I was reading a sermon by Charles Spurgeon not too long ago, wherein his opening remarks he stated, “Let us proceed at once to the text!” That little, almost insignificant phrase struck me in a way that made me pause. No jokes, no personal stories, no novelty; just procession to the text. How could the man dubbed the “Prince of Preachers” attract thousands upon thousands, week upon week, by simply proceeding to the text? That seems a little dry, some might say. Is there not a need to add a little personal flare to our preaching, at least to hook the listeners in? Spurgeon did not think so, and neither do I. There was no dancing around the text with Spurgeon. It was this conviction of the text that drove hearers to him in droves. There is much we can learn from this.
As pastors, we must be men who proceed at once to the text. But here’s the deal: we’ve got to get over ourselves. We will not hurriedly proceed to the text if we think our intelligence or humor is of some great value. No matter how awesome we think we are, it is not our awesomeness that our people need; they need the text. Give them the text, and give it to them at once! We must flee from the trappings of our self-perceived intellect, and sprint to toward the text.
If we are to proceed at once to the text, we must not only be over ourselves, we must also be convinced of the text. We must believe that the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edge sword. We must be gripped by the gospel, knowing that it is the power of God to save. We must be confident knowing that the Word of God will not return void. We must believe that there is an eternally rewarding treasure of great value that is found only in the text. That treasure of great value is Christ. And He is there, in the text!
Your people need the text because they need Christ. Your people need the text at once because they need Christ now! So fly to the text. Fly to the text because your life depends on it! Let us find ourselves winded by the pace at which we get to Christ. Let us move at once and not stop until we get there.
Let us proceed at once to Christ!