Our Miraculous Bible
Something that is easily forgotten is the absolute privilege it is to have the opportunity to teach God’s life-giving Word to people. Consider a couple passages that give us the Bible’s perspective on itself, or really, God’s perspective on the Bible:
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
The Bible isn’t some dead book of human philosophy and logic. The Bible is God’s Word. God blesses the proclamation of the propositions and statutes of the Bible with the power of the Holy Spirit. He blesses it with the granting of spiritual, emotional, and even physical healing. He uses it to renew sinful and unhelpful thought patterns people hold, enabling them to realize their God-given potential, and live the life of worshipful satisfaction God created them to live (Romans 12:1-3).
Our Epic Privilege
For preachers, here’s the amazing part—God lets you be the delivery boy of His life-changing, powerful, transformational Word! And what’s more, He brings real human beings who utterly and desperately need what God only does through the preaching, teaching, and application of His Word to you, that they might experience its blessings as it comes to them from your mouth! If that doesn’t amaze you, you’re dead. Seriously, if that’s old news to you, check your pulse, ask someone to pinch you, or something, because it is an unbelievable privilege that a fellow wretch of the human race like you has the honor to be used in such a way.
Signs of Amnesia
Sometimes I get spiritual amnesia regarding the privilege of preaching. I know when I’ve forgotten what a privilege it is to be a communicator of God’s life-changing gospel, and Bible. I begin concerning myself with not looking like an idiot and communicating eloquently, more than God doing whatever the people need through me, when prepping for sermons. I find myself sensing the desire to get harsh with the people when they don’t show up enough, serve enough, give enough, or whatever. I start behaving as if they owe it to me to be at church to hear my sermons, and so on.
The Hidden World of the Heart
Thankfully, as God matures me spiritually and in a ministerial sense, these ridiculous attitudes are far less common than they were when I first became a pastor. Recently, I’ve been appreciating the privilege of preaching and pastoring so much more too. The other day I heard the testimony of a person who confessed that they were literally on the brink of suicide before God brought them to our church, and began ministering to them through His Word in our ministry. I was struck in the heart! After hearing it I said out loud to our other leaders, “It’s amazing what you don’t know about people.” And it is.
Pastors, (as well as Sunday school teachers, kids’ ministry workers, parents, and all other Bible communicators) if you’ve forgotten that you are doing what you do solely by an act of divine grace, let me lovingly remind you that the people in your church owe you nothing. They aren’t your people, they are your privilege. There is an entire world of pain, joy, confusion, optimism, plans, and panic going on under the skin of every person alive, including your hearers. The hidden world of the heart needs to be impressed on your mind when you prepare your sermons, deliver your sermons, and pray over your sermons. People are needy, and God’s Word is their need. Humble yourself, and give it to them with the concern of your passionate High Priest, Jesus. Care more that they walk away from your sermon with their true spiritual needs met, rather than a high opinion of you and “your church.” May our great consuming passion be that people get what they truly need from our preaching, rather than that ourselves and ministry be made much of. Again, the people are our privilege. Preaching is our privilege.