A few weeks ago, I had the happy opportunity to preach the evening service at a friends church. Before the service, I, my friend (one of the pastors at the church), and three elders gathered for introductions and prayer. When my friend introduced me as a former seminary professor of preaching, one of the men asked me a very insightful question.
“What is the one thing you wanted all your students to remember and apply?”
He filled out what he was asking with a bit more explanation, the gist of which was, what, of all the things that might be covered in a class on preaching, did you most want to impress upon them the most indelibly. Like I said, it was a good question.
My answer was that “I would want them to remember that they have only one real audience to please–the Lord Jesus Christ. Preach to please Christ not your congregation. Pray and study and prepare to honor Him with your handling of His Holy word and leave the results to God.”
“I would want them to remember that they have only one real audience to please–the Lord Jesus Christ.
I was reminded of that conversation tonight as I was rereading a book I edited years ago called, “An Ordination Sermon by Robert M. McCheyne. McCheyne was writing about the faithful minister of the word of God must remember that he stands always “before God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” And then, two pages later, he wrote these words.
“How often we feel we are before man. . . . but oh! how sweet to feel in the presence of God, as if there were no eye on us but God’s.”
Yes. Yes it is.
Pray for your pastors.
Pray that they would become lost in the pleasure of pleasing God as they open the word of life to you.
Pray that they would forget themselves and delight in HIM.
Pray that they would be more interested in pleasing Jesus than pleasing you or any party, faction, ethnic group, gender or friend. Pray that they would be bold to stand for the truth of Jesus above all groups.
As God answers your prayers, you will be protected from the passing follies of the age, Christ will be exalted and your application of the truth exposited will bring glory to HIM. Pray that he would preach “as if there were no eye on him but God’s”.