Are we preaching Christ or preaching about Christ?

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Ray Ortlund:

“My wife always says the most important thing about the man as a preacher was, you didn’t notice him.  He came quietly into the pulpit, started quietly, and then something seemed to happen, and then you became absorbed in what he was saying. . . .

‘We beseech you, in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God’ (2 Corinthians 5:20).  Spirit-filled preaching — the preacher is in the background.  And something happens.  The worshiper, by the grace of God, is being spoken to by God and by the Word of God.  So Lloyd-Jones would often say, the difference between talking about Christ and preaching Christ, or talking about the gospel and actually preaching the gospel.  It’s a comparatively easy thing to talk about the gospel, but to really preach it is another thing. . . .

So many preachers have to start their sermon with a nice little anecdote or something interesting, to catch people’s attention.  That is a condemnation of the whole service.  If the service has really been in the presence of God, you don’t need to catch anyone’s attention. . . .

I love that quotation of John Knox.  It’s really a definition of the Reformation: ‘God gave his Holy Spirit to simple men in great abundance.’”

Recent 9Marks audio, Iain Murray interviewed by Mark Dever on “The Pastoral Practices of Martyn Lloyd-Jones.”

Romans 10:14, accurately translated, asks, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?  And how are they to believe in him whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”  In real preaching, people hear Him, as they have never heard before.  They don’t merely hear about Him.  They hear Him, Christ preaching through the preacher.  And not because the preacher shifts gears into more forceful rhetoric, but simply because he is a holy man preaching the real gospel under power from on high.  This is preaching.

Are we pastors thinking in these categories?  Are we willing to become as invisible as possible, so that Jesus can become as audible as possible?  Are we reaching by faith and repentance for this power, for the glory of the Lord alone?

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I am currently serving churches and colleges as a bible teacher, overseas and in the UK.

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