When you listen to a sermon, do you feel the weight upon the preacher’s shoulders? Do you recognize that every sermon is designed to leave an indelible mark upon your soul and to shape you by God’s Word? When you listen to a sermon preached, do you get the idea that the overall aim is to bring glory to God? Are you captivated by the drama of God’s redemptive story as you see God’s plan and your connection to the story? If not, perhaps you’ve never heard real preaching.
When J. I. Packer was a 22-year-old student in the years of 1948-1949, he heard Martyn Lloyd-Jones preach each Sunday evening in London. He said that he had “never heard such preaching.” According to Packer, it came to him “with the force of electric shock, bringing to at least one of his listeners more of a sense of God than any other man” he had known. 
Preaching Involves a Weighty Responsibility
When Paul charges Timothy to “preach the Word” in his final New Testament letter (2 Tim. 4:1-5), he was not talking about a casual conversational approach to the pulpit. One glance at Jesus’ preaching, John the Baptist’s preaching, and Paul’s preaching will prove that true biblical preaching is not casual. John Piper accurately summarizes the work of preaching by stating, “Preaching is God’s appointed means for the conversion of sinners, the awakening of the church, and the preservation of the saints. If preaching fails in its task, the consequences are infinitely terrible.”  In an interview on January 31, 1892, Charles Haddon Spurgeon was asked if he was ever nervous when he preached, and Spurgeon replied:
I tremble like an aspen leaf. And often, in coming down to this pulpit, have I felt my knees knock together – not that I am afraid of any one of my hearers, but I am thinking of that account which I must render to God, whether I speak His Word faithfully or not. On this service may hang the eternal destinies of many.
Every person who enters the sanctuary of the local church and sits down to hear the sermon will spend eternity in heaven or hell. We must never forget that preaching matters. Preaching has an impact upon eternal souls—for good or bad. It is the duty of the preacher to feed the flock of God. Too many preachers miss opportunities to feed God’s flock because they waste time seeking to entertain or motivate. Preaching cannot be casual because every preacher should recognize that every person in their congregation will be in eternity in just a short while. There is a stewardship that comes with preaching. Time is valuable. Souls are eternal. Eternity is forever. George Whitefield once described the type of preachers that he was praying for God to raise up:
And what manner of men will they be? Men mighty in the Scriptures, their lives dominated by a sense of the greatness, the majesty and holiness of God, and their minds and hearts aglow with the great truths of the doctrines of grace. . . .They will be men who will preach with broken hearts and tear-filled eyes, and upon whose ministries God will grant an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit, and who will witness ‘signs and wonders following’ in the transformation of multitudes of human lives. 
Worship Is Not Casual
In many circles, preaching is something that comes after the worship takes place. Far too many Christians fail to recognize that preaching is worship. If we consider the goal in worship and how our aim is always the glory of God, how can that pursuit be casual? How do redeemed sinners pursue God in a mundane manner? The reason this happens in some circles is because the type of preaching the people are hearing is not bringing them into contact with the true image of God and His glory. A low view of God leads to a low view of worship. The result is a posture of worship that’s ultra casual.
One look at the preaching of Ezra in Nehemiah 8, Jesus in His earthly ministry, Peter at Pentecost, or Paul in his apostolic ministry will prove that preaching is not casual. The Jews listening to John the Baptist didn’t listen casually. The ground thundered when such men preached. The problem today is that the ground rarely shakes. Preaching is not like taking another at-bat as a baseball player. The risk as a baseball player is personal glory or the team’s glory, but in preaching it’s all about God’s glory. This should be at the forefront of every preacher’s mind each time he approaches the pulpit. Preaching is not casual because the glory of God is not casual. Too many sermons make the glory of God appear to be cheap. There seems to be no opportunity to behold the glory of God in many sermons.
God’s Drama is not Casual
How many times have you heard people claim that the Bible is boring? In some circles, people claim that the Bible is not relevant, so they use drama presentations in order to spice things up in their worship services. Is the drama of God’s redemptive plan boring? While it’s possible to preach a boring sermon, we must never lose sight of the fact that God’s drama is exhilarating. If preachers will preach the drama of the text in the way God intended, the drama team will no longer be needed in the weekly worship service.
What would your church say about the worship service next week if the additives were removed and people were expected to look earnestly into God’s Word to reflect upon His glory and witness His drama? Would true biblical preaching be enough? Alistair Begg has a noteworthy point that we would do well to consider as he writes:
One of the reasons for the disinterest in expository preaching is surely that so many attempts at it prove lifeless, dull, and even thoroughly boring. I never cease to be amazed by the ingenuity of those who are capable of taking the powerful, life-changing text of Scripture and communicating it with all the passion of someone reading aloud from the Yellow Pages! 
The next time you worship with your gathered church—look for the thrill of God’s drama as the preacher unpacks the Word of God before you. Worship God with a proper and honoring posture. A true sense of God and His glory will not be a casual experience.
- Christopher Catherwood, Five Evangelical Leaders, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, 1985), 170.
- John Piper, The Supremacy of God in Preaching (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 54.
- Jason Meyer, Preaching: A Biblical Theology, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2013), 301.
- Alistair Begg, Preaching for God’s Glory, (Wheaton: Crossway, 1999), 22.