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Preaching is God’s Natural Means to a Supernatural End

Recently the discussion of preaching has been in my ears and before my eyes.  Sadly, like most pastors and church goers, preaching has taken a back seat to “felt needs”, humanism and pragmatic comedy and proverbial enlightenment.  Creativity has taken the place of awe of the Creator and application has replaced worship.

Much needs to be said, however, much has already been said for thousands of years on this topic.  Sadly, the debate will continue and many will dismiss the reality of the present state of the church as “where we are” and try to fix it by continuing down the path of a reducing the Word of God to a plan apart from a Person who is Jesus Christ our KING!

In this, for those who desire to truly know, Spurgeon has a few thoughts on preaching.  Historically, he has been entitled as the “Prince of Preachers” so it would do us well to hear what he has said.  It would also do everyone well to visit 2 Timothy 4

[4:1] I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: [2] preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. [3] For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, [4] and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. [5] As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

(2 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV)

In light of this, the command PREACH THE WORD is enforced by the amazing reality that God in His awesome power and purpose in Christ has come and His Kingdom is established through through His glory therefore, Jesus will judge all creation and one can be certain He will judge preachers according to James 3:1.  Thus, preaching is required of pastors, it is required of those who are called by God, not to deliver man’s creative exploits as derived from the scriptures, but with complete patience one must reprove, rebuke and exhort through teaching of the Apostle’s writing as it was intended to be read and understood.  Many will not approve of such things in the name of “church growth” but Paul addresses that as well, that the time has come where people will not endure the truth.

Look at what Spurgeon had to say in line with this:

Reverently hearing the word exercises our humility, instructs our faith, irradiates us
with joy, inflames us with love, inspires us with zeal, and lifts us up towards heaven. 1LS53

Surely if men’s hearts were right, short sermons would be enough. 975.94

Faithful preachers are among God’s best gifts. Cherish them, and be obedient to their
admonitions. I have known persons become offended when a minister is “too
personal;” but wise men always prize a ministry in proportion as it is personal to
themselves. He who never tells me of my faults, nor makes me feel uneasy, is not
likely to be the means of good to my soul. What is the use of a dog that never barks? 996.344

Little is that ministry worth that never chides you. If God never uses his minister as
a rod, depend upon it he will never use him as a pot of manna, for the rod of Aaron
and the pot of manna always go together, and he who is God’s true servant will be
both to your soul. 1171.259

If you want to hear soft falsehoods, go elsewhere: I will have none of your blood on
my skirts. 1878.15

If you always enjoy sermons, the minister is not a good steward. He is not acting
wisely who deals out nothing but sweets. 2097.417

You are listening to a man who professes to speak by God, and for God, and to speak
for your good; and his heart yearns over you. Oh, it is solemn work to preach, and it
should be solemn work to hear! 2554.58

“It is bitter,” say you, when we bring you the honey of the gospel. It is not the honey
that is bitter; it is your mouth; it is your mouth that is out of order. How often people
ought to recollect this when they hear a true gospel sermon! George Herbert says,
“Judge not the preacher; he is thy judge.” And very often when the man has
condemned the sermon he had far better condemn himself. He has not agreed with it!
No; if he had, it would not have been true. 3521.347

These words to cut at times, much as the word of God does all the time as written in Hebrews 4:12 explains:

[12] For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 ESV)

As Paul reflects on the majestic and powerful Gospel of Jesus Christ in 2 Corinthians 4, he proclaims that there is no cunning, creative tampering of God’s word but a direct statement of the truth.  The question then comes, “what then of those who desire not to hear such things?”  His answer…

[3] And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. [4] In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
(2 Corinthians 4:3-4 ESV)

The good news is that by direct statement of the truth of God’s word, many will come to faith.  One problem in the church today is that God has been removed from the teaching and preaching and those who come to faith have come to a gospel that is not of God but of man.  This man-centered gospel has removed the truth and replaced itself with a method and a response which is not the gospel.  To that, let us take heed and preach the gospel; I dare to say it is not in season in most communities of faith, but oh the glory of the POWER OF GOD to save those who have ears to hear.

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