Becoming Less in the Pulpit (And Gospel Labors Generally)

It is essential in preparing to preach to always be mindful of my own sinfulness, humanity, weaknesses, inadequacies, brokenness, and dependency, so that I might always in my heart exalt the Christ who is, Himself, the heart and center of the body of Christ, the One to be exalted in the sermon and exulted in by us all, the Lord who unites His body, the King who by His dying commands our newness of life, the Savior who is our hope against sin and death and hell, etc.  I talk of this often; I fear that I seldom think more of Him in the pulpit and afterwards than myself — Oh, God, have mercy upon my impoverished soul.  I do not want, I repeat, I do not want anyone to ever in anyway come away from any sermon that I ever preach idolizing me, the very thing that Paul fought against in Corinth, the very thing that serves to distract the heart from its highest object of affection and fullest joy.  I do so want to hide away in the glory of Christ preached.  I do want Christ to be at the center of their affections.  I fear that so few are full of joy because they do not hear Christ preaching to them but suffice themselves with a weak man only.  And, this is largely due to that weak man who would, like me, often think more of himself than Christ in his preparation, delivery and remembrance of the sermon.  As far as I am concerned, may it never be!  Oh God, may it never be again!  Help me to make much of Christ, really, personally, thoroughly, prayerfully, until Christ is my only boast, sincerely and retrospectively.  May Christ’s church be rallied around the Head, that is, Christ alone.  And, may my preparation aim at this, my prayers plead for this as a matter of personal reality and corporate goal, my preaching accomplish this with all sincerity, my retrospective conversation only reaffirming Him, and my pushing forward time and again into new sermons reappropriating the same exclusive passion for Christ and Him crucified.  Thus, to be aided in this respect, introspection according to my resolutions on the Saturday prior to the Lord’s Day is quite important.  Oh, God, help me to be annoyingly repetitive in my speaking of my sweet Savior.

 

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