God's Hungry Children
A.W. Tozer wrote in the preface of his outstanding book, The Pursuit of God (p8), "It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the kingdom [the church], to see God's children starving while actually seated at the Father's table."
What he was getting at was that the preaching of the Word of God was not accomplishing what it was supposed to, nor yielding the kind of Christian it should.
Tozer wrote those words in 1948. Seventy years ago! If that was the case then, it could surely be said of the church still today.
Paul's admonition to Timothy to "Preach the Word" (2 Timothy 4:2) and Paul's example of preaching "the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27) are thoughts that should dominate the hearts of the man of God who stands behind the sacred desk and the sacred text. But for what end?
While I am by no means an expert preacher, my heart's desire is to grow in this art, not only in methodology, but in content, and in effectiveness, as God allows me to be used. In that sense, I offer a few thoughts for every preacher to ponder.
Proper preaching of sound theology should be accompanied by proper adoration of God.
Theology should not be stale in its presentation, nor in its application. When properly given, it should produce in the hearer a sense of worship and awe of God as a result. We praise God because he is sovereign, holy, good, loving, eternal, etc. It is important to think properly about God, but it is also important to couple proper theology with worship. When people see God's glorious majesty, they cannot help but worship him. This was the case with Moses, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and John.
Proper preaching of sound theology should urge proper affection for God.
It is possible to know much about God while hating him. Just consider Satan. Sound theology does not automatically produce proper affection for God, yet the preacher should urge such a response. What other God is worthy to love than Jehovah? How foolish is it to know about God yet to abandon him as unworthy to be loved? Our call is to love God with a love that is exclusive, unrivaled love.
Proper preaching of sound theology should call for proper activity for God.
We do not preach merely for information, but for transformation. This transformation is inward, but it will produce outward changes as well. A changed life is a result of a changed heart. When Paul saw Christ on the road to Damascus, his immediate response was activity, "what do you want me to do, Lord?" While we cannot make anyone do anything, we should ask thought provoking questions to our sheep and lead them to make better choices for the glory of God. Doers of the Word are the ones who are blessed rather than merely hearers.
I heard it said once that "Fed Sheep Don't Stray." Whether that is true in every case, I know not, but it is a good thought, nonetheless. Are you feeding God's flock the Word of God, calling for proper adoration, affection, and activity for God? Are you growing in these things yourself?
Let's be men of God and men of the Word, and prayerfully seek God's face to feed the flock of God that is among us in a faithful way, for the glory of God.