Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Just Preach "The Bible"


Pastors today face relentless pressure to do everything except teach the Bible.  They are encouraged to be storytellers, comedians, therapists, or motivational speakers.  They are warned to steer clear of topics that people find unpleasant.  Many have given up Biblical teaching (or preaching) in favor of shallow talks designed to make people feel good.  Some have even replaced preaching with drama, skits, or other forms of staged entertainment.

But pastors have only one option:  “Preach the WORD; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2).

When Paul (the elder pastor) wrote those words to Timothy (the younger pastor), he added this prophetic warning:  “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will heap to themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth” (v.3-4).

Clearly there was NO ROOM in Paul’s philosophy of ministry for the “give-people-what-they-want” theory that is so prevalent today.  He was no “man-pleaser” (Galatians 1:10; Ephesians 6:6).  He did not urge Timothy to conduct a survey to find out what his congregation wanted.  He commanded him to PREACH THE WORD – faithfully and patiently.

In fact, Paul was not telling Timothy to be “successful”; he was encouraging him to FOLLOW THE DIVINE STANDARD.  He was not advising him to pursue prosperity, power, prominence, popularity, or any other notions of worldly success.  He was urging the young pastor to BE BIBLICAL – regardless of the consequences.

Preaching the Word is NOT EASY.  The stringent discipline required to interpret Scripture accurately is a constant burden, and the message we are required to proclaim is often offensive.  Christ Himself is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense (Romans 9:33; I Peter 2:8).

No preacher or teacher of God’s Word is permitted to trim the message, blunt its edge, or tailor it to people’s preferences.  The WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD’S WORD is to be taught AS IT IS WRITTEN without fear or favor (Acts 20:27).

The goal of a preacher is not to entertain people with his charisma or rhetorical style, or to amuse them with his cleverness, humor, novel insights, or sophisticated intelligence.  He is to simply preach Jesus Christ crucified.

“I must decrease so that He may increase” (John the Baptist).

Frankly, I do not understand any preacher who is not willing to do this.

Faithful preaching and skillful teaching of the Word must be at the very heart of any ministry.  Any other approach replaces the voice of God with human wisdom.  Philosophy, politics, psychology, homespun advice, and personal opinion can never accomplish what the Word of God does.  No human message comes with the stamp of divine authority - only the Word of God.

1 comment:

Carole Bryant said...

These days it's the "Feel Good Religion" whatever makes you feel good it's o.k. In God's eyes all sins are the same.