Preaching is a joyful honor and weighty responsibility. It is my conviction that preaching should supremely exalt Christ. I would like to provide you with three reasons why I am convinced of this.
If the sermon does not exalt Christ, then it cannot be wholly truthful
- Principle 1: The Word supremely exalts Christ. (Lk. 24:25-27; Jn. 1:1; 5:39; Heb. 1:1-2)
- Principle 2: Preaching must always be of the Word. (Neh. 8:5, 8; Ps. 119:104-105; 2 Timothy 4:1-2)
- Conclusion: Preaching by nature supremely exalts Christ.
If the sermon does not exalt Christ, then the preacher is not preaching the Word. If he was preaching the Word, Christ would be exalted. Scripture by nature lifts up the Son of Man, shining a spot-light on His person and work. Preaching by nature lifts of the Word, such that the content delivered by a faithful preacher is Scripture and commentary upon it. It is evident that a preacher who is not exalting Christ, is not accurately commenting on the Scripture he preaches.
If the sermon does not exalt Christ, then it opposes the Holy Spirit’s work
- Proposition: If the Holy Spirit does a work, then He exalts Christ in that work. (John 14:16-31; 16:12-15; 1 Jn. 4:1-6)
- Consequent Denied: If Christ is not exalted in a work, then the Holy Spirit is not doing that work.
If the sermon does not exalt Christ, then it is erecting itself as a tool used in the power of flesh, opposing the Spirit’s way of exalting Christ. The Holy Spirit is the third member of the Trinity – being God, He is completely free to do as He wills. It pleases Him and is His role in the economic Trinity to exalt Christ and direct men unto Him. Spurgeon wrote, “All ministries, therefore, must be subjected to this test; if they do not glorify Christ, they are not of the Holy Ghost.”
If the sermon does not exalt Christ, then it stifles the congregation’s joy
- Principle 1.1: God is our sole source of joy. (Neh. 8:10; Ps. 16:11; Jn. 17:3)
- Principle 1.2: God is known through Christ. (Jn. 14:6; 2 Cor. 4:6; Col. 1:15-20)
- Principle 1.3: Christ is most clearly seen in Scripture. (Rom. 1:18-2:16; 10:14-15; 16:20-21; see also Reason 1)
- Conclusion 1.1: Scripture is our clearest avenue of joy.
- Conclusion 1.2: If Scripture is skewed so-as-to veil Christ, then its joy-giving clarity is stifled.
- Principle 2.1: If Christ is not exalted, then Scripture is not accurately presented. (see Reason 1)
- Principle 2.2: If Scripture is not accurately presented, then its joy-giving quality is stifled. (see Reason 3, Conclusion 1.2)
- Principle 2.3: If Scripture’s joy-giving quality is stifled, then so is the joy received by the congregation.
- Conclusion 2: If Christ is not exalted in a sermon, then the congregation’s joy is stifled.
Christ is the ultimate source of joy for the church. On earth, we glimpse His glory in Scripture and are satisfied. Though in heaven, our faith shall be made sight and our joy made full. If this is so, then why would I not desire to exalt Christ in my preaching? My people’s greatest joy will come through seeing Christ. If I want the congregation satisfied and living unto God in a joy of the soul, then why would I refrain from this?