The Announcement of Reality

Vision is a look at reality.  Preaching is a regular announcement of that reality.  On account of this, preaching and vision are inseparably linked.  Vision, by definition, suggests that there are greater things than what is obvious and in the present.  So it is with preaching.

First and foremost, preaching proclaims the word from God.  By doing this, it also articulates the vision for the people of God.  The application of God’s larger vision as it is to be lived out locally.  This is not promotion of what we want to hear, but a vision that recognizes the call of a specific group of believers.

Preaching is an announcement that God has done something to change the world.  It helps us to see realities that begin with the words of God.  To see how everything changed with the arrival of Jesus. Preaching strikes hard against what the world describes as reality.  In fact, the world is opposed to what God is doing among us.  We know this because Jesus is not crucified for repeating what the world has already said.  He is not put to death for agreeing with what the world sees as reality.  He does not die for articulating the vision of the world.

Preaching is commentary on the adventure of following Jesus.  Such preaching keeps listeners on course. At the very same time, preaching invites others to sign onto that vision.  To join a particular group heading in a particular direction.  Preaching presents a portrait of reality and invites others to become part of the picture.

Preaching is not a defensive reaction to the way the world is.  Preaching is proactive.  It is visionary.  It is an attempt to introduce others to and shape them according to our worldview.  Preaching suggests that our vision be their vision.  Calvin Miller suggests that we ought not “give seekers any reinforcement that their own worldview is ok as it is.”  Preaching disrupts what is tidy and comfortable.  It is like a collision with the way things are.  Preaching is more than thoughts about the bible.  Preaching is “war on the human heart.”  A sermon does not end in an attempt to convince us to construct our own vision.  It does not even suggest that we are capable of doing so.

While it may be true that the world finds little relevance in time spent with an ancient text, such work becomes extremely important to us.  For if we cease to spend significant time there, we will have nothing to say that the world is not already saying.  Preaching does not dabble on the surface or with non-essentials.  It is always about God before it is about us and without apology announces that reality is at stake.

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