In a day when sermons when sermons were heavily focused on doctrinal exposition with a minimal emphasis on right living, Spener wrote:
Our whole Christian religion consists of the inner man or the new man (sic), whose soul is faith and whose expressions are the fruits of life, and all sermons should be aimed at this. Spener, Philip Jacob. Pia Desideria (p. 116).
Following Jesus is not merely a matter of belief and knowing. While that is important, it is not enough. Following Jesus means that we actually follow him. We are to act like he acted, live as he lived. The preaching task should direct God’s people towards that goal.
I see the task of the local church as forming people into the image of Christ (imago Christi, discipleship), in the context of the local church (community) on mission (missio Dei). The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 4:19-My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you. As a practice of the church, preaching shoudl
Preaching is not just an intellectual exercise. I remember my first sermons sounded more like a seminary research paper than an exhortation towards discipleship.
And preaching is not just a motivational talk. In our day, the issue is not characterized by intellectualism as much as it is characterized by entertainment in a celebrity and adenine seeking culture.
Preaching, in a variety of forms, is the proclamation of God’s Word, empowered by his Spirit, helping God’s people navigate the complexities of life and encouraging them towards living a new and different life in Christ. Paul described his preaching as work done in the power of the Spirit, and in weakness:
1 Corinthians 2:1And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
The church gathers for worship on a regular basis. As part of that worship, the Word is proclaimed through the act of preaching so that God’s people might trust and surrender, live into their calling, and walk worthily before the Lord.