Tim Keller on Christian Preaching

PreachingChristians are either engaged in the act of preaching or will regularly hear preaching in their churches. While the following paragraphs are written with the intent of challenging those who preach, those of us who listen can also be encouraged by them.

“So there are two things we must do. As we preach, we are to serve and love the truth of God’s Word and also to serve and love the people before us. We serve the Word by preaching the test clearly and preaching the gospel every time. We reach the people by preaching to the culture and to the heart.

Then there is what God must do. He brings the Word home to our hearers through the ‘demonstration of the Spirit and of power’ (1 Corinthians 2:4). According to Paul you can preach with genuine spiritual power only if you offer Christ as a living reality to be encountered and embraced by those who listen. This means to preach with awe and wonder at the greatness of what we have in Christ. It means to exhibit an uncontrived transparency, showing evidence of a a heart that is being mended by the very truth you are presenting. It entails a kind of poise and authority rather an an insecure desire to please or perform. So your love, joy, peace, and wisdom must be evident as you speak. You should be something like a clear glass through which people can see a gospel-changed soul in such a way that they want it too, and so that they get a sense of God’s presence as well.

How do all these things happen? they all happen as we preach Christ. To preach the test truly and the gospel every time, to engage the culture and reach the heart, to cooperate with the Spirit’s mission i the world – we must preach Christ from all of Scripture.”

These paragraphs are taken from Tim Keller’s book, Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism.

If these paragraphs are not descriptive of the preaching that you hear on a regular basis, then I challenge you to find a means of sitting under a preacher that does follow them.