Forde, Gerhard O. The Preached God: Proclamation in Word and Sacrament. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 4, “Preaching the Sacraments” Loc. 1183-1609.
Forde begins this portion of his discussion by considering a way in which preaching may be a sacrament. In preaching the pastor behaves in a sacramental way by doing something to give Christ to the congregation (Forde 2007, Loc. 1183). Unfortunately, many times preaching gives grace then takes it back again (Forde 2007, Loc. 1186). People therefore often value the sacraments as they are purely gospel. Those who do not value them may well not have heard them preached (Forde 2007, Loc. 1197). “Preaching in a sacramental fashion is doing to the hearers what the text authorizes you to do to them” (Forde 2007, Loc. 1223). The text itself is in charge of the preaching situation,never our experience (Forde 2007, Loc. 1233).
Rather than try to explain the task of sacramental preaching Forde illustrates it with several texts. In Matthew 13:44 (Forde 2007, Loc. 1283), the theologian of the law might encourage seeking out hidden treasure or giving all to buy the good treasure. The gospel points out that in the parable the man did nothing to find the treasure. It was gift. The preacher’s action is to tell the hearers they have the treasure of Jesus’ death (Forde 2007, Loc. 1315). Likewise in the parable of the laborers in the vineyard those who are late receive a great gift (Forde 2007, Loc. 1325).
Forde next discusses preaching the sacraments in particular (Forde 2007, Loc. 1351). This is the way people will grasp and value the sacraments. Preaching the sacraments is not merely teaching about them (Forde 2007, Loc. 1370). It is difficult as it involves delivering the significance of an action by using words (Forde 2007, Loc. 1375). Yet Forde illustrates that it is God’s Word that empowers the Sacraments. It cannot be turned back (Forde 2007, Loc. 1414). The preaching, like the Sacraments, serves to deliver faith (Forde 2007, Loc. 1452). It is all finally a matter of killing and bringing to life. The power, as Forde illustrates, is in the Word. He goes on to give an example of a sermon for a baptism, showing the free grace of the sacrament (Forde 2007, Loc. 1523). After this explanation, Forde gives several short chapel sermons on the sacraments (Forde 2007, Loc. 1554).