Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Glory of God and Preaching

One of my many privileges as a student at The Master's Seminary is sitting under excellent preaching on a fairly regular basis. Last week I was -- get this -- required to attend the Shepherds' Conference. (Those are the kinds of requirements I can deal with!) At the conference, Al Mohler preached a message on John chapter 9, where the man born blind is healed by Jesus. And he taught us that the entire chapter hinges upon Jesus' response to the disciples' question about why the man was born blind, namely: It was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. Dr. Mohler went on to emphasize that that is the very reason that everything is the way it is. When people say, "Everything happens for a reason," this is that reason. The answer to the question, "Why?" is in John 9:3. And then he specifically related that to pastoral ministry. I pray you'll be as benefited as I was.

Everything is as it is on purpose. And that purpose is that the works of God might be displayed. Our God is about putting Himself on display!

There are no little texts because everything exists to display the glory of God. God does everything to His own glory, and therefore God says everything to His own glory. This ought to shape how you read your Bible and how you preach to your congregation! (Or, if you're not a preacher, it should shape how you handle Scripture in general, how you speak truth to your neighbor [Eph 4:25], how you counsel people, how you encourage people, how you evangelize.)

"The reason the cosmos exists -- everything that exists -- all the billions of stars, all the infinitude of expanding space, all that we can measure and all that is immeasurable -- it all exists for one purpose alone!" And that is that God determined to magnify His work and His worth by saving a people through the blood of His Son!

What explains all that is and ever has been? The answer is that the works of God might be displayed. That God might display Himself.

If you don't know that everything exists to display the glory of God, including every text of the Bible, then you cannot have any grasp of authorial intent, which is the cornerstone of our exegesis. In every passage of Scripture, God's authorial intent is to display the glory of His majesty, the beauty of His manifold perfections. If you don't know that, if you don't believe that, if you don't love that, well then like Dr. Mohler says: don't preach.

This knowledge of God's ultimate purpose in all that He does in all of history is what drives our ministry. "Because we know," he says, "we preach." Because it has been given to us to know that the most glorious Being in the universe has so acted as to display the beauty of that glory most fully in everything that happens -- and supremely in the sacrifice of His own Son for sinners -- we can't help but open our mouths and tell people about it! We believe, therefore we speak (2Cor 4:13)!

He goes on to give the implications of this truth for pastoral ministry. He says:
  • We are to stake our lives on this truth
  • We are to establish our ministries on this truth
  • Believing this truth demands that we will have a high view of God
  • Believing this truth will ensure that we preach a God-centered Gospel
  • This truth will drive our conviction
  • This truth will fuel our passion
  • This truth is as life unto us
  • And that will affect our preaching!
For the love of God, brothers, preach, speak, teach, live, act, counsel, minister like you know that God's purpose in everything that He does is to display His glory! Look at every single person that you minister to in your church, look at every single circumstance of your life, and recognize that they are there so that the works of God might be displayed in Jesus Christ to His glory in all things!

Do we believe this or not?

Dear Jesus, open our eyes.

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