Tasting the Word of God
Biblical preaching moves the hearer from head to heart and from the ethereal to the experiential by focusing on what the believer actually encounters when he really experiences or tastes this doctrine. As Jeremiah said, “I did eat the Word of God, it was sweet—sweeter than a honeycomb in my life.”
Take the doctrine of the intercession of Christ—a very underrated doctrine in all kinds of Christian branches today. But it is an amazing doctrine. He ever lives to make intercession for his people! If you’re a believer, that means for you. So what does it look like to preach that doctrine to the head and what does it look like to preach it to the heart? It touches not just the intellectual fiber of your brain, but it penetrates the depths of your heart.
To preach to the head, a pastor might say:
Dear congregation, we’ve got this wonderful doctrine here that Jesus intercedes for believers in heaven. He’s praying for you and that means that he’s praying for you constantly. He’s praying for you in intercessory fashion; laying on his knees before the Father, and that’s very encouraging.
Preaching that way would be good, sound, and biblical, but if you preach it to the heart, you get a preacher with a lot more passion and you’re going to enter into the experience of the people of God as they encounter that doctrine in their own lives.
Preaching this way might sound like:
Dear congregation, I want to set before you this incredible doctrine of the intercession of Jesus Christ for his people. Do you realize that in Hebrew 7:25 it says Jesus ever lives to make intercession for saints. Do you know what that means? It means every single second he’s at the right hand of the Father interceding for you—carrying you from moment to moment to moment. Is there anything more comforting than that?
When you come to your wit’s end, you feel like you can’t even pray anymore, you’re in great trial, you’re overwhelmed, and you don’t know where to go, you just cry out to him, Lord Jesus, intercede for me. I can’t pray for myself. I can no more than cry out ‘Lord help me!’
And then you bask in this comfort, knowing that he’ll help you through because he’s interceding for you moment by moment. Have you ever been there? Have you ever experienced that joy, that power, the comfort of the intercession of Christ? This is a glorious doctrine, my friend. He’s always praying for you.
When you preach it that way, it touches not just the intellectual fiber of your brain, but it penetrates the depths of your heart. You remember those times when you were in great need and you reflect on the times when you cried out for him to pray for you. You’ll then think, That preacher knows what’s going on in my heart. He’s preaching from my head to my heart.
This is a guest article by Joel Beeke, author of Reformed Preaching: Proclaiming God’s Word from the Heart of the Preacher to the Heart of His People. This post originally appeared on crossway.org; used with permission.