Preaching Seminar 101
Epiphany 2 Trinity Lutheran Church
15 January 2017 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
Wow! The Lord has sent you the best preacher ever. No, not Kuhlman. Good grief! He’s a joke. You’ve had to suffer with his unbearable pathetic, pitiful, feeble, country bumpkin preaching for almost 20 years. Why you endure it I’ll never know. No doubt, you’ll be so thankful when I finally call it quits and retire. What’s that? Are the ushers taking donations for my retirement bash? I understand. Really, I do. Be generous I beg you. Thanks be to God that today you are given to hear a most magnificent preacher! One of the best! Not me. But the desert preacher named John the Baptist!
Why? Why is he the best? Why did the Lord send him today?
Glad you asked. It is because John preaches not himself but … JESUS! He delivers Jesus to ears and hearts. And not just any Jesus but the Jesus who comes to rescue and redeem sinners from all their sin and all its eternal damnation as the one and only sacrifice that reconciles sinners to God. Today, John offers a homiletical seminar. Let’s call it: PREACHING JESUS 101!
Preachers today desperately need to learn all over again how to preach from John. And the pew sitters need to learn from John what to expect from the pulpit and demand it from the preachers. Too many sermons are Jesus-less! Christ-less! Lamb of God-less! Jesus as the Savior of sinners is MIA in most sermons. Jesus has been partially or totally absented from the pulpit!
When they don’t preach Jesus preachers roam around in order to entertain. They tickle ears. The old Adam never has to die. The sinful flesh lives on. Gets stronger. Takes over. In modern American preaching there’s never any blood on the floor – namely, the blood of Lamb of God Jesus shed for sinners! What would you do if the preacher never delivered Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins but instead preached endless principles to help you reach your potential? Hmm? Do you even care? Would you even notice? That’s what I thought! See, you’re part of the preaching crisis too! The preachers don’t know what to preach and you don’t know what they should preach.
That’s exactly why God sends John! Jesus must be preached. This is God’s unthwartable will! After all, Jesus has come to die for sinners. To be sacrificed and shed His Blood to cleanse sinners from all sin. Sins they commit. Sins committed against them. In addition, the old sinful Adam must die. And be buried. So that the new man spelled:
F-A-I-T-H can emerge and arise – trusting in Jesus for salvation. The Lord sends preachers to preach Jesus so that you, the sinner, will believe in Jesus the SAVIOR OF SINNERS! The Lord wants believers. He will have a church – His hangers on. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word [or preaching] of Christ,” (Romans 10:17)!
Listen once again to John’s exquisite sermon. It’s categorical. Unequivocal. Promissorial! That is to say: Full blast promise from the Lord TO and FOR YOU: “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” The next day he preaches Jesus again. “Behold the Lamb of God.” He means that Jesus is Lamb of God FOR YOU! He’s come to die FOR YOU! To take away all your sin! Bear it in His Body on the cross. Sacrificing Himself FOR YOU. Yes, your sins – you name them – no matter how bad or good — are His, not yours! They all belong to Him, not you! All! Every one! Really! It’s absolutely true.
That’s exactly why John preaches Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan. “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.” John’s point is that Jesus is the Messiah. The Spirit-filled Savior. “He is the Son of God” John proclaimed. As Son of God or Lamb of God His cup of tea is to shed His divine Blood on the cross. His Blood cleanses you / purifies you from all sin.
Now that’s superb preaching! His preaching drives Christ home! Such preaching creates faith in Jesus / creates hangers on of Jesus. Or to put it another way – Jesus has for Himself a church through the preaching of Jesus. Two, one named Andrew and another not named (could he be St. John the Evangelist himself?) hang on to Jesus. They “follow Jesus.” They want to be with Him. “Where are you staying?” “Come,” Jesus replies, “and you will see.”
Jesus does His Lamb of God work. He fellowships with sinners. Takes them into His home. Receives them at His table. He has come for them. He has come to save them. Precious to Him!
After spending the day with Jesus, Andrew can’t help himself. It’s what believers do. It comes quite naturally. He tells others of Jesus. He too drives Jesus home. Andrew races to his brother Simon Peter and proclaims: “We have found the Messiah,” (the Christ / the long awaited Savior). And he brings him straight away to Jesus.
There you have it. Jesus is preached. He’s the Lamb of God. He takes away the sin of the world. He’s answered for yours too. “Come and see.” Spend a little more time with Him today at His Table according to His gracious invitation. Eat His Body. Drink His Blood. Given and shed FOR YOU. FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF ALL YOUR SIN. Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
And with that Jesus is driven home.
In addition, double bonus round, I’ve learned to be a better preacher from John’s PREACHING SEMINAR 101. Perhaps, you will let me do it a little longer here at Trinity. Take a few more at bats or a few more snaps. I’ll try not to make a hash out it. That way you can keep adding to the retirement fund you started today. And, finally, you will expect and demand to hear Jesus preached that way – Jesus driven home as the Lamb of God FOR YOU. It doesn’t get any better than that!
In the Name of Jesus.