We live in an era where propagation of any idea is very simple and fast. So many preach and publish their ideologies using various modern mediums. Politicians, social reformers, educationalists, entertainers, counselors, etc., are using these modern technologies widely. The influence of these people among the society is very much visible and often alarming too. In such a scenario, as Christians what should be our part in proclaiming the truths that we hold to and follow dearly?
Just before his execution, Apostle Paul writes to his beloved spiritual son Timothy, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.“ 2Timoty 4:2. This is one of his final charges from the Roman prison. It is an instruction every Christian should consider seriously. Preaching God’s word to the present generation should be taken as the topmost responsibility of every born-again child of God.
Sermons: secular vs spiritual
Of course, sermons are not at all new to the church as a whole. Week after week many preach to Christian congregations. But we should never forget that communication of God’s word is of a different level from the secular one. We cannot blindly follow the pattern the unbelievers are following.
We do not preach our own ideologies or even ourselves. Entertainment is not at all the goal in Christian preaching. It’s not just to fill the time or complete a duty. We share the burden of God, conveying God’s mind to the people. Not only the content of our message, the energy, the method, the presentation and the whole approach in Christian preaching must be divinely approved and even divinely originated. Cf. 1Cor 2: 1 - 5
Alas, many sermons from the Christian pulpit fail the test of this divine standard. Personal stories, politics, history, psychology etc are being presented to make the listeners feel good and happy. Many sermons only aim to make the hearers richer, healthier and successful. Sadly, the general public also likes the same. 2Tim 4:3. No wonder, those who remain true to God’s word in their preaching and practice are not popular among them.
It is high time for Christians to re-discover the preaching of God’s word according to the scriptural standard. Let us consider five reasons why it’s imperative to preach the word.
1. The importance given in the scripture.
Throughout the Bible, we see God using His chosen servants to declare His counsel to the people. Deut 31:1ff. The Old Testament prophets were commanded to preach at different occasions. Ezekiel 20:46; 21:2; Jonah 3:2. Even when the people were not responding to their preaching they were told to continue it. Isaiah 6: 9 – 11.
In the New Testament also John the Baptist begins to preach the message of repentance. Then the Lord Jesus and the Apostles used to preach from cities to villages. Matt 9:35; Luke 4: 43. Later the Lord commanded the apostles very specifically to preach the gospel all over the world. Mark 16:15. Acts of the Apostles give us a glimpse of the faithful preaching of the disciples and the result of it. Thus we can notice the Lord, His disciples and the early church took preaching as the most important part of their ministry.
2. It is the divine method to convince and convert the heart of man.
The first sermon by Peter resulted in the conversion of three thousand souls. Act 2: 41. Paul says in Rom 10:17, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” It is the hearing of the word of truth that breaks and challenges one to seek salvation and new life through Jesus Christ. Eph 1:13a.
3. It is the way for the building up of the church of Christ.
Faithful preaching and teaching of the gifted men in the church edifies and equips the assembly. Eph 4:11, 12.
4. Encouragement and edification of individual believers also depend on it.
Paul knew that his preaching not only converts people, but comforts, counsels and warns every one that each one may be perfect in Christ Jesus. Col 1:28; 1Thess 4:17.
5. Reformation and revival among Christians is based on preaching.
History proves that it was the faithful proclamation of God’s word that brought about renewal and restoration among God’s people. Consider the life and ministry of anyone who could transform the church in the past; they were marked by their commitment to expository preaching of God’s word. It has been said that the puritan preachers used to preach for several hours at a time.
All those men of God realized the value of faithfully explaining and applying God’s timeless truths for their generation. That resulted in the spiritual growth of individual Christians as well as the growth of the church in their life-time.
Feed the lamb
It’s our duty to continue this vital aspect of Christian ministry for the present generation. More than anything else, let us consider preaching as our most essential responsibility. And refuse to be carried away by other activities that make us poor in our preaching work. Poor preaching will definitely make the believers spiritually malnourished and impoverished. Listen to the words the risen Lord spoke to Peter thrice, “Feed My lambs.” John 21: 15 – 17.
Let us make sure as we continue to teach and preach the word of God that it may be done in the best possible manner even as the Lord would like us to. Let us understand the message of the scripture for ourselves and prayerfully apply it for the present day situation. We can forcefully and convincingly preach only those things that we know well.
Such biblical understanding is not possible without serious study and meditation of the scripture. Of course, that demands much labour with all humility and patience. Then our preaching will be fresh and fruitful; the churches will be revived and restored and God will be glorified among His people.
An American Christian in London went to hear Dr. Parker in the morning and C.H. Spurgeon in the evening. His morning comment was, “Grand preaching, marvelous pulpit oratory.” His evening comment, “Oh what a wonderful saviour was Jesus!” The preacher is in his right place when hidden behind the Cross.
— Source unknown