“One of the principal works which the apostles were commissioned to take up was preaching.
We read that our Lord ‘sent them to preach the kingdom of God,” and that “they went through the towns preaching the Gospel.’ (Luke 9:6)
The importance of preaching, as a means of grace, might easily be gathered from this passage, even if it stood alone. But it is but one instance, among many, of the high value which the Bible everywhere sets upon preaching.
It is, in fact, God’s chosen instrument for doing good to souls. By it sinners are converted, inquirers led on, and saints built up.
A preaching ministry is absolutely essential to the health and prosperity of a visible church.
The pulpit is the place where the chief victories of the Gospel have always been won, and no Church has ever done much for the advancement of true religion in which the pulpit has been neglected.
Would we know whether a minister is a truly apostolical man? If he is, he will give the best of his attention to his sermons.
He will labor and pray to make his preaching effective, and he will tell his congregation that he looks to preaching for the chief results on souls.
The minister who exalts the sacraments, or forms of the Church, above preaching, may be a zealous, earnest, conscientious, and respectable minister; but his zeal is not according to knowledge. (Romans 10:2)
He is not a follower of the apostles.”
–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 1: 222-223. Ryle is commenting on Luke 9:1-6.