Thursdays with Todd Linn: 3 Encouragements for This Weekend’s Preacher

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the famous Welsh pastor of London’s Westminster Chapel for close to 30 years, referred to preaching as “the highest and the greatest and the most glorious calling to which anyone can ever be called.”1 And so it is! The preacher is called to proclaim a life-changing message that transforms all who will receive it. An especially difficult week of ministry, however, can rob preachers of the joy and wonder of their calling. With this in mind, here are three reminders to encourage you as you prepare for this weekend:

  1. Remember you’re bringing a message, not a sermon. We use “message” and “sermon” interchangeably because they are nearly synonymous. I find it especially helpful, however, to remember I am not merely sharing information from the Bible (sermon), but I am an ambassador speaking God’s Word (message). Preaching isn’t simply getting at the meaning of a text and sharing it with others. It is standing as God’s appointed messenger and proclaiming His urgent, life-saving message. Thinking this way transforms our sermon preparation and delivery. We find ourselves more engaged throughout the process, looking forward to the final moment when we stand before God’s people with a compelling message He has given from the text. There’s a greater sense of urgency driving us and a passion that fills us like Jeremiah’s “fire shut up in his bones” (Jeremiah 20:9).
  2. Remember you’re preaching good news. Gospel preaching is not simply adding an evangelistic appeal to the end of a sermon, but demonstrating how the gospel addresses listeners in light of the text.2 Preaching the gospel liberates people from guilt and shame. Listeners are encouraged to hear that God accepts them based not on their performance, but on the basis of Christ’s righteousness. Preaching the gospel reminds Christians they don’t have to earn God’s approval because, in Christ, they already have it. The gospel is a message that never grows old and is always good news!
  3. Remember you’re to leave the results to God. We cannot overstate the familiar axiom that God has called us not to be “successful,” but to be “faithful.” We are called to proclaim His Word and to shepherd His people. When we do these things to the best of our ability, we are faithfully discharging the duties of our ministry. Whatever “results” may or may not be visible this weekend, rest assured that God honors the preaching of His Word. Like the rain that falls from heaven and doesn’t return without watering the earth to make it bud, so your message from God will not return to Him void, but will accomplish whatever He desires (Isaiah 55:10-11).

Pastors: what would you add to encourage fellow preachers?


  1.  D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones., Preachers & Preaching (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1972), 9. 
  2. Helpful books here include Sidney Greidanus, The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text (Eerdmans, 1989 ), Bryan Chapell, Christ-Centered Preaching (Baker, 2005), and Graeme Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture (IVP, 2000).

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