• God wants his Church to grow up in maturity (not just in numbers).
It is clear from the Bible as a whole that God is not pleased with shallowness and immaturity. The Apostle Paul, who was of course a great missionary and church-planter, was not content merely to multiply churches. His greatest aim, he said, was to present everyone mature in Christ (Col. 1:28-29).
• The church grows through God’s Word.
The Bible is the primary means by which God nourishes his people. The Bible teaches and guides them in what they are to believe and how they are to live. It is the Word of God that grows the people of God. We live not by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4, referring to Deut. 8:3). Churches that are regularly fed by the Scriptures show healthy growth in maturity and witness.
• The Word of God comes to people primarily through preaching.
Of course, people can read the Bible for themselves — if they are literate, if the Bible exists in their languages, and if they can afford one for themselves. For many millions of Christians one or more of these conditions may not apply. So the only opportunity they have to be fed by the Bible is when it is preached or taught to them in the course of Christian worship. But the standards of preaching and clear exposition of the Bible are sadly very poor or non-existent in so many parts of the world. Even in many churches that call themselves “evangelical,” the Bible is hardly ever preached in a simple, systematic and applied way.
So, if we are concerned for the maturity and mission of the church around the world, and if the above three convictions are true, then the logical question to ask is:
What can we do to raise the standards of biblical preaching?
From John Stott Ministries