I am a pastor who loves to preach and listen to good preaching. Preaching is a tool that God uses to stir my affection for Jesus and His church. This happens in my local church, at conferences or at seminars, and even through podcasts or sermons found on YouTube. However, we must be careful to not fall for the trap of loving the means rather than the end. We cannot love preaching more than we love the Gospel.
In the foreword to the monumental book, Preaching & Preachers by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the successor to his pulpit makes a fascinating claim. R.T. Kendall, writing about the people of Westminster Chapel in London, explains, “Dr. Lloyd-Jones left a congregation that loved the Gospel more than a good sermon.” This validates that the man known as the doctor of preaching really did proclaim the Gospel above himself. He slowly proclaimed the Gospel throughout many sermons and his people loved the Gospel more than his sermons.
In a culture in which sermons contain pastors sharing many stories about themselves, jokes about others, and self-help advice, we are reminded to proclaim the Gospel week in and week out. It might seem slow, unpopular, or not the most efficient way to plant or grow a church. However, God says the Gospel is His power. Paul reminded those in the church in Rome, just sixteen verses into his theologically rich letter, that it is the Gospel that is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” These words were true for those in the Mediterranean region back in the first century and they are true for pastors like us today. May we proclaim the Gospel and not let preaching replace it in our lives.