Should I Preach?

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What does it mean to preach, I mean after all it sounds so “preachy” and kind of harsh. I started thinking of things like being called a “Bible Thumper”, or “Holier than Thou”… My flesh cries out against this idea because it’s just not politically correct or culturally relevant. How many of today’s buzz words can I employ that convince myself and you that this is just not the way to go about it? Shouldn’t we be “relational” and utilize “friendship evangelism”? Shouldn’t we “invite” them to church, or have them attend a less hostile atmosphere, make it cozy and comfortable? Isn’t this a better method in the modern age?

Preaching seems to be something only reserved for those that get paid to stand in front of a church congregation. In a stodgy old building, and he or in some cases she, but we can discuss that another day, wear a suit and a tie and yell at people for an hour. Wouldn’t it better if that guy would come down to our level and wore a cool t-shirt and skinny jeans? He could be more conversational, and make it a little more relaxing? It seems that would be more effective.

Should the Bible get in the way of what we think works? Don’t get me wrong, I think evangelizing to friends is a great thing, but it’s not the only way and it shouldn’t even be the primary way. If we believe the Bible, shouldn’t we do what it says? Shouldn’t we use the language it uses? After all it is the Word of God right? Should we do as Paul said “imitate me as I imitate Christ”?

From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 4:17

The word “preach” used here is Kēryssō

  1. to be a herald, to officiate as a herald
    1. to proclaim after the manner of a herald
    2. always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed
  2. to publish, proclaim openly: something which has been done
  3. used of the public proclamation of the gospel and matters pertaining to it, made by John the Baptist, by Jesus, by the apostles and other Christian teachers

Did you catch the part about gravity and authority? Jesus preached with authority and gravity, He demanded a response from His listeners. Jesus never gave people a pass, He wasn’t that gentle little mouse that people make Him out to be, that gives everyone a hug and tells them it’ll be okay. When they encountered Him it was to be confronted with their sin and be forced to make a decision about their condition. He used different techniques depending on His audience, but He always preached with gravity.

Mark 1:4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sin.

Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news; it is something to be proclaimed with authority and demand a response, so that some might be saved. If you are a believer it’s your job. It’s why you were saved. Not all are going to stand on a street corner and proclaim the news, but some will and some should. The meaning of the word calls for it, and the early church understood this. Paul knew it, and he lived it. And it didn’t take him very long to get to it.

Acts 9:20-21 Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose…”

No time to think about it, not time to reconsider, or even hesitate, Paul just gets up and starts preaching…what a remarkable event.

But what do we preach?

But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” – Luke 4:43

This word is euaggelizō and it’s the “good news”, we must preach the good news, after all its news right? (Voddie Baucham – loosely quoted) Shouldn’t we be talking about news, especially good news? Christ must be preached, and the kingdom of God must be proclaimed as the only way of salvation. Are you willing?

Not all are called to preach from the pulpit, not all are called to preach in open air, or in the public arena, but we are all called to preach.

If you are a Believer in Jesus Christ!

This might mean friendship evangelism for some and maybe for most, at the very least, but it means what it says, and preaching is proclaiming with gravity and authority, and demanding a response. Doesn’t that seem weightier than “sharing” the gospel?

The only time the word share is used in the New Testament it has to do with sharing in other’s sins, or actual sharing of goods, so I’m going to do my best to drop this word from my vocabulary as it relates to the gospel.

I will preach the gospel, and I will proclaim the gospel, and maybe on occasion I’ll share the gospel, but I think preaching is just more manly and more Christ like, and more Paul like, so I’m going to try and be like them.

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. – 2 Timothy 4:2

Kevin

When the going gets tough… the unregenerate get going…

tough get going 2

Last week I wrote about how a Believer will respond to trials and very often this exposes sin.  If we truly “believe” we will respond as we should, but we don’t always do that, at least immediately.  We must view this as chastening from the Lord and consider that He has a much higher purpose and reason for the situation.  We can fight back at this trial or we can embrace it as a perfect gift from Him.  It’s meant to refine us and purify us as pure silver or gold, not a cheap throw away metal.

All people are challenged with trials in their lives and this is not unique to Christians.  However Christians should respond differently.  Today I’m interested in exploring the trials that come directly through the preaching or teaching of God’s Word.  The times when you just don’t like what you hear from the pulpit or directly from those called to shepherd your soul. (Acts 20:28, Hebrews 13:7)

We all have people in our lives that have come and gone.  We love and have loved them.  The church has poured a tremendous amount of resources into them.  Then something happens.  The consumer “christian” that loves the blessing of God and the church but when push comes to shove does not want the Lordship.

As I think carefully about the words I write today I must really challenge myself.  Will there come a time that I won’t like what I’m asked to do?  Will I be the one that justifies a certain position in my mind?  A position that tells me I must walk away?  This is very challenging to me and once I’ve written these words I’m accountable to them.  I don’t take this lightly, I’m accountable to God.

John 6:60-61 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying: who can understand it?”  When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you?”

Isn’t it clear from the teachings of Jesus that people will be offended?  The “disciples” spoken of here are not the twelve; these disciples are simply “learners”.  These are the multitudes of people that were following Jesus around.  It was just back in verse 26 that Jesus said to them “you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.”

These learners were certainly interested in Jesus.  They really liked the show, and were excited when they benefited from Him.  They wanted to make Him their king because the bennies were great.  He healed them, He fed them, He taught them…  Not a bad deal right?

It’s really easy to see how this works as we read the pages of our Bibles but yet we can’t make the connection between what is so obvious to our own lives.

I’ve benefited from the meals brought to our home by the church…

I’ve benefited from the teaching and preaching of God’s Word…

I’ve benefited from the training of our children…

I’ve benefited from the wise counsel as I’ve worked through marital conflicts in my life…

I, me, me, me and I…  It’s all about me right now.

But then, when I’m offended do I walk away?  Do I say, “Well thanks a lot for all the great benefits, but say what?  You want me to eat flesh and drink blood, no way!”  That’s a hard saying, who can understand what you are asking of me?

Do you consistently live with a “one foot out the door” mentality as my good friend and brother recently confessed to me?

Believer, be challenged today.  Be chastened by God’s Word if you’ve had this thought process in your life.  Repent and turn from your sin.

I will never know if those that leave in this manner are truly regenerate or not, at least this side of heaven, but what I do know is their actions look eerily similar to this section of text.  And the Lord didn’t go running after them because He knew they were not His, but let’s not think for a moment that those in rebellion are not fully accountable for their actions.

Their lives will eventually show what type of soil they are.   (Matthew 13:3-9)

John 6:66-69 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.  Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”  But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

I hope you are being challenged in your Christian life, by God’s Word and by those that are called to shepherd your soul.  I hope you will cling to God’s Word as the source by which you measure the teaching.  I hope you will be convinced by the Word and by those that are accountable for your soul.

That will be profitable for you.  (Hebrews 13:17)

Kevin