In the next verse, we’re going to take the Preaching 101 class provided to us by way of the Apostle Paul. Well alright, it isn’t necessarily a class. He summed it all up in one powerful sentence.
There’s that, and a lot more to talk about in verse five, so let’s get started.
2 Corinthians 4:
5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
4 Step Preaching Heartset
In verse 5, the Apostle Paul gives us an order, or a sequence, as it relates to how something is to be preached.
- We Preach not Ourselves
- But Christ Jesus the Lord
- Ourselves Your Servants
- For Jesus’ Sake
We Preach not Ourselves
I’ve heard many preachers refer to themselves to make a greater point I’ve done that several times here on this site myself. Paul does it all over the place throughout his epistles.
But that shouldn’t be mistaken for becoming the focus of the sermon or message. Making a personal reference is only done because there have been experiences to draw from, that relate to the message that the Lord is conveying to whoever’s listening about himself, not the orator.
If the Lord has given someone a revelation, and they share it, the glory goes to God not the messenger, right? These are things that the Lord has placed into his Word, to give us a hand in weeding out those who are serving the Lord or serving themselves. Those who preach themselves rather than Christ.
No matter how someone is delivering a message…
If the focus and glory go to the Father, Son, or the Holy Ghost, the pastor, preacher, or whoever, is not preaching themselves, but the Lord Jesus.
If the pastor, preacher or whoever is magnified by the end of the sermon, then you guessed it- they’re preaching themselves, rather than Christ.
Ourselves Your Servants
The opposite should be going on. The orator shouldn’t ever become magnified if they’re doing things right, by anything that they’re conveying. The Father is the one who magnifies if he deems fit, not ourselves.
Paul says that the preacher is YOUR servant. Isn’t that interesting? Not God’s servant, though that is still true, but your servant.
For Jesus’ Sake
And there is no other reason given for this except for the biggest reason, that it is for the sake of Christ Jesus.
Not for my sake, not for your sake, but Christ’s sake. I’ve learned over the years, that being a servant to the most unsavory of people is a whole lot easier when placed in the perspective of doing it for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ.
That’s how Jesus did things, and wants things to be done. If it was fit for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, then it’s certainly fit for me as well.
Someone preaching who is right on with the Lord will preach Christ Jesus, will do so as your servant because the message is that service to you. Christ will be preached to bless you for Christ’s sake, not their own.
Serving Jesus through Interactions with Others
There are people who preach, and people or a congregation who receive sermons (including preachers in one way or another). But not everyone is a preacher, nor called to do so.
You don’t have to be a preacher, a minister, or anything else but what the Lord has called you to be, to live out the 4 principals that Paul listed above.
Preach not yourself:
There isn’t a single thing that you can do, without the Lord. Any measure of success that you’ll ever have or find, is by the grace of God. That doesn’t mean that he did everything for you, or everything’s come easy for you. But all good things come from the Father.
Give Him the glory for everything, and remain humble concerning any victories you have. This pleases the Father, as genuine humility irradicates pride.
But Christ Jesus the Lord:
No matter what the Lord has called you to do, if you’re saved and cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb, then you’re under the authority of the Lord Christ Jesus. You are not your own. You’ve been bought for a great price, and you are in the service of Jesus.
Some may acknowledge that they’re in his service, but are they at his service? Talk is cheap, and the Father looks for availability at heart over ability any day of the week. What good is ability if someone doesn’t make themselves available to the Lord to be used as he wills?
In the Bible is an example after example, where the Lord found a willing heart to do his bidding, rather than an able body. He can make someone able to do anything with merely a thought, but he can’t infringe upon our free will, because he won’t nullify that which he’s established through His Word.
In all that we do, do it for the glory of God as we discussed above, and in service of the Lord Jesus Christ- our crucified and risen, Lord.
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