2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
I am currently in my twenty-third year of having a full-time preaching responsibility. Between weekly services, guest preaching opportunities, and missions, I have preached well over three thousand times and it requires discipline. Preaching requires discipline to pray and seek the Lord. The preacher must be spiritually prepared to faithfully be ready to deliver something of substance to God’s people.
Preaching requires discipline to plan and to study in order to be faithful to the text. The core of my preaching has been and remains, preaching through books of the Bible particularly on Sunday mornings. The key to preaching through books of the Bible even in particularly long series, is to prepare the messages as stand-alone messages. Meaning the message should be prepared in such a way that a person could hear that sermon, and that sermon only, and be able to understand the context, theme, and points of application. The preacher has to buckle down and get ready to preach regardless of how he may feel personally, or how busy or demanding his week is otherwise.
Preaching requires discipline to stand and deliver the message that has been prepared. I have preached while sick on occasion. By God’s grace however, I have never missed a Sunday preaching due to sickness. The preacher is human like everyone else, but when it comes time to preach he cannot be driven by the weight of his own emotions, the burdens around him, or anything else. He must depend on the Lord and be ready to go when it is time.
I describe preaching as a constant pressure. When the preacher concludes a sermon, he knows in his mind and his heart the next one is on the horizon. I also liken preaching to getting up and dying a slow death in front of people! The preacher must give of himself little by little, week by week, expending all he has for the glory of God. I love this quote by Martyn Lloyd-Jones on preaching in his book Preaching and Preachers (1971).
(Preaching) may be slow work; it often is; it is a long-term policy. But my whole contention is that it works, that it pays, and that it is honoured, and must be, because it is God’s own method. This is the thing to which He calls us, it is the thing into which He thrusts us forth, and therefore He will honour it. He has always honoured it, and still honours it in the modern world, and after you have tried these others methods and schemes, and found that they will come to nothing, you will be driven back to this ultimately. This is the method by which churches have always come into being. You see it in the New Testament, and you see it in the subsequent history of the Church, and you can see it in this modern world.
May the Lord help all of us as preachers be faithful to him, to his Word, and to his people.