Peter describes God’s word as ‘enduring’, ‘living’ and containing all that is needed for for us to be ‘born again’ (1 Peter 1:23-25). ‘This is the word that was preached to you’ he says. This Sunday I will be unpacking this at our Sunday morning main meeting. It has made me think of a few of those who personally have most helped, encouraged and corrected me as God’s Word first took root and continues to endure and live.
Who has most helped you? Mine include:
Available and Integral
Peter was the first preacher I ever heard before, as and after I became a Christian at University. At its most basic preaching needs to be available to be heard. I was at University in the town Peter led a church. That church was open and welcoming of students (not least it had a service starting at 9pm in the evening for us!). Peter stood up week by week and spoke about Jesus from the Bible. He made that Word available. But he was also integral. When he wasn’t preaching, after three earlier services, he would still be at that late evening gathering, usually in T-shirt and jeans handling the tech desk. I knew he didn’t just come to preach. He came because it mattered.
Intellectual and Emotional
Preaching should be both deeply intellectual and wonderfully emotionally satisfying. Preaching should both fire neurons that have lain dead and blaze bright cavities of the heart left too long darkened. Preaching should be both. Piper does this. He taught me God wanted to birth new life in heart and head by his Word.
Winsome and Faithful
Preaching should be both winsome and faithful. Preaching should both be enjoyable and enjoyed (the listener can find pleasure in preacher and preaching); and rigorous and true (God must be pleased with our faithfulness to his Word). Preaching should be both. ‘Dano’ taught I didn’t need to sacrifice truth on the altar of attractive but preaching God’s Word could and should be both.
Word and World
Preaching should be both saturated in the Word and intelligent about the world. In Stott’s own analogy preaching holds in one hand the Bible and in the other hand the newspaper and has delved the depths of both. Preaching should know Christ and know culture and shine the former onto the latter. Stott, a remarkable man of God, taught me their dual importance.