a faithful minister will always exalt Christ

. . . a faithful minister will always exalt Christ. We read that when John saw the state of mind which his hearers were in, he told them of a coming One far mightier than himself. He refused the honor which he saw the people ready to give him and referred them to Him who had the winnowing fork . . . in His hand – the Lamb of God, the Messiah.

Conduct like this will always be the characteristic of a true man of God. He will never allow anything to be credited to him or his office which belongs to his divine Master. He will say like Paul, “We do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5). To commend Christ dying and rising again for the ungodly – to make known Christ’s love and power to save sinners – this will be the main object of his ministry. He must increase, but I must decrease will be a ruling principle in all his preaching. He will be content that his own name is forgotten so long as Christ crucified is exalted.

Would we know whether a minister is sound in the faith and deserving of our confidence as a teacher? We have only to ask a simple question: Where is Christ in his teaching? Would we know whether we ourselves are receiving benefit from the preaching we attend? Let us ask whether its effect is to magnify Christ in our esteem. A minister who is really doing us good will make us think more of Jesus every year we live.

—J.C. Ryle

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