God-Centered Theology In The Ministry Of The Word -- By: Joel R. Beeke

Journal: Puritan Reformed Journal
Volume: PRJ 01:1 (Jan 2009)
Article: God-Centered Theology In The Ministry Of The Word
Author: Joel R. Beeke

God-Centered Theology In The Ministry Of The Word

Joel R. Beeke

The what, the why, and the how of proclaiming
God-centered theology in our sermons

The ministry, which centers on preaching the Word of God, should be God-centered. However, ever since the time of Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8), men have been drawn to the work of the ministry and have done that work in ways that are more man-centered and man-pleasing than those commended to us in Scripture.

To be truly God-centered, ministry must also be Christ-centered. We confess that in Jesus Christ, “God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim. 1:16) and that “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:29). If our work is centered on the Christ of Scripture, we cannot help but be centered on the God of Scripture. True Christianity does not offer a generalized theism.

To determine what a God-centered ministry should look like, we should review the most important sources and models of Christian ministry: the work of the apostles. In particular, we shall look at ministry as described by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:1-2:5. We shall consider the preacher, the hearers, the message, the method, the resources, and the goal of God-centered preaching of the Word.

The Preacher

How do we view ourselves as ministers of the Word? Why are we in the ministry? What does our work consist of?

The Word

“An apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God” (1:1)

As an apostle, Paul was called to serve Jesus Christ as His authorized

representative or “ambassador” (2 Cor. 5:20) to unbelievers. He was sent in the name of Christ and given the authority of Christ to do the work of Christ. He was called to lay the foundation of the Christian church by preaching the gospel, gathering churches, and building them on the foundation of Christ Jesus. The work of an apostle was God-centered and Christ-centered. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:5, “We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

Ministers of the Word are not apostles and should not claim to be so. Even so, we are to follow the example of the apostles who gave themselves “continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). The apostl...

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