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Preaching Won’t Love You (via Lewis Allen and The Preacher’s Catechism)

May those of you who gather to hear God’s word tomorrow witness proclamation that is based on love of God and hearers, not based on love for the act of speaking.
From Lewis Allen’s The Preacher’s Catechism – Q&A 32: What is the summary of the Ten Commandments for preachers? – Loving the Lord your God and your neighbour, not your preaching is the goal of the law.

Preachers are ambitious. At least, we should be. If we don’t long that people will meet the risen Christ through our ministry, then what do we want to achieve through preaching? We need to root out that false godliness which wants little and is content with even less. Some reason that as long as we’ve preached orthodoxy, then God must be glorified. Isaiah 55:11 is quoted as the proof text of this dismal spirituality. Hearers might be left feeling empty, but our consolation — and we hope theirs, too — is that the Word will not return to God empty. But if our hearers are not presented with Christ in such a way that they are compelled to receive Christ by faith, then what has been achieved? A preacher who aims at merely saying what the Word says, with no prayerful longing that the Word would bear fruit, isn’t a God-honoring servant.
The danger lurks, though. Every preacher has experienced it to different degrees. Give your heart to preaching and expect it to love you back and fulfill all of your needs, and you’ll be bitterly disappointed. Preaching doesn’t love anyone. You can’t expect that it’ll satisfy your heart. Any preacher who seeks to find his life in his pulpit ministry is kidding himself all the way to idolatry. Preaching will pass.

The Preacher’s Catechism, Lewis Allen, Crossway, 2018, pg 162.


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The Warning Signs Of Preaching Idolatry (via Lewis Allen and The Preacher’s Catechism)

From Lewis Allen’s The Preacher’s Catechism – Q&A 23: What does the second commandment teach us? – You shall not make a preaching idol of your image or anyone else’s.

Here are some warning signs that you could be in danger of preaching idolatry:
You can never read the Bible for your own soul’s profit. It just doesn’t seem important anymore. Now you’re consumed with studying the Bible for the sake of others. In fact, when you do sit down to read your Bible, you actually start noting how you could preach the passage, and you’re halfway through preparing an out- line before you realize it. Maybe your soul is starting to shrivel just as your work expands.
You can never say no to a sermon. You get restless when you’re not preaching on a Sunday. You struggle to listen to the truth of a sermon, because instead you’re critiquing the sermon. You’re always looking for more opportunities to preach. Called you may be, and compelled to preach — well, that’s a given; but are you a preaching obsessive?

The Preacher’s Catechism, Lewis Allen, Crossway, 2018, pg 126.


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Jesus Says, “Feed My Sheep,” Not “Feed Your Ego.” (via Lewis Allen and The Preacher’s Catechism)

From Lewis Allen’s The Preacher’s Catechism – Q&A 9: Why does God call us to preach? – God calls us to serve all of our hearers with His Gospel.

Preaching to the glory of God is all about helping others to grasp and delight in the truth of the gospel. God’s glory revealed in the cross of Christ and declared in preaching is the good of grace-hungry people. “The eternal salvation of the human soul, through the presentation of divine truth, is the end of preaching,” William Shedd wrote. That is what God wants from you, and that is what your hearers need from you, regardless of whether they currently understand that or actually want it. Anything less is just bad preaching.
So, preaching is a pursuit of giving glory to God as his gospel truth in Jesus Christ is lovingly declared. As long as he gets the glory, what does it really matter what happens to us? If the splendour of God outshines and outlasts the tiny splendour of a billion suns, does your gratification in ministry really mean anything? Is your reputation of the slightest importance? Of course not. Preaching must always be an exercise in self-effacement, not self-promotion, or even self-fulfillment. Jesus says, “Feed my sheep,” not “Feed your ego.” People must be led to Christ, and led on with Christ through preaching.

The Preacher’s Catechism, Lewis Allen, Crossway, 2018, pg 62.


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The Joyous Preacher (via Lewis Allen)

The joyousness of the Christian life must be reflected in both the life and the message of the preacher.
From Lewis Allen:

Joy in Christ and his grace is the most convincing sign that the gospel has won our hearts. If we say we’ve been brought to Jesus and are his willing servants but live joyless lives, then there is a problem. If we preach out of a heavy sense of obligation, we are in trouble. And if we honestly believe that people will be won for Christ through our dutiful, even faithful and conscientious — but actually joyless — preaching, then we are deceiving ourselves. The whole world is looking for joy. The church is looking for it, too. And everyone’s looking at you. You’re the preacher, who’s supposed to have a message, even a life-transforming one. Are you being changed, then, in this one area that everyone longs for most of all? Are you a joyful preacher, whose words match the revolution you’re experiencing?

The Preacher’s Catechism, Lewis Allen, Crossway, 2018, pg 32.


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Loving The Subject Of Preaching More Than Loving The Action Of Preaching (via Lewis Allen)

Lewis Allen’s The Preacher’s Catechism is comprised of forty-three reflections based on catechism-style questions and answers aimed at preachers.
The chapters provide some doctrinal reflection and some personal reflection applications.
The first question: ‘What is God’s chief end in preaching?’
The answer to that question: ‘God’s chief end in preaching is to glorify his name.’
From Allen’s application of the theme.

What is your heartbeat? Do you love to preach, or do you love the One you preach? Do you love to prep your sermons, enjoying the hard mental and spiritual work, or do you love the One you are discovering more about? As Sunday comes, do you long to lift up the name of the triune God in your preaching, declaring the wonder of the three persons, or is your heart set on getting a bit more congregational love in your direction?
Our challenge as preachers is to remain lovers, to refuse to let our calling, however important and exciting, obscure our primary calling to be captivated ourselves by God’s love in Jesus Christ. We must teach others that God is love, and that life on earth is an invitation from heaven to know that love and to live in the light of it. Sermons that are mere information downloads are dry discourses and make for dry Christians, if Christians at all. Rather, we preach so that our hearers discover that the God of love has come to meet them in his Son.

The Preacher’s Catechism, Lewis Allen, Crossway, 2018, pg 30.