Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Vanity in the Pulpit

When a preacher enters the pulpit, there must be serious check of the heart motives. He cannot simply mount the platform with an aire of unconcern, or self-confidence. He must be broken, fearful and prepared. No amount of study can prepare the heart, only the mind. Self-examination, an exercise of humility and self-abasement must accompany him as well.

Then there must be a watch over the means. Just to have the words you wish to say prepared, and an attitude of humility is not quite enough either. Now I must know what I am to do once there. I am to exhalt Christ, not myself. I am to become nothing, that He might be every thing. I cannot distract with clothing, hair styles, music, or actions, I must be a vessel intent on funneling truth, in the most appropriate way into the ears of the hearers.

This is not easy task... in fact it is near impossible apart from the Holy Spirit working in the preacher.

Let our preaching meet his purpose for preaching. Our satisfaction in how things went during the message must be guaged not by our standards of what we deem as success, but rather the idea set forth by God in His Word as success. Charles Haddon Spurgeon expressed this best in this snippet from one of his sermons:

The Holy Ghost never sets his signature to a blank check...the Holy Ghost will only bless in conformity with his own set purpose. Our Lord explains what that purpose is: 'He shall glorify me' He has come forth for thsi grand end, and he will not put up with anything short of it. If, then, we do not preach Christ, what is the Holy Ghost to do with our preaching? If we do not make the Lord
Jesus Christ Glorious: If we do not lift him in the esteem of men, if we do not labour to make him King of kings and Lord of lords we shall not have the Holy Spirit with us. Vain will be rhetoric, music, architecture, energy, and socila status; if our own design be not to magnify the Lord Jesus we shall work alone and in vain"


Gospel Preacher said...

Like Spurgeon it ought to be our heart's cry every step to the pulpit "I need the Spirit!" Ours is a task both grave and joyous all at once.

Dave Baker said...

Amen! May we be men gripped by the eternal significance of our task, to "speak as the oracles of God!" "Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ... Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant." (2 Cor. 2:16-17, 3:5-6) Thank you for the faithful, Christ-exalting words, brother. I'm enjoying reading your blog, and I hope to see you tomorrow at EBC.