The greatest benefit I received from this book is what I would call the aliveness of preaching – by that I mean the vivid sense that preaching is, in the very moment in which it is happening, a living address from God to his people. It is the platform for a divine-human encounter – the occasion for God coming down among his people in a unique and powerful way. Hence his language of “the element of attack” in a sermon (71), his assertion that the ultimate goal of preaching is to “give men and women a sense of God” (97), his statements about how preaching is an “exchange” between the preacher and the audience (84) during which you never really know where the sermon is going to end up (80), and so forth. I think this is also at the root of his concerns against note-taking, sermon recording, technique practicing, etc. (18, 119, elsewhere) – as well as his warning against “light entertainment, easy familiarity, and jocularity” (140). Even if we don’t draw the lines in exactly the same places as Lloyd-Jones on all of these specific matters, I think we can learn a lot from his concerns. Preaching is holy. In preaching a divine-human encounter is created. We must handle this sacred task with sobriety and humility and earnestness.
This book helps remind me of what a sacred matter it is to preach, and makes me long to do it better. My final quote: “preaching is theology coming through a man who is on fire” (97). Oh, that one day I could do that!