10 Reasons Why Faithful Preaching is Powerful
At the beginning of the final paper at the September 2009 London Conference on John Calvin in the John Owen Centre, Joel Beeke revealed that this was his tenth Calvin conference of the year. He had 10 points in what he introduced as a pep talk, an encouragement to believe in preaching. It was a paper full of warmth and wonderful exhortation. He spent most time on the first point.
Ten reasons why faithful preaching is powerful . . .
1. Because it allows the Word of God to set the agenda
This included reference to serving the Word hand to hand. He was keen that the Word should be preached faithfully and frequently. Despite some differences to the way one might preach today his preaching is full of instruction – his eagerness to apply the Word, his commitment to the Word. He spoke of the preacher as a father giving appropriate pieces of bread to the people. His style was plain and clear. He was a careful exegete of the Word. Despite great opposition, he persevered and was successful in the end. Perseverance is very important.
2. Because it is preached authoritatively
He compared preaching with the OT prophets who spoke the Word of God. When ministers speak it is as though they are speaking God’s Word. By means of human ministry we are humbled and united together. The preached word is God’s Word as its content is Scripture and the preacher is sent by God to be Christ’s herald. We must not undermine our authority by the way we live. The Word must be dealt with reverently. Reverence and soul preparation are vital.
3. Because it co-labours with the Holy Spirit
4. Because it leads to fruitfulness
It is the heart of worship and worship will be fruitful.
It converts sinners.
It edifies the saints.
5. Because ultimately it impacts the nations
Preaching has international results. It effects the history of the world. Its vitality does not depend on how people react. It can make the ungodly worse as well as making the godly better.
6. Because it truly moves people to hear God’s Word
The preacher is only half the story. Calvin taught the people how to hear and what to do next. He told the people they should participate as much as the minister.
7. Because it is experiential
We ought to preach not only how they should go but how they do go. God’s Word is a key that can open and that can shut. Such preaching discovers hypocrites and it applies the Word to all who hear.
8. Because it promotes piety
9. Because it promotes the glory of God
10. Because it is accompanied by heartfelt prayer
Calvin’s preaching was not perfect but he spoke weightily. He did not have what Farel or Viret had but what he had he used for God. Are we really living to preach? What we need above all else today is faithful preaching. It is the world’s greatest need.
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