[ 2 minutes to read ]
Preaching is a momentary act with eternal consequences. Someone more astute than I probably said that before. The point seems to be that we cannot overstate the seriousness of the preaching moment.
There are several competing desires within me when I enter the pulpit. On the one hand, I have strong desires that Christ will be exalted and His Word honored in such a way that the people will leave impressed with Him. I have strong desires that the Word will be burned on the people’s hearts and though they might forget my name, they will not forget His Word.
On the other hand, strong desires reside in my flesh. I am tempted to relish the attention, to want to be liked and thought of highly. I am tempted to seek approval and congratulation. These are the desires that must be put to death. I walk in Romans 7 every time I enter the pulpit.
I enter into the pulpit with fear and trembling. The most dangerous place to stand in the assembly is in the pulpit. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for seeking the praise of men in their works.
But all their works they do for to be seen of men ~ Matthew 23:5
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. ~ Matthew 6:2
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. ~ Matthew 6:5
Because you are physically seen of men in the pulpit, the temptation is strong to perform. The way seems so open and so easy to thieve God’s glory.
My prayer and heart-cry for that moment is that God will save me from myself and bind my heart fast to Him. My aim and my hope in that moment is to preach a perfect sermon. What is a perfect sermon? A perfect sermon is one where the only obvious and memorable element is Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:5).