On Thursday, January 24, Matt Carter cautioned current and future pastors on the temptations of preaching with lofty speech, while instructing them to take up the power and wisdom of God’s Word.
Carter attended Texas A&M University, was a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry at Southeastern Seminary. Carter is the Pastor of Preaching and Vision of Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, TX.
Directed at pastors and students training to become pastors, Carter offered them valuable advice in preaching preparation. He said, “You must ask two important questions: ‘What kind of preacher am I going to be?’ And ‘what kind of preaching should I do?’”
Testifying about his own struggle with these questions, Carter said he learned the answers from God’s Word, particularly 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. Carter noted that the prevalent model of preaching ten years ago was topical, seeker-sensitive preaching. “I prefer to begin with God’s Word first, then move to what God has to say to the church. The questions I asked of you earlier, I found from Paul in 1 Corinthians.”
Paul, in writing to the Corinthian church, reminds the church that he did not come to them with a “superiority of speech or wisdom,” said Carter. “Paul was not trying to persuade people to follow Christ with lofty wisdom and words.
“In verses 2-3, Paul teaches that when you preach, somebody is going to be the star of your sermon. Someone is going to be exalted, but will the star be Jesus or you? Preach in such a way that people leave talking about how great Jesus is, not how ‘good’ you were.”
Carter emphasized that in the first five verses of 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about the condition of his heart, which was in weakness and fear. The temptation for pastors, said Carter, is to be “clever and attention-getting. In opposition to this, Paul desires for God to demonstrate his power through his Spirit.”
Illustrating the profound and eternal consequences in preaching, Carter said the power in preaching will not come from one’s words, from one’s stories or from one’s powerful illustrations and applications. The power from preaching God’s Word will come from God alone. “So allow God in his power to speak, so that your congregation’s faith will rest on the sure foundation of the power of the living God, not on the foundation of your wisdom, intellect or persuasive words.”
Carter said that God has blessed Austin Stone Community Church beyond his imagination. “It is not because I am a great preacher,” confessed Carter. “It is the effect of preaching the Word of the living God. So, pastor, just like me, you have to answer the question: ‘Do I preach the wisdom of men or the wisdom and power of God?’”
To view Carter's message, click here
The mission of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Southeastern is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperate Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.