Preaching Jesus

I was listening to a Mark Driscoll sermon I downloaded recently and it was his first sermon back after he had been on holiday. He asked his congregation if the elders who had been preaching in his absence had remembered to tell them about Jesus. Of course the congregation replied that they had, to which Mark said “good, that means no one has to get fired”.

It sounded like another of his great one-liners, but on reflection, I think he really meant it. In fact, in another talk I recently listened to he made a guarantee that whatever Sunday you come to his church you will hear Jesus preached.

Now I can understand why Mark Driscoll annoys people. He calls things as he sees them, and doesn’t waste time qualifying his controversial statements. But the thing I like most about him is the Christ-centredness of all his preaching (my second favourite thing is that he preaches for over an hour in an age where our attention span is reckoned to be almost non-existent). I’ve listened to him preach through Ruth, 1 Corinthians, Nehemiah, and while discussing all kinds of diverse topics and applications, he always makes sure that there is an obvious christological focus. No one is left in any doubt of the importance of loving Jesus, knowing Jesus, trusting Jesus, following Jesus.

I know a lot of preachers like to listen to Mark Driscoll. He has a great way of putting theological truth across in a very contemporary way, that is accessible to outsiders, and puts a fresh perspective on things for those who have been in the church for a long time. He also has the courage to speak about those awkward topics that most would rather not mention. Many of these preachers are borrowing his vocabulary and his mannerisms to spice up their own messages. But the thing I hope most of all that people will copy is the passion that every time someone comes to church, they will hear about Jesus.

It grieves me that many evangelical or charismatic churches could preach whole sermon series with barely a reference to Jesus. He doesn’t get mentioned because “everyone knows all that”, or “we need to move on beyond the basics”, or “we already did a series on Jesus”. The church needs a lot more Mark Driscolls – the attitude is optional, but the message is fundamental.  We need preachers who will unapologetically proclaim the King and his Kingdom, instead of simply “the Church Leader and his Congregation”, or “the believer and his personal life”.

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Cor 2:2)

1 thought on “Preaching Jesus

  1. I’ve been visiting churches lately, more than a dozen so far, and I’ve seen this phenomenon firsthand. Each time I visit a church, I post about the experience on my blog.


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