The gospel transforms. The fundamental nature of our proclamation is not solely that it secures a new standing before God, but that it changes our way of being before God.
Salvation is not so much a moment in time as it is a process across time. The purpose of our preaching is to promote the transformation intended by the gospel.
The first formal recorded sermon, preached by Peter at Pentecost, resulted in a transformed way of being among the thousands who responded. That transformation was made evident by the way that they conducted their communal life (Acts 2:42-47). They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching. They valued fellowship, breaking bread together and sharing in prayer. They encouraged mission, serving everyone that had a need, and they came together in worship, praising God together as the Lord blessed them by adding to their number and increasing the favor of their influence. Great preaching, then, as an act of gospel transformation, takes on these fundamental elements.
Preaching engages life as we live it here today, gathering God’s people in relevant fellowship.
The best preaching instructs, attending to the mind as it leads people to a deepened knowledge of God, his nature, and his will.
Great preaching convicts, giving focus to the realm of the text as it encourages a response of worship to the person and presence of God.
Excellent preaching inspires, working on the level of the will as it challenges us toward a tangible difference through acts of mission.
We must preach. Given the transformative potential of the gospel as it is preached, we must give ourselves to this most important calling. If we don’t do it, who will (Rom. 10:13-16)? The wonder of this integration of Spirit and servant must be heard. This calling is not dependent upon particular venues, varieties, or voices. The gospel simply must be preached so that it can have its way. We preach, then, because…
…God still speaks. He did not do all his preaching in the past, but he speaks to us today. …listeners need to be loved with the gospel. It is a hard world and the gospel’s work of transformation is a blessing people need to know about and access. …the church must be gathered. God’s redemptive community comes together through the preaching of the gospel.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon said it best; “Life, death, hell, and worlds unknown, hang on the preaching and the hearing of a sermon.”