Preaching God’s Word is the most important duty of every under-shepherd. Proclamation of Biblical truth is not simply one among many responsibilities of a pastor; it is the responsibility above all other responsibilities. Stated another way, when it comes to the pastor’s duties, preaching is not simply on the pastor’s list of primaries, preaching is prime. The pastor’s preaching ministry situates at the apex of all obligation and it functions as the central blessing to the people of the local church to which God has entrusted to him to shepherd.
Without preaching, in fact, the pastor loses the foundational piece of his pastoral ministry. On a practical level, one cannot fulfill the duties of the office of overseer and pastor of the flock of God as prescribed in Ephesians 6:19-20, 1 Timothy 3:1-7, 2 Timothy 4:1-5, Titus 1:1-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-4 (among many other texts) if he is not divesting himself fully into a robust preaching ministry.
But preaching God’s Word is much more than mere compliance to a holy and Sovereign Lord on the pastor’s behalf. To be sure, the task of preaching God’s Word is a sacred trust between the Triune God as the Author of Holy Scripture and the biblical herald who is fallible. Remarkably, preaching is our perfect Lord’s allowance of fallen and sinful men like you and me to speak divine utterance on His behalf. Empowered by the regenerating essence of the Holy Spirit and coupled with the Sword of Truth, the Bible, we can stand in the pulpit and boldly extol the excellencies of our God. Ah yes, our Lord is excellent and then some! He is supreme and meant to be savored! In a word, He is glorious! This is why preaching is a glorious endeavor because it is centered wholly on and grounded in the Glorious One, Jesus Christ.
The following three key truths radiate the glorious nature and centrality of preaching:
The Glory of Preaching: The Principle of God’s Word
First, preaching is glorious because we have the Word of God serving as our absolute Reservoir of Truth. The preacher of the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God relies on the Scriptures as the prime principle, the unshakable foundation for the kerygmatic event. God’s Word is inspired in that it is God-sourced; it is by Him and to be given back to Him through text-driven proclamation of the preacher. God’s Word is also inerrant—a trustworthy Word in which we wholeheartedly believe that the Holy Spirit has given us inscripturated revelation without error pointing us to the Incarnated Revelation Jesus Christ. God’s Word also is infallible in that it is incapable of communicating anything other than absolute truth. It is fully sufficient. It is the authoritative articulation of God for His people; and, the preacher holds the honored and undeserved position of being its channel in a lost and dying world. It is a harrowing thing to take the Word of God and stand before people to speak on behalf of the Sovereign Lord; and yet, where the preacher is uninspired the Word is fully inspired, where the preacher is full of error, the Word of God has none, and where the preacher struggles to communicate, the Word says exactly what God wants. How glorious it is to take the glorious Word and edify the local church through preaching so fellow Christ-followers can worship the Glorious One to which they owe their existence and salvation!
The Glory of Preaching: The Priority of the Gospel
Second, preaching is glorious because it passionately prioritizes the Gospel. The Gospel must hold priority in the preaching of all genuine regenerated heralds of Jesus Christ. One has not truly preached if he has not shared the Gospel because preaching is about Jesus, specifically Jesus’ one-time death, burial, and resurrection. Our Risen Lord is the content of the Gospel. Indeed, the Gospel is the nexus of all doctrinal truth and it must be proclaimed every time the preacher is given the privileged opportunity to speak on behalf of His Lord. We often say the Gospel is the Good News and so it is, but consistent text-driven preaching reminds us why the Gospel is so good. The Gospel is the soul-saving life-rearranging information of Jesus Christ. We are depraved sinners in desperate need of a Sovereign Savior—that One, the only One, is Jesus Christ. For all who repent and call on the Name of Jesus, God the Son procures salvation by reconciling us to a holy God Who we were at enmity with by living a sinless life, dying on the Cross and receiving the penalty for our own sin debt, being buried, and then thunderously defeating death with the resurrection. This is the Gospel—Christ crucified, Christ risen, for all the world. And this is a glorious reality: to highlight the Lord’s one-time sacrifice and resurrection for the whole world by preaching the Gospel of our Risen King.
The Glory of Preaching: The Primacy of Christ
Finally, preaching is glorious because it provides the constant reminder that our Lord Jesus Christ is Himself, prime. There is none like Him: never has been, and never will be. He stands alone. He is the One True God and this One True God of the Bible is exceedingly radiant, glorious, in point of fact! Jesus is to be savored and treasured above all people and all things and faithful preaching reorients us to this holy reflection. This Special One is our Risen King and there is no higher honor or privilege on this sin-filled earth than to preach His greatness, extol His outright supremacy, announce His singular uniqueness, and proclaim His other-ness to a world longing for its Savior. Each human being is bestowed with imago dei, and within the resident image of God in each of us is the insatiable need to worship. Christ and Christ alone is the One Who is the only right and just Person worthy of our worship. No mere manmade object, philosophy, or self-veneration will do. Only worship of Jesus Christ, the King, will suffice to fill the longings of our hearts. Ultimately, preaching centers us fully on the primacy of King Jesus, the Glorious One, and thus, such a weighty act is in and of itself glorious. Praise be to our Glorious King Jesus Who allows us to preach for His glory and fame!
Ryan Redwine is Senior Pastor of Village Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.