A Minister's Prayer - Part 3

"Yet I long that people might be edified with divine truth, that an honest testimony might be borne for Thee."

So reads the next section in the prayer "A Minister's Preaching" in the book Valley of Vision.  

Why do we preach?  Preaching, after all, seems to be considered by some to be suited to a former era.  Today we are to have conversations and tell stories.  One of our members told me that an unsaved friend recently shared that she liked listening to one well-known TV preacher because "He makes me feel better about myself."

In the end, we preach because people need to hear from God.  We, like the writer of the lines above, long that people might be edified with divine truth.  We want to see them grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, to see them mature in their faith, to see them live out the truth of Scripture in their lives. 

But that is not an easy thing.

When I graduated from Bible College I think I expected that people who were interested in spiritual growth would hear the things that God's word said and simply change.  I wish is was that easy.  In point of fact change in our lives takes time, and I've started comparing what we do when we preach to the way layers of newspaper and paste become a paper mache creation.  I can't create the final product, but I can add to the layers each week by God's help.

In the end, whether people feel good about themselves is hardly important.  What is important is that our people grow to be like Christ.  That's what it means to be edified.  There is no more important task.  May God give us a pastor's heart to long that our people be edified.


Don Johnson said...

Hi Peter,

I was listening to a taped sermon today where the preacher said there are basically three approaches to ministry. Some churches want people to Feel Good. (Seemingly the majority of evangelical churches today, sadly.) Other churches want people to Do Good. (This is the approach of the mainline liberal and ritualistic churches.) And last, Bible preaching churches want people to BE Good, something that only happens by grace.

And grace comes from hearing the word of God.

I thought of that comment in light of your last paragraph. I think that has to be the goal.

BTW, the preacher said that the liberal objective was better than the Feel Good objective. I thought that was a pretty interesting comment. I'll have to think that one over for a while.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Peter Bogert said...

Good thoughts, Don. Thanks!

Bob Robyn said...

Good point on preaching, Peter. I am getting read to re-read Packer's chapter called "These Inward Trials"
in "Knowing God".
Real change seems for me, anyway, to come slowly. Instant conversions do happen. Instant sanctifications apparently do not, so keep pounding away!

Victoria said...

I am an editor for Christian.com which is a social network dedicated to the christian community. As I look through your web site I feel a collaboration is at hand. I would be inclined to acknowledge your website offering it to our users as I'm sure our Christian reformed audience would benefit from what your site has to offer. I look forward to your thoughts or questions regarding the matter.

Vicky Silvers