertheless, the comprehensiveness of our appeal to diverse motivations will reflect the comprehensiveness of our grasp of the gospel.
- To put this another way, all of the biblically sanctioned motivations for pursuing God, for pursuing Christ, say complementary things about God himself, such that failure to cover the sweep of motivations ultimately results in diminishing God.
As usual, Carson helps us to think through the high calling of preaching the riches of the gospel to the poverty of sinfulness. I highly encourage you to read this short but valuable article.