Preaching has a unique place in God’s plan for the salvation of his elect people. Not only must the Scriptures be read but the Gospel must be proclaimed.
All christians are called upon to witness to the Gospel but God grants special gifts to men whom he has chosen for public preaching. These he sovereignly sets apart and anoints by his Holy Spirit. The preacher, with these God-given qualifications, must also discipline his whole life. None are exposed to such peculiar trials and temptations nor more subject to Satan’s onslaughts. The preacher must also be an example to the people, a watchman warning them against error and danger, and a shepherd caring for his flock.
Acts 13:2; 1 Peter 5:1-11; Ezekiel 34.
The Nature of Preaching
Preaching involves an orderly exposition and application of scripture. It must aim at the glory of God, in declaring both the just judgement of unbelievers and the gracious, full salvation of God’s people. It should be directed at the whole man — his understanding, will and affections. It is the most powerful means of grace which he himself has ordained.
2 Cor. 2: 14-16.
The Content of Preaching
A faithful proclamation of the whole counsel of God as revealed in the scriptures has a three-fold aim:-
1. To warn men of the requirements of God’s law, of their lost condition outside of Christ, of the uselessness of morality as a ground of hope and of the wrath of God upon unbelievers now and ft ever. Such preaching is intended to awaken the conscience of the hearer and cause serious enquiry;
Tit. 3:5; James 2:10; Rom. 3:20; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 15.
2. To call men to repentance and faith, pointing them to Christ alone for salvation, exhorting them to respond to the invitations of the Gospel and encouraging anxious enquirers to embrace the promise of full provision for them in Christ. Such preaching encourages sinners to call upon the name of the Lord that they may be saved;
Mat. 11 :28, 29; John 6:35; Acts 3:19; 17:30, 31; Rom 10:13; Heb. 7:25.
3. To. minister to the spiritual welfare of believers by reproof, exhortation, instruction and comfort. Such preaching leads the believer to give diligence to make his calling and election sure.
2 Tim. 3:15; 2 Peter 1:10.
Preaching must be balanced in exposition, doctrine, experience and practice. It should be expressed in language which is simple, clear and contemporary but never crude or unseemly.
The Manner of Preaching
This vital ministry demands solemnity with joy, control with urgency, faithfulnes with love, boldness with humility. This authoritative ministry arises from confidence in the message itself together with certainty that God will glorify himself through its declaration and a reliance upon the power of the Holy Spirit.
Isa. 55:11; 1 Cor. 1 :4.
The Manner of Hearing
Just as the preacher is required to be faithful in the exercise of his ministry, so the congregation are solemnly accountable for their hearing of the Word. They must give heed to the Word: first, by believing, disciplined attention and personal application, and then by the practice of the message. If they neglect this privilege and means of grace, they will be accountable for it on the Day of Judgement.
Heb. 4:2; Mark 4:24; Acts 17:10, 11; Heb. 10:25; James 1 :22-24; 1 John 4:1.