The Way of Preaching
God calls men of God to preach Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor 1:23; 2:2). To know Christ, growing in the grace and knowledge of Him (2 Pet 3:18), is a grace afforded by Him, according to His will and good pleasure, found in His eternal purpose (Eph 3:11).
Preachers are stewards of the mysteries of the Gospel (1 Cor 4:1), and stewards must be found faithful to their calling (1 Cor 4:2). Jesus taught that a tree is known by its fruit (Mt 12:33). So is a preacher. Preachers, who proclaim Christ, bring forth fruit that remains (Jn 15:16).
The preacher is set in contrast with the hireling, who does not love, nor care for Christ’s sheep. He beats the sheep and fleeces them for his own profit (Ezek 34). In lording over the flock (1 Pet 5:3), he preaches himself, boasting of his accomplishments.
The world assesses the Gospel message to be foolishness (1 Cor 1:18), and so does the false preacher, preferring philosophy, psychology, and programs. But God has chosen this method (preaching/proclamation), and this message (Gospel), for the very purpose of shaming the wise (1 Cor 1:27). The holiness of the church is produced, then measured, by its separation from the world. Hirelings hate this separation, brought by the Spirit of holiness, primarily because it hinders numerical growth, keeping the goats out. They are convinced that by being worldly, the world will be attracted to the church. They may be right; but in this errant way, the church itself becomes worldly, and the world does not become holy.
Man is all about external appearance because of the lust of his eyes and the pride of his life accomplishments (1 Jn 2:16). It is preaching the perfections of Christ Jesus that humbles a man, with the demonstration of power that the Spirit alone can bring to him. Without Spirit-led preaching, Christ’s voice is not heard by His people. It is the Spirit-filled Christian who hears the Word of God and rejoices.
The very same Word that causes one of God’s unregenerate elect to hear and believe (Rom 10:17), is the same Word that feeds Christ’s sheep and protects them. This is why preaching and teaching God’s Word has primacy for the pastor in the life and ministry of God’s flock (2 Tim 4:2).
The preacher boasts in Christ, alone (1 Cor 1:31; 2 Cor 10:17, 18), for He is the wisdom of God and the power of God (1 Cor 1:24). To know Christ, one must hear and learn of Him; and upon receipt of the gift of God (Spirit = salvation), Christ becomes the new believer’s life (Gal 2:20), abundant and eternal (1 Jn 5:12).
The preacher uses boldness of speech, when proclaiming the excellencies of King Jesus. The reason for this confident style is the manner of spiritual warfare the preacher engages in. The enemy floods the world with information, especially lies, being the prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2). The Gospel preacher has the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, the Word of truth (Eph 6:17). A wise listener will judge the measure of faith in a preacher, as Ben Franklin did with George Whitefield. Franklin did not believe the Gospel, but he knew Whitefield did believe it, by the way he preached.
The preacher has zero power, unless he is filled with the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of truth (Jn 14:17). Preaching is the Spirit bearing witness with the Word of God, of Christ, of truth, of life, through His chosen vessel. There has never been any other way, nor will there ever be any other way. Preaching the Word, by the Spirit, is ordained by God (1 Cor 2:4). He who is wise to win souls will forsake every other method and message.
Men of God, called of God, having the Spirit of God as your Teacher and Helper, preach the Word (2 Tim 4:2)! Do not be persuaded to the right, nor to the left, but keep your eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2). This will keep you on the narrow way that leads to life, for you, and for those who follow you, following Christ (1 Cor 11:1).
Trust in no one else and do not believe in anything other than the sure Word of God, which is eternal and cannot fail (Rom 9:6), never returning void. In this, you will do well, and your reward will be great. Brothers, this is the way of preaching, be faithful and preach the Word!
Spokane Valley, Washington
November 3, 2021