The Chief End of Preaching
The spiritual power transmitted by Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ preaching grew out of his own transcendent view of God. No man’s preaching can rise any higher than his view of God. The sheer genius of Lloyd-Jones’ preaching was based in the towering knowledge of God he possessed and proclaimed. The more he exalted God in the pulpit, the higher the people rose in their worship of God. He was constantly magnifying the glory of God and leading his listeners to behold His greatness and grace.
In 1969, Lloyd-Jones delivered a series of lectures on preaching at Westminster Theological Seminary. There, he asserted:
Preaching is first of all a proclamation of the being of God . . . preaching worthy of the name starts with God and with a declaration concerning His being and power and glory. You find that everywhere in the New Testament. That was precisely what Paul did in Athens—“Him declare I unto you.” “Him”! Preaching about God, and contrasting Him with the idols, exposing the emptiness and the acuity and uselessness of idols.
The preaching that begins with God, Lloyd-Jones affirmed, is worthy of divine approbation. This is precisely where he chose to focus his expositions. The Doctor looked for the grandeur of God in every text and sought to magnify Him above all else. He was constantly elevating God to the highest priority in his pulpit ministry. Even as he listened to other men preach, he was willing to overlook their mediocre delivery or disorganized presentation if the man could simply convey a true sense of the greatness of God.
I can forgive a man a bad sermon, I can forgive the preacher almost anything if he gives me a sense of God, if he gives me something for my soul, if he gives me the sense that though he is inadequate in himself, he is handling something which is very great and glorious, if he gives me some dim glimpse of the majesty and glory of God, the love of Christ my Saviour, and the magnificence of the gospel. If he does that, I am his debtor, and I am profoundly grateful to him.
Lloyd-Jones believed the focus of the sermon is to unveil God. Asking himself the question, “What is the chief end of preaching?” he succinctly answered, “I like to think it is this. It is to give men and women a sense of God and His presence.” This is the very essence of what Lloyd-Jones understood authentic preaching to be. He believed it is to be an exaltational exposition, that is, preaching that is always exalting God.
This excerpt is taken from The Passionate Preaching of Martyn Lloyd-Jones by Steven Lason.