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“What is the chief end of preaching?...It is to give men and women a sense of God and His presence.” D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers
On Sunday Pastor Josh began a new preaching series from the book of Acts. Giving reasons for why we will start with the first verse of the first chapter and finish with the last verse of the last chapter, Pastor Josh stated that we open God’s Word and systematically walk through it because of these core convictions:
1. The Centrality of the Pulpit: we believe the church is built on the preaching of God’s Word. The pulpit is central because the Word is central because Jesus is central in the Word.
2. Expositional Preaching: the point of the text is the point of the message.
3. Verse by Verse Preaching: we preach God’s agenda and not our own. The Bible determines what we preach.
The point of this post is to focus on the first of these core convictions, the centrality of the pulpit.
The centrality of the pulpit, as Pastor Josh indicated, is not about the man who is speaking, but rather the message from God delivered by sinful yet qualified men as mediators of that gospel message. Ultimately, preaching is worship and is a sacred service from servants of God aiming at His being glorified among His people and His world.
The conviction that the pulpit is central hinges on the conviction that preaching is worship, and that reality springs forth from the Scriptures itself: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1 & 1:14).” Jesus is the Word. We preach Christ when we preach the Word. And when we preach the Word it is worship because we see His glory, full of grace and truth. This is why the pulpit is central, the most important thing we do all week together as a faith family.
Luke, the author of Acts, records that Jesus commenced His ministry in the power of the Spirit by teaching in the “synagogues, being glorified by all (Luke 4:14-15).” He then went to Nazareth, reading from Isaiah, then preaching Himself as the fulfillment and truth of that text, and people marveled (Luke 4:16-22). The pulpit is central in the life of our church because proclaiming the Scriptures and explaining them was at the center of Christ’s ministry. Jesus inaugurated His ministry and continued His ministry by preaching because this was the very mission His Father had sent Him to do, and that He in turn charged His disciples with: “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you (John 20:21b).” What were Jesus and then His disciples sent out to do? They were to go in authority to all nations making disciples by baptizing and “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you (Matthew 28:20a).” The pulpit is central because, in obedience to this passage, we proclaim week by week all that the triune God, through the Word, has commanded us.
Preaching (the pulpit) is central at Lake Murray Baptist because we follow the example of our Savior, proclaim our Savior, and worship our Savior as we gather weekly around the Word to glorify and marvel at our Redeemer.