I’m almost finished with Al Martin’s recent book, Preaching in the Holy Spirit (Reformation Heritage Books, 2011). I came across the following section about 15 pages before the book’s end, and found it insightful, challenging, and worth noting here on my blog.
In Martin’s chapter entitled, “Restrained or Diminished Measure,” he writes of different areas of the preacher’s life and study that could, in some measure, grieve the Spirit, stifling his powerful work in the act of preaching. Martin writes, “The Holy Spirit is grieved when there is an insufficient measure of preaching Christ in our sermonic endeavors” (p. 49).
Noting that it is the Spirit’s delight, “To make the person and work of Christ understood, cherished, and believingly embraced in the hearts of men,” Martin offers the following questions to aid in evaluating whether one’s sermon was centralized on, and saturated with, Christ:
- “Where was the person and work of Christ in [my] sermon?
- “Have I traced back to Christ, the source of all grace and power for sufficiency to perform the duty, all the duties I have articulated?
- Have I drawn motives for obedience from our hearers’ relationship to Christ?
- Have I traced back to Christ, who is the great fountainhead of all redemptive privilege, the privileges of grace I have expounded?
Martin concludes this section stating, “When we move away from the nerve center of all truth, namely the person and work of the Lord Jesus, we grieve the Spirit of Christ. While it is neither biblical nor realistic to expect that Christ must be the explicit focus of every sermon we preach, it is biblical and realistic to expect that every sermon we preach will something of the savor of the person and work of Christ” (pp. 51-52, emphasis mine).
Do you make it a regular practice in your preaching and teaching to ensure that Christ be at the center? How do you go about this? Or, if you disagree with this emphasis, why?
I’ll be posting a full review of Preaching in the Holy Spirit in the days to come.
Read inside (PDFs): Sample Pages