Today, not many people (including some pastors) take preaching seriously. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was different. He was considered as the greatest preacher of the last century because he was one of the most serious expositors of the Word of God. He was the pastor of Westminster Chapel in London for almost 30 years (1939-1968).
In July 1959, while on a vacation with his wife Bethan in Wales, they attended a prayer meeting at a small church there. He asked the people there, “Would you like me to give a word this morning?” The people there were a little bit hesitant because they don’t want to spoil his vacation and want him to take a rest instead. But his wife said, “Let him, preaching is his life” (Murray, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, p. 373). It was evident in this occasion, among many others, that he took preaching seriously. He wrote in his book Preaching and Preachers, the book which I will admit has one of the greatest impact in my passion for preaching:
“[Preaching] has been my life’s work. I have been forty-two years in the ministry, and the main part of my work has been preaching; not exclusively, but the main part of it has been preaching…to me the work of preaching is the highest and the greatest and the most glorious calling to which anyone can ever be called…the most urgent need in the Christian Church today is true preaching (p. 9, emphasis added)…the primary task of the Church and of the Christian minister is the preaching of the Word of God” (p. 19, emphasis added).
To know more about the seriousness of the preacher’s task, read or listen to the sermon I preached in our church yesterday, “Preach the Word!” I believe that all Christians, especially pastors and teachers, need to listen carefully to Paul’s exhortation to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:1-5:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.