Awhile back I was discussing with a friend how things were going in his church. Overall, he and his wife are happy where they are. It wasn’t long before the conversation turned to the preaching that we hear from our pastors every week. We agreed that if the sermons being preached are “Christ-Centered,” and that the gospel is consistently believed, preached, and lived, then all the other things that can irritate Christians about their home churches should (normally) not be enough to throw in the towel and go church-shopping.
What struck me after our conversation was that we both assumed we were talking about the same thing when we referred to preaching that is “Christ-Centered.” In fact, I still find it difficult to describe what I mean by preaching that is centered on Christ without resorting to theological seminary-speak. So what should a Christ-centered sermon be like?
- It should not be moralistic
- It should not be legalistic
- It should not be antinomian (grace without law)
- It should primarily point us to Jesus Christ as Savior, not merely as a coach, example, or buddy
- It should not be deemed acceptable in a synagogue or a mosque
But this quick list is really what to look for and avoid. It doesn’t go very far in telling us what exactly is a Christ-centered sermon. Enter Bryan Chapell.
Bryan Chapell is president and professor at Covenant Theological Seminary. He is also a popular speaker/preacher and wrote a manual for preachers called Christ-Centered Preaching (how convenient!). Recently he gave a series of lectures at Westminster Theological Seminary where he condensed the content of his book for your listening pleasure. These lectures are not just instruction for preachers and seminary students. They are also very helpful for all Christians in learning what they should be hearing from the pulpit in their churches week in and week out. Sermons that are focused and centered on the person and work of Christ as he is offered to us in the gospel should be the steady diet of every Christian. Listen to these mp3 audio lectures (or read his book) and see if you are really starving for the gospel of grace and don’t even realize it!
- Hope for the Useless
- The Power of a New Identity
- The Hope of Christ-Centered Preaching
- The Heart of Christ-Centered Preaching