As I was getting ready to preach the Word tomorrow, my friend Pri challenged me to read 2 Corinthians 3-4. He did it because he believed it applied to the sermon. I read it and it was a reminder to me personally about what I am to preach. If you are a preacher, I hope it will be an encouragement to you too.
In 2 Cor 4:5 Paul says, “For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”
We don’t preach ourselves.
As you prepare for tomorrows message you may have some personal illustration that you plan to share. That is great. I hope you have applied the truth to your own life before you try to apply it to your congregation, but remember we preach to exalt Jesus Christ and not to exalt ourselves. I don’t simply mean that your stories about yourself should be self deprecating or in some way show you as the one failing. I mean the sermon should make people think about Jesus.
Does the sermon you plan to preach tomorrow make people think more about Jesus than anyone else? Will it leave people thinking more about Jesus than they will about you? Will they leave thinking more about Jesus than Paul or John Calvin or Wesley or Wilberforce or anyone other than Jesus?
Paul goes on in verse 6 to say: “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
He goes on to say that we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the power we have is from God and not from us. There is tremendous pressure in preaching. The battles are difficult, spiritual emotional even physical. The work is hard, but don’t forget who we are preaching.
A few verses later Paul says,
It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 4:13-15
Will your sermon tomorrow point people to the eternal? Will it make people think about more than the problems of this day? Will God’s grace spread to more and more people that causes rejoicing in heaven (Luke 15:7,10)? No doubt your ministry is a struggle, but be thankful that God is using it to spread the grace that is reaching more and more people and this will cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
Don’t focus on the mere accolades you will get in the lobby or from an email on Monday, make them think of Jesus and eternity.
Who will you preach?