Preaching Christ: It's What's for Dinner


As Kevin Vanhoozer has noted, “The sermon is the best frontal assault on imaginations held captive by secular stories that promise other ways to the good life.”[1] Curved in on ourselves in selfish introspection and idol worship, we need an external word, a voice that comes from outside of ourselves, to interfere with our make-believe worlds and tell us the truth. We need to hear that surprising message of a holy God justifying the wicked through Christ. The “living preaching of his Word,” as the Heidelberg Catechism puts it in Question 98, is God’s ordained means to accomplish this. It is an intrusive act by the Holy Spirit, driving us out of ourselves and directing our faith to the promises of God, which in Christ are ‘yes’ and ‘amen.’ The Westminster Larger Catechism gets at this precise point when it describes in Question 155 how the Holy Spirit makes the Word effectual to salvation:

The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching of the word, an effectual means of enlightening, convincing, and humbling sinners; of driving them out of themselves, and drawing them unto Christ; of conforming them to his image, and subduing them to his will; of strengthening them against temptations and corruptions; of building them up in grace, and establishing their hearts in holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation.

But without Christ’s divine emissary sent to us, how will we hear? Without an ordained servant to serve us a meal, how will we eat? If “faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ,” as Paul says in Romans 10, then self-feeding will not work. Hardwired for law by nature, the gospel is counterintuitive to us. Someone must tell us this good news. Someone must serve us this meal that informs us of what we do not know by nature, namely, that in Christ we have passed from death to life, and from wrath to grace. Without coming to the feast God provides for us, we will inevitably gravitate toward the drive-through lane of therapy and the garbage bin of moralism. Preaching is God’s merciful act whereby he pulls us away from our toxic self-feast and serves us his meal of life.

At CURC this Lord's Day, God's meal of life in the morning (which always includes the Lord's Supper) is on 2 Kings 25, “Exiled," as our series on the Drama of Redemption draws near to its end. The evening meal of life will be on Philippians 4.14-20: “My God Will Supply Every Need of Yours,” as we continue to hear Christ speak to us from Paul’s “Epistle of Joy.”

See the liturgies here. Listen to previous sermons in these series (and all sermons in our archives) here. Come and eat.

[1] Kevin J. Vanhoozer, The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical-Linguistic Approach to Christian Theology (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005), 456.