The Lord be with you
One of the joy-filled pressures of the Holy Ministry is the proclamation of God’s Word each Sunday through the sermon. It is an awesome responsibility, one for which the Lord God himself will hold every minister accountable for on the Last Day. Did we faithfully proclaim what he wanted preached? Sadly, many will not be pleased with the grade given them. That grade will not be based on style but on content. A great speaker can say the most worthless things, and a stammer can say the most sublime things (just think of Moses (Exodus 4:10) and the clever lies of the false teachers during the time of the Apostolic Church (Galatians 1:6-10).) What we are to preached is summarized by our Lord when he appeared to the Apostles after his resurrection.
[A]nd when [Jesus] had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld” (John 20:22-23).
Concerning this verse, Luther once observed:
I, as a preacher and ambassador of Christ, have no business teaching you about home economics, or agriculture, or about marital rules, or about nutrition, or other things. For these things God has endowed you with reason, and has ordained others to teach you about them, such as lawyers and others who are knowledgeable in temporal matters. My mandate and realm of authority concern sin alone, to teach you that you ought to have eternally perished because of your sins, but that Christ paid for them and made satisfaction for them, and how you, through faith in him, can be freed from your sins; but when you continue in sin, not believing in Christ, then you must be damned and be eternally and irretrievably lost. (Sermon preached on Easter 2, 1531)
To put this same thought in the words of Saint Paul, taken from his first letter to the Corinthians, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). Now that doesn’t mean the minister can’t preach about marriage, but he needs to preach about Christ in our marriages. We can preach about family, but we need to preach about Christ in our families. We can even preach about politics, but we need to preach about Christ in politics. Such messages are always to lift high Jesus as Savior, Redeemer, Lord. When the sermons cave into “Five rules for [marriage, family, politics, etc.] with no mention of Christ as Savior and Redeemer, then God is not pleased, no matter how clever the message might be. Then the preacher needs to repent and receive forgiveness, which our Lord is more than willing to give, and return to the heart of our message, Jesus.
Blessings in the name of Jesus