What’s the point of preaching?

As a preacher I often make the mistake of getting stuck into the text and making sure I am faithful to it, explaining, it etc. that I forget what I am aiming to do.  What can come across is that the point of preaching is merely explain the passage.  But that’s not the point is it?

The point is to change people.  Isn’t it?

To change their minds, their hearts, their lives.  But the next mistake that preachers often make is that we have a list of three application points of “this is what you should do now” and then we wonder why people think Christianity is a form of legalism!  We are working against ourselves.  So let me introduce you to a quote from Richard Sibbes about how we should go about transforming people’s lives:

The very beholding of Christ is a transforming sight.  The Spirit that makes us new creatures, and stirs us up to behold this servant, it is a transforming beholding…A man cannot look upon the love of God and of Christ in the gospel, but it will change him to be like God and Christ.  For how can we see Christ, and God in Christ but we shall see how God hates sin, and this will transform us to hate it  as God doth, who hated it so that it could not be expiated but with the blood of Christ, God-man.  So, seeing the holiness of God in it, it will transform us to be holy.  When we see the love of God in the gospel, and the love of Christ giving himself for us, this will transform us to love God {1}

Here is Sibbes point: if you want to transform people’s lives (which is the point of preaching) then show them Christ.  Sure, have your three point application, but if you are not showing them Jesus then you are simply preaching legalism!

If you are a preacher when was the last time the application point was: How great is Jesus?

 

{1} Richard Sibbes, “A Description of Christ” quoted in Reeves, Michael. Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2012. p92.

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