There seems to me two basic camps when it comes to preaching in church. There is the camp where we are preaching primarily to the non christian in the pew and so we will preach on relevant topics and work on our communication. Then there is the camp that says we preach to the believer and try to make our sermons deep and weighty and full of great theology. But is there a third way? Tim Keller think so. Check out his reflection on Martin Lloyd-Jones’ preaching in his book Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City:
I found particularly fascinating the structure he designed for his preaching. Lloyd-Jones planned his evening sermons to be evangelistic, while the morning sermons were intended to instruct and build up Christians. The evening sermons contained direct appeals to people to come to Christ and believe the gospel but were still richly theological and expository. On the other hand, while the morning sermons assumed a bit more knowledge of Christianity, they always returned to the clear themes of sin, grace, and Christ — the gospel. Lloyd-Jones urged his church members to attend both services. While he saw the evening service as an ideal setting to which to bring a nonbelieving friend, he wanted the professing Christians to attend regularly for their own good. Nor was he concerned when nonbelievers showed up regularly at the morning services. In fact, he wrote, “We must be careful not to be guilty of too rigid a classification of people saying, ‘These are Christians, therefore…’ [or] ‘Yes, we became Christians as the result of a decision we took at an evangelistic meeting and now, seeing that we are Christians, all we need is teaching and edification.’ I contest that very strongly.”17 I learned these lessons from him: Don’t just preach to your congregation for spiritual growth, assuming that everyone in attendance is a Christian; and don’t just preach the gospel evangelistically, thinking that Christians cannot grow from it. Evangelize as you edify, and edify as you evangelize.
What do you think? Do you think our preaching should be aimed at both believers and unbelievers? If so what does this kind of preaching look like?
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