Personal Purpose in Preaching God’s Word

Below is an “open-letter” describing my heart in the preaching ministry God has given me through Grace Baptist Church. I am greatly privileged to serve a sovereign God as a bond-slave; and I am truly blessed to be able to minister to gracious, loving and receptive people of God in this local assembly as a servant of the Word. Thank you, GBC family for being a delight to serve with.

My purpose in the preaching of the Word of God is not to persuade people to change. It is not to inspire people to faith or obedience. It is not to coerce people to a religion or faith system, nor is it to build some earthly or human fiefdom. It is not to make people Christians, Baptists, evangelicals, or fundamentalists. It is not to meet the perceived needs of “seekers” nor is it primarily to meet the immediate spiritual or emotional needs of our church (although I do believe God meets our needs through the preaching of the Word. It is a by-product, not the purpose). My purpose in preaching the Word of God has two parts (I am committed to this two part mission in every preaching ministry or opportunity God grants to me, and it is best if you know up front what I will do as long as God has me as lead pastor of Grace Baptist Church).

It is my earnest desire and life-long endeavor  to mutually draw our normally vapid attention to the risen glorified Christ and the Triune God, maker of heaven and earth and the one worthy of all worship, adoration, and exaltation. My first intention (and this will be accomplished only by God’s grace. . .  for this I need much prayer) every time I set foot in a pulpit, a classroom, a Bible study, or counseling situation is to first engage the Scripture to draw my spiritual eyes heavenward and then to assist those who are hearing in drawing their spiritual eyes to the glory of God, especially Jesus Christ. I pray by God’s grace, that my intent in preaching will never be to exalt a man-especially myself, a system of thought (no matter how accurate it is), a story (no matter how compelling it is), a historical personage  (whether they are Bible characters or not) or a denomination (even though I am distinctly Baptist) to compete on any level with the glory reserved for God alone. In other words, my intention in preaching is that everyone who might hear the Word of God preached from my tongue, especially I, would bow and trembles with joyful anticipation and reverent awe at El-Elyon, Most High God, the King of glory. I want to be a facilitator and assistant in your life as well helping you exult in the Glory of God as he is revealed in the Scripture.

It is also with God’s help, my desired intent each time I preach or teach from God’s Word to clearly and effectively communicate God’s Word in such a way that each person, young or old, male or female, new Christian or old Christian, saint or sinner would understand God’s Will and Word as it is revealed contextually in the Bible alone. A great many men and women of the faith have articulated doctrine and practice for the past 2000 years and so it is foolish to not reference them and study how they understood and taught the Word of God. There are as well, many gifted, intelligent, and Spirit led Bible teachers and preachers today who can help us understand what God has spoken. But my intent is not to coerce people into other men’s opinions or my opinions (although I have them and am not ashamed to share them), to convince people of my standards, to cause conformity to traditions not clearly revealed in the Scripture. But I desire this single-minded purpose: with all the energy, intelligence, hard labor, earnest prayer and Spiritual enablement and gifting to preach the whole counsel of God in a systematic understandable way. I then will trust that the Holy Spirit will plant the truth of God’s Word proclaimed so deeply into the soul’s heart and mind that He will persuade you and me to know, love and obey the God of the Word, the Revelation of Jesus Christ.  I believe a part of this is providing application or implication the best I can, but also not stretching or spiritualizing a text to evoke some kind of change or loyalty to me or to my “positions.”

I believe the best way to do this is to systematically preach through books of the Bible (recognizing that  at times it is necessary to cover a topic or a doctrine), explaining the text and providing implications/applications of the text. I believe it best to spend the majority of our preaching time in the doctrinal portions of the NT before examining the application portions (as is the pattern of the epistles). It is important for me to be submitted to the Holy Spirit as communicator and for you to be filled by the Spirit as receivers. It is important that we come to texts of the Scripture with a burning desire to know, “What does God say?” Not with “How can I use the Bible to convince someone of my position or belief?”  In all this, I know that I am weak, but He is strong. God did not call me to this task because of any natural gifting or abilities within me, but in my weakness, He desires this to be accomplished for His glory and so I must pray, and you must pray…We must pray that God will accomplish all his will in preaching ministry here at Grace Baptist Church for the exaltation and honor of God alone—the great three in one and for the advance of His church for whom he died and now is Lord and God over her.

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