If there is one thing I could tell to someone just beginning to preach, it would be this: preach redemptively. Let me say that again, preach redemptively.
Here is what I mean. The mission of God is a story of redemption and creation is the object of this mission. We are created in God’s image but fallen from that created intent and so now God is at work remaking us as a new creation in Christ who is the perfect embodiment of our created intent.
This redemptive mission of God ought to shape the way we preach. In on sense preaching redemptively involves preaching truthfully, graciously, wisely, and thoughtfully, which why I saved this for last but it also involves, in some sense, an ethical decision. Are we preaching so that our hearers might be drawn closer to God, to do his will, reflect the image of Christ and the Spirit living in them?
The answer to such a question depends really upon God but God is also using us who preach as a tool to accomplish his will. What we preach and, perhaps more importantly, how we preach can either work for God’s redemptive will or work against it.
Over the course of ministry, there will be frustrations. Some Christians will just act very immature. They are the one’s who are more interested in arguing about what version of the Bible everyone else is reading, than distributing free Bibles to people without a Bible. They are the church members who will smile at us, telling us how nice our sermon was just before they go running to someone else to complain about us. They are the Christians who complaining about the way the neighborhood is going to pot but want nothing to do with ministering to the people of the neighborhood.
These believers are frustrating and because of that, there are times when it is tempting just preach one of those sermons. Yeah, that kind of sermon. The sermon where we just tell it like it is. But will that really help? Will that really redeem people from such immaturity? Will that really help them become more like God?
I don’t think so and that is why we need to preach redemptively. That is a choice and sometimes it is a difficult choice but I am convinced God’s will is more likely to happen because of it. So whatever we do in our sermons, preach redemptively.
What are your thoughts?
See also these previous posts:
- “How Shall We Preach?“
- “How Shall We Preach: Truthfully“
- “How Shall We Preach: Graciously“
- “How Shall We Preach: Wisely“
- “How Shall We Preach: Thoughtfully“