In the first two parts of this series on Preaching in Post-Chrsitian Contexts, we focused on the facts that preaching should be both biblical and contextual. Today we move towards seeing one of the aims of preaching: To raise the affections for Jesus so that we might love, worship and follow him.
The great letter to the Romans has a pause at the end of chapter 11 which reminds us of the purposes of God in creation and the redemption of his people: For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36 ESV) Additionally, Paul writes of Jesus to the Ephesians when he gives purpose to the church:
 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV)
All glory in this life belongs to God! The purpose of the church in Christ is to bring glory to God. Along these biblical lines, one of the great historical catechisms of the faith teach us that our purpose is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. With such aims in view, the goal of preaching should work to raise our love and affections to Jesus so that we love, worship, obey and thereby glorify him with our lives. The puritan pastor and scholar, Jonathan Edwards once described true religion as consisting in the heart; or in the desires or religious affections. His view was that the fervent love for God had many attending effects on people. This portion of his classic work, The Religious Affections, demonstrates the importance of our love for God upon our walk with God.
From a vigorous, affectionate, and fervent love to God, will necessarily arise other religious affections; hence will arise an intense hatred and a fear of sin; a dread of God’s displeasure; gratitude to God for his goodness; complacence and joy in God when he is graciously and sensibly present; grief when he is absent; a joyful hope when a future enjoyment of God is expected; and fervent zeal for the divine glory. In like manner, from a fervent love to men, will arise all other virtuous affections towards them.
Preaching should pursue the hearts of people to lift them high towards God in Jesus Christ. The Lord taught us that if we love him, we will obey him. (John 14:15) Christian preaching must have Jesus at center stage for our highest loves and deepest devotion to be aimed. It is my hope that my own preaching will leave hearts with a desire to love, worship, follow and obey Jesus as Lord of their lives.
 "The Westminter Shorter Catechism," Presbyterian Church in America, accessed February 3, 2017. http://www.pcaac.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/ShorterCatechismwithScriptureProofs.pdf.
 Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1746, 2001), 36, 37.