“People are starving for the greatness of God,” observes John Piper, “but most of them would not give this diagnosis of their troubled lives. The majesty of God is an unknown cure. There are far more popular prescriptions on the market, but the benefit of any other remedy is brief and shallow. Thus preaching that does not have the aroma of God’s greatness may entertain for a season, but it will not touch the hidden cry of the soul: ‘Show me your glory.’” Our greatest need, as we walk through the wilderness of this present age, is to see what the Apostle John saw on the Isle of Patmos — a glimpse of the glory of God.
Yet, as preachers we want to connect with the congregation, don’t we? We want to be relevant. We want to meet our flocks where they are. We have heard the protests for more “practical sermons.” These critics desire sermons that instruct on “how I can be a better self,” “how I can deal with stress in my life,” or “how I can be more successful.” And so, acquiescing to these laments, therapy has replaced theology in much contemporary preaching. The self has acquired center stage, and God, if He is there at all, has been marginalized. The focus has shifted from God, who He is and what He has done, to self and our activity, our needs, and our experiences. The assumption, of course, is that theology is not practical, that the study of God is irrelevant for our daily lives. But nothing could be further from the truth. What our people need is God-centered preaching.