This semester I was able to take Homiletics 2 at TBS. I have much to learn and much room to grow in the realm of preaching, so I was happy to take this course.
One of the great conversations we had in class this year was on the topic of the need to be preaching the Word of God rather than opinions or topics that may or may not relate to the revealed truth of the Word.
Over the course of the conversation, Dr Penhearow pointed out this pastoral bit of wisdom that I’ve thought about much ever since:
The needs of the congregation may in fact be different than even they think.
The point is this: Only God the Spirit, who searches hearts, knows our needs. Sometimes in the midst of our problems we think we know what we need; in reality, however, only God knows. If we, as pastors, try to interpret people’s lives so as to determine what they ‘need’ to hear, we’ll get it wrong.
If we can’t discern the needs of our own heart, how can we hope to do just that for the congregation we don’t know as well as ourselves?
If, however, we preach the God-inspired Word, then God will be faithful to address his people’s needs. He knows them already and he has given the Word precisely to meet those needs. When we preach the Word of God, the Spirit of God will accomplish all the purposes of God in the people of God.
As preachers, all we need to do is ‘eat the scroll.’ God will apply according to his grace and the needs of his people. There is no promise in Scripture that God will work through my thoughts according to his will; there are plenty of promises in Scripture that God will work through his Word.
That’s our hope as preachers–that God would work, because only he sees true needs.