We must never assume the gospel. We must always assume that those we serve need to hear the gospel yet again. Any sermon we preach is incomplete and insufficient until we explicitly reference Christ and him crucified.
In the book A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life, J.I Packer writes,
The preachers’ commission is to declare the whole counsel of God; but the cross is the centre of that counsel, and the Puritans knew that the traveller through the Bible landscape misses his way as soon as he loses sight of the hill called Calvary.
Every sermon must have a sighting of the hill called Calvary, because each passage of Scripture points us to the cross. In Christ-Centered Preaching, Bryan Chapell writes,
In its context, every passage possesses one or more of four redemptive foci. Every text is predictive of the work of Christ, preparatory for the work of Christ, reflective of the work of Christ, and/or resultant of the work of Christ.
And because every text of Scripture points us to the cross, every topic should likewise point us to the cross. Thomas Jones says, “No doctrine of Scripture may faithfully be set before men unless it is displayed in its relationship to the cross.”
The message of the cross is central to the commission of the preacher, is to be on display in every sermon, is cultivated from every text of Scripture, and is embedded within every topic and doctrine intended to nourish the church.
Whether it’s a pastor’s personal reading of Scripture or the weekly preaching of Scripture, we must never lose sight of Calvary. In every sermon there must be some sighting of Calvary.
My prayer for Sovereign Grace pastors is that they build churches who gather together in anticipation of a Calvary sighting. I pray that even as Scripture is read before the sermon, our churches would await with anticipation that point in the sermon where Calvary will be made visible. And the more apparently obscure the passage, the more excited they would be that from this passage, at some point during the sermon, their spiritual sight will be pointed toward the hill called Calvary.
So never lose sight of Calvary, and never let those you serve lose sight of Calvary. In each sermon let there be a sighting of the hill of Calvary and what was accomplished there by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
HT: Sovereign Grace Ministries Blog