The only source of power for Christ-centered preaching is God Himself. How quickly we forget or fail to recognize our absolute dependency on God to empower our preaching. How quickly we begin to claim the glory of a good sermon for ourselves rather than desiring to follow in the footsteps of John the Baptist when he said that he must decrease so that Christ may increase (John 3:30). How quickly we wallow in the wake of a sermon that seemed to lack luster or draw enough attention to ourselves and our abilities rather than recognizing that by the grace of God some poor soul listening might have been brought to life in our very midst through the Words of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Preaching is not about our pride and ego. Preaching is not a group therapy session or a feel-good motivational speech for a self-centered congregation. No, preaching is deeper and more glorious than these shallow pursuits. Preaching is the act of pointing to God using God’s own Words for God’s own glory. Therefore, a sermon that points to itself or to the preacher or to the congregation is not truly preaching. When preaching intentionally diverts the gaze of a congregation anywhere but toward the face of Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit, then preaching borders on idolatry instigating false worship. This is a bold statement and one that is likely to be unpopular. This is, largely, because so many sermons today point in any direction but that of Christ. Nevertheless, anything less than a face-to-face encounter with the Living God is less than the goal of preaching. Missing the mark may not constitute idolatry in every case. However, in a good many cases, it does.