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, here a few thoughts on preaching.  Historically, there have been many thoughts on preaching and in reality, preaching doesn’t always mean right teaching. Sometimes preaching is just noisy nonsense.  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 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:

Hearing the word of God produces in us a spiritual lowliness or humility as we are guided and taught by God. It is from Scripture that we find hope, joy and sufficient grace in our daily journeys. It is through the right preaching of Scripture that the church is instructed and encouraged in the work of the ministry. Hearing Scripture brings joyful tears to my soul and often do I weep in the presence of its reading. Paul teaches that faithful preachers are found in faithful pastors who care for the church. They are gifts to the church. So, those pastors who are not faithful preachers are a curse, not a gift. Preaching rightly the Scripture always does two things and reveals three things at a minimum:

  • Faithful preaching CONFRONTS the hearer. The gospel in itself is confrontational as is the awesome majesty of God.
  • Faithful preaching COMFORTS the hearer. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. So those who are confronted by the reality of God’s holiness are shown His measure of redemption by Grace Alone!

What does Scripture show us?

  • At all times it reveals to us WHO GOD IS.  This is theology, the knowledge of God’s being, essence, person. 
  • At all times it reminds us WHAT GOD HAS DONE. This the narrative of history over which God is sovereign and He does all things for Himself by Himself and out of the counsel of His own will. We know we can be sure that God will act as He always has.
  • At all times it shows us WHAT GOD WILL DO. This is the promises of God that we look forward to. Amen.

Without preaching there is none of this. There then is no worship, no joy, no hope. 

[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 the 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.