Preaching as a Picture of the Gospel

3 Jan

We often hear the phrase “preaching the gospel” but have you ever thought that the act of preaching is itself a picture of the gospel? Ray Ortlund explains, from a recent interview . . .

“Preaching not only communicates the Gospel, it exemplifies the Gospel. A preacher stands up, who is just as needy as anyone else, but God has called him. And God has called the people to sit and do nothing, but just listen. Just receive it. That’s a metaphor of the gospel itself. We just listen, sit there listen and believe, just receive it. And that’s the big burner at the center of the church.”

In our culture, which chafes at the idea of sitting under authority, the idea Ortlund describes is not a popular one. People don’t like the idea that they should just sit there and let somebody else talk to them for 30 minutes or more. In our day, people want to be participants. Many people will check out of church if they are not really involved in a lot of things in the church. There are even some people who will come to a Sunday School class, where they can participate, but not to worship, where they are just called to listen.

I believe the unwillingness to hear preaching evident in some circles is deeply related to the above quote from Ortlund. We don’t see hearing the sermon as a picture of the Gospel, which we received with empty hands of faith. Further, there is a tendency to look at the preacher as the authority rather than the Scripture he preaches.

So this Sunday, and every Sunday you sit and listen to the sermon, you are not doing something useless. You are living a picture of the gospel, as God’s Word feeds you.

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