You don't have to be a pastor for very long to know that there are certain issues that arise time and time again. Pastoring into these situations is very difficult unless people have a fundamental understanding of the basic building blocks of the Christian faith. Preparing this week for a series of marriage seminars that Mrs R and I have been delivering has reminded me of this once again. These truths are so foundational that they arise time and time again in Scripture, but I'm convinced that a preacher who loves his people and is pastoral at heart will make the effort to connect the dots for people. And, I believe that means giving people first principles. For example,
if we are to have healthy marriages we need people to have healthy ecclesiologies (Eph 5), some knowledge of what it means to be united with Christ (Eph 5 again) and a deep appreciation of the Trinity (1 Cor 11). Marriage prep built on the niceties of whether you have a joint back account is useless without these. These are truths that occur again and again in Scripture. Obviously. Perhaps we need to draw the lines more clearly?
if people are to cope with crises they need to see how the sovereignty of God works itself out and be confident in it. You can't tell people about God's sovereignty for the first time as they are grieving the loss of a child or going through some other trauma.
In other words, our preaching needs to have an end in mind which is not just the proclamation of truth (though preaching is not less than this). It needs to be warmly and appropriately and faithfully applied to hearts and lives so that people are equipped to worship Christ with all of their lives. Preaching that does less than this hardly deserves the name.