Monday, September 16, 2013

God's Own Lips

"Preaching is not talking about something. Preaching is not fundamentally education. It's not fundamentally learning about the Word of God. Although all of that will occur. Preaching is a man standing in the office, the office of the ministry which is given by the Lord himself through a congregation and he is presented there to speak the saving Word of Law and Gospel to the people who are set in front of him. He is to speak it as though it were God himself. Yes, God himself, God's own lips, speaking a word directly to people right in front of him...We have so little direct preaching of Law and Gospel these days that I am verily distraught.  And I wonder if at times, we preachers are preaching the Missouri Synod to death."  - LCMS president, Matthew Harrison, interviewed on Issues, Etc.
President Harrison's explanation about what good preaching is and why it matters is powerfully clear.  Listen to the passion in his voice during the interview with Rev. Todd Wilken and you will understand what I mean. 
The clear and powerful preaching of Law and Gospel feeds the lambs in the pastor's flock.  Sheep flock to worship for healing.  How will healing begin if the sheep are not  taught that their sins have forever severed them from God? Why should they repent if they believe they have done nothing wrong?  Preaching the Law does not mean nebulous allusions to distractions, overcommitted schedules and struggles. 
"These two points must be made: The Law creates a thirst and leads us to hell; the Gospel, however, satisfies the thirst and leads to heaven.  The Law states what we must do, but that we have fallen short of doing it, no matter how holy we may be.  Thus it produces uncertainty in me and arouses this thirst.”  -C.F.W. Walther, Law and Gospel

How will healing occur if the pastor talks about the Gospel, but does not preach the Gospel?  Hearing that your faith will grow tomorrow or next week or next month or during the course of the upcoming sermon series is not helpful and it's certainly not preaching the Gospel. At best that's a commercial for the Gospel.  At worst it leaves people without the healing balm of Christ's righteousness.
“Such a thirsty person must do only one thing: Drink, receive the comfort of the Gospel.  How a truly thirsty person is refreshed by even one small glass of water!”  -C.F.W. Walther, Law and Gospel

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