Preaching & Grace #2

27 01 2009

 

  peter-preaching

Sculpture of  Peter Preaching

     As we have seen already, the preacher has a responsibility to make grace, Christ, and His cross central to his explanation, understanding, and application of every text.  However, grace also plays a vital role in the enablement for obedience.  In leading his listeners to the point were they become enabled to obey the truths taught, the preacher must always start with God’s grace.  As Bryan Chapell reminds us in Christ Centered Preaching, “The power to do what God requires resides with God.  Responsible preaching does not tell people their responsibilities without also informing them how to plug into this power.”  No matter how well a passage has been studied or how well a sermon has been developed, none of it will be effective if the listener does not see God’s love for us and His infinite mercy.  It is when we understand and embrace the love that God Himself has given that His Holy Spirit stirs within our hearts the power which enables us to live the truth which has been explained and applied.  

     On the question of enablement, we can find our answer in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians when he writes,

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to al this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

     When believers grasp what God has done for them through His grace and what He provides for them by His grace, they are motivated by love: God’s truth is received more freely because of His love, His Spirit gains more and more control of their lives because of that love and that His Spirit provides the very power needed to enable them to live lives which are pleasing to their Heavenly Father.  It is all by His grace.  

     Whether the preacher is explaining or seeking to understand Holy Scripture, or applying it to the lives of his listeners, grace is the central ingredient that must always be in the center of his efforts.  Whether the preacher is seeking to motivate his congregants to live lives pleasing to God or to reveal to them how they can live the lives they are motivated to live, grace must be the center of his message.

     It is by God’s grace that the preacher’s mind is ever able to comprehend the vastness of God’s Word.  It is by God’s grace that His truth is communicated through the preacher.  Grace provides the love which motivates believers to live out the truths the preacher proclaims and grace sends the Spirit which enable believers to live lives pleasing to God which are in accordance with Scripture.  

     We are enabled because the Spirit of God empowers us.  The Spirit of God empowers us because we love God.  We love God because He has adopted us as His children.  God adopted us as His children be cause He gave us the faith to believe, repent and surrender to Christ.  We surrendered because of the great sacrificial love Christ and the Father displayed for us on the cross and through the resurrection.  God sent His Son who died on the cross because of grace.  In fact, grace is central and ever present at each step in the process.  The preacher must never forget this and always see it’s presence in all of Scripture as well as through every step of the process of preparing and delivering his sermon. 

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One response

19 02 2009
fireball3316

hiya – thanks for checking out my blog – now i’m checking out yours! love what you’ve said about preaching – it is so by God’s grace we are able to have this opportunity and oh what a privaledge it is to speak his message of truth and hope and grace and power and transformation! preaching is so that people can know God and make him known more. have just finished reading a really old book i picked up from a 2nd hand sale about 25 great preachers in history – faciniating – am going to post on it later…. so come check it out :o) blessings, fireball

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