by John Piper
I began this book just two short nights ago but was unable to put it down. Thank goodness it’s a short book – only 105 pages. However, its thin-ness betrays its weightiness. One review on the back cover pegs it well: “This book is a powerful antidote to the unbalanced, self-centered preaching of today.”
It calls to mind that an antidote is only needed when there is a sickness, and there is a great sickness pervading the church today. Paul diagnosed it well in his letter to his young protege:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4.3-5)
Piper’s short book holds out the glory of God as the goal of all preaching and urges preaches to cast aside pop psychology, entertainment-laden presentations for the deep truths about God and passionate desires for God.
“The reality behind our message is breathtaking,” Piper says, so how can any preacher possibly put his congregation to sleep? Rather, he asks, “If we do not spread a banquet of God’s beauty on Sunday morning, will not our people seek in vain to satisfy their inconsolable longing with the cotton candy pleasures of pastimes and religious hype?”
Piper urges us who have been called to preach to walk close with God so that those we minister with and to can smell the aroma of God on us. Only as we diligently seek to portray the glory and indescribable worth of God in Christ Jesus will people have the true longings of their heart met in Him.
I highly recommend this book to any and all who regularly teach or preach God’s Word. It’s a prophetic reminder to extol Him who has given us the commission to preach.
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4.2)