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John Piper: Preach the Word

Preach the Word

So the command of the Lord is, Preach the Word. Keep your head on (exposition) and keep your heart alive (exultation). Handle the precious living Word of God accurately. And come to this pulpit week after week and do expository exultation. Don’t out-exult the Word. And don’t under-exult the Word. There is enough glory in the Word that you need add nothing artificial. Just eat it until your heart is deeply and truly satisfied and then serve the same banquet for your people.

Martin Luther was one of the great preachers of all time. He explained the need for preaching like this:

Because heresies threatened the living apostolic message, it had to be recorded in a book to protect it from falsification. Preaching reverses this process of conservation again, allowing the Scriptures of the past to become the tidings of the present … The Gospel has been committed to lifeless paper; fresh words can transform it into glad tidings again.

Scripture turned into glad tidings — that is what happens in expository exultation. [Pastor], if the Lord wills, there are many years in front of you and many trials. You will be tempted in many ways to give up preaching. Satan will lie to you that it is not a great thing. Or that you could devote yourself to something more significant. But when that happens, go back to 2 Timothy 4:1-2 and listen to the apostle. “I solemnly 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.”

Then you will rise up and say with Martin Luther, “If I could today become king or emperor, I would not give up my office as preacher.”  

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John Piper is the Pastor for Preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. John is the author of more than 30 books and more than 25 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at DesiringGod.org. © Desiring God.