Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


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Preaching

  • Jim Townsley
  • Apr 28, 2011

"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." 2Ti 4:2
"For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God". Act 20:27

As a young preacher I heard a statement concerning preaching that has stayed with me and I have tried to make it a habit of my preaching. That statement was," Preaching should be trying to fix something that is broken or prevent something from breaking down." In other words every message should have a challenge to help someone fix a problem or to help someone avoid a problem. Good biblical preaching will always have a challenge to it. People will be helped, encouraged, and convicted by biblical preaching.

The task of preaching in the gospels and the early church always had a specific goal in mind. The Bible tells us how John came preaching repentance and Jesus sent out His disciples to preach, while Jesus preached the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. In addition, Jesus preached the gospel to the poor, the blind, the captives, and set men free. Jesus also preached the acceptable year of the Lord. The Apostles preached Jesus Christ, His resurrection, and they went everywhere preaching the Word. These early church leaders preached in homes, in synagogues, public assemblies, and as far away as God led them where the name of Christ was unknown. They preached boldly, truthfully, and with great power. These men of God preached without fear of persecution and without pay. In fact Paul says, "yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" These preachers did so without enticing words and were careful to preach the whole counsel of God. The greatest fear of the New Testament preachers was to preach in error another gospel or to become a castaway by an inconsistent life.

Preaching is not limited to a few men of the early church, but is given to men of God as a command to herald the truth. The importance of preaching should be well established in all of our minds as preachers of the gospel. There is nothing we do that is more important. Preaching is the one thing we do that all men and women know about us. Therefore, it is crucial that we preach truthfully, without covetousness, and without fear, the whole counsel of God. There is no place for man's thoughts and opinions. We must preach the Word of God.

Now let us all be honest. Have we not at times preached our own ideas and opinions? Have you listened to a sermon that keeping your Bible open was unnecessary? We must recognize the importance of building sermons upon the revealed Word of God. Members should feel like they have listened to a message from God when they hear a sermon. We should learn to use biblical terminology and base our beliefs on the revealed truth from God's Word. Preparing messages require the illumination of the Holy Spirit so that we can understand the Word of God and then we must deliver that message to His people in a Spirit filled fashion. Intimidation, theatrics, and entertainment in the pulpit must never replace the clear preaching of the Word of God.

Paul's admonition to Timothy was to, "preach the Word." What does that really mean? Man tends to manufacture his own terminology for preaching. We say, "That man is more of a teacher, or that man preaches hard, or that preacher is really entertaining. Where do these ideas come from? Not the Bible! The Bible does not qualify preaching in any of these ways.
During our pastoral training we learned there is topical preaching, textual preaching, expository preaching etc. The truth is all preaching should be biblical preaching. A man of God should take the Word of God and help the people of God. In a true sense all preaching should be expository, in that every message should reveal (expose) the truth of the passage. Preaching that never refers to the main text subjects itself to man's ideas and is easily susceptible to error. Preachers have a holy task of handling the Word of God and we must do so carefully. "But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God." 2Co 4:2 The weight and force of any sermon should come from the scripture itself rather than any technique of the speaker.

Recently there has been a growing interest and emphasis on expository preaching. This emphasis should be a good thing, since all preaching should be expository, but unfortunately I have heard some preaching that is verse by verse and at the conclusion of the sermon I still wasn't sure what the preacher was saying. To simplify preaching to be solely verse by verse, which is an important variety of preaching, limits ones ability to preach on many other topics and subjects. Consider the importance of illustrations and parables by Jesus when He preached. Jesus never preached from the Old Testament verse by verse. I have met too many people who have been bored to tears by the dry approach of some preaching. Conversely, others have been led into a shallow Christian lifestyle by the emotional, but unbiblical approach of preachers who don't really preach the Word. The breeding ground of cults is usually found in the shallowness of preaching not based upon the Bible.

We have the greatest message in the world and it should be a cardinal sin to bore people with such a marvelous message. Conversely, a man may entertain an audience, but with no life changing truth, thus that too is a shame. There must be a proper balance in preaching the Word of God. We must preach truth revealed from the Word and preach it with conviction and enthusiasm. Preaching is no easy task. Every service we must know the mind of God, study the Word of God, and apply it to the needs of man. We must compare Scripture with Scripture and Old Testament with New Testament.

Another major concern today is the replacement of preaching the Bible by psychology. During the last thirty years there has been an explosion of seminars, books, and conferences that are filled with psychology. Some of the ideas promoted are good and helpful, but they are a poor substitute for the Word of God. The new-evangelicals and liberals almost predominantly preach with this style. Our fundamental churches must shun this practice.

America has enjoyed the ministry of some great preachers who are now with the Lord and a new generation is growing up without knowing anything about them. We would be wise to give our young preachers sermon copies of some of the great preachers of the past so that they might study them and learn from them. May God help us to practice biblical preaching.