All biblical preaching should accomplish several things. Number one: it should speak to the believer in such a way that it urges him to be conformed to the image of Christ so that the believer doesn’t say, Well it’s just enough for me to get saved and squeak by into heaven. No, I want to be more godly. I want to be more like Jesus. I want to be conformed to the image of God so I want to imitate the Father. I want to be conformed to the image of the Son, and I want to submit to the mind of the Holy Spirit. In biblical preaching, you aim to mature the believer, you aim to arrest the unbeliever, and you aim to glorify God by bringing his Word.
It’s a Trinitarian conformity. The Holy Spirit reveals his mind through the Word, so I really want to be more Word-centered. In biblical preaching, I come out of the sermon and go into my work week hopefully more and more biblically oriented, more and more Christ conformed, more and more like the triune God. “Be holy as I am holy.”
Jealous for Life with Christ
I think that’s the passion that the preacher ought to have for God’s people. And then for the unbeliever that’s sitting in the pew, the Biblical preaching should make him feel uncomfortable if he doesn’t have the Lord Jesus Christ, but it should also make him jealous if he doesn’t have the Lord Jesus Christ—that he’s missing what life is all about.
And so in biblical preaching, you aim for conviction of sin for the ungodly, the unbeliever, but you also aim to show him what he’s missing and to create, with the Spirit’s blessing, a hunger in him for the rich glorious things of God.
In biblical preaching, you aim to mature the believer, you aim to arrest the unbeliever, and you aim to glorify God by bringing his Word.
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.
Joel R. Beeke (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) has written over one hundred books. He is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, a pastor of the Heritage Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as well as the editor of Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, the editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, the president of Inheritance Publishers, and vice president of the Dutch Reformed Translation Society.