The theme of the glory of God in preaching has fallen on hard times. Many people, even in evangelical circles, have adopted a man-centered message that conforms to prevailing human desires. This user-friendly god of man’s devising has diminished what A. W. Tozer calls the “Godhead of God” and compromised the picture of the wonder and glory of God’s holy attributes. All too often, the church is ignorant of, if not totally indifferent toward, the weighty issue of the glory of God.
We see this downward trend in the church in many ways. The art of preaching, once reserved for men who were courageous couriers of God’s Word and whose highest aim was to uphold God’s greatness, has become in too many circles nothing more than the dispensing of a man-centered message intended to pamper a worldly congregation. Preaching that attempts to unveil the supremacy of God is rare. Seldom is His majesty presented as the deepest need of the human heart. As John Piper has observed, preachers no longer believe that people are starving for the greatness of God. God-centered preaching has been replaced with user-friendly rhetoric that veils His glory.
“God’s glory must be primary in all things, and nowhere is this more true than in the pulpit.”
God’s glory must be primary in all things, and nowhere is this more true than in the pulpit. It is when men stand behind the sacred desk that they must showcase not themselves, but the glory of God. Tragically, though, too many preachers are anything but God-focused. As they stand before God’s people, they are often consumed with being culturally relevant, preoccupied with playing politics, and seized with society’s visions of success. Others are even enamored with themselves, whether it be their own victories or vices, ambitions or advancements. Instead, they should be riveted upon the supremacy of God.
God calls us to have a high view of who He is and to be jealous for the honor of His name. A. W. Tozer said it years ago: “God is looking for men in whose hands His glory is safe.” God is searching for men who will lay down their glory before His throne and give Him the glory He alone deserves. He is looking for men who are absorbed in His surpassing glory and who are zealous for His fame. We need divinely sent messengers who do not seek their own accolades, but rather the acclaim of Him who enlisted them. We need heralds of the Word who will magnify and exalt the honor of His name. We need preachers who will demonstrate an unwavering passion for the display of His glory.
In the end, all that matters is the glory of God. If we fail to live for and put on display the glory of God, we endure empty, hollow lives and ministries. But if we seek God’s glory, our lives will be full and abundant, and our ministries will count for time and eternity. Let this be our chief end, driving passion, and highest purpose—the glory of God!