The preachers responsibility: frame a biblical understanding of the Christian life
[tweetable]Preaching — the practice of expositing God’s Word to God’s people — has fallen on hard times.[/tweetable] On the one hand, the large number of evangelical pastors I know who remain committed to faithful biblical exposition greatly encourages me. These men know the purpose and the power of preaching God’s Word. On the other hand, the number of influential voices within evangelicalism suggesting that the age of the expository sermon is dead gravely concerns me. These voices avoid the preaching of a biblical text. They fear the confrontation that comes with expositing biblical truth, and believe it has nothing to say to us today. They are voiceless voices.
[tweetable]Preaching God’s Word is the heart of Christian worship.[/tweetable] Moreover, preaching God’s Word is worship. Therefore, the norm of our worship must be the Word of God, the Word that he himself has spoken. This is what we mean when we say “sola scriptura.” Our preaching can only have a voice if it is rooted in the Scriptures. Scripture itself sets the terms, and so we must turn its pages to learn how God would have us preach — how God would have us worship.
[tweetable]It is crucial for the preacher to understand that his preaching is not without purpose.[/tweetable] The purpose of preaching is reading the Word of God and then explaining it to our people so that they understand it. This is the heart and soul of preaching. Simply put, the purpose of preaching is reading the text and explaining it — reproving, rebuking, exhorting and patiently teaching from the text of Scripture. If you are not doing that, then you are not preaching.
We must also understand that the preacher’s purpose is not for his own benefit, but for the benefit of the church. We minister for the sake of our congregation, just as Paul ministered for the sake of his (Col 1:24). Our calling to preach is a calling to serve and love others by proclaiming Christ, exposing error and revealing sin and teaching an understanding of the Christian life rooted in God’s Word — all to the bringing of Christians to maturity in Christ Jesus. The preacher instructs the people of God about the Word of God and applies that Word to their lives. This is his responsibility.
I am thankful that Southern Seminary is committed to training men who will preach God’s Word with this kind of voice and purpose. I am glad to know that we are preaching on purpose and not training voiceless voices.
Be praying for those entrusted to preach the Scriptures. Pray that they would proclaim Christ, reveal sin and apply God’s Word. Pray for those pastors who have gone out from Southern Seminary. Pray that they would faithfully enrich and guard their flocks with the authority, truth, and hope of God’s Word. Pray for your own pastors. Pray that they would preach God’s Word for your benefit and your maturation in the Lord Jesus Christ. I know I am.
You can connect with R. Albert Mohler Jr. on Twitter at @albertmohler, on Facebook, or at AlbertMohler.com. Dr. Mohler has also written many other books including The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership that Matters. This article was originally published in the Spring 2014 issue of Southern Seminary Magazine.
- Southern Seminary Department of Leadership and Discipleship
- The Conviction to Lead by R. Albert Mohler Jr.
- The Guide to Expository Ministry