Why Preach at All?
Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the means by which God accomplishes His ends. This is His choice. It is also His command for His church to preach the Word (2 Tim 4:2). It is His indwelling Spirit who accomplishes what He requires (Ps 57:2; 138:8; Is 26:12).
When new believers in Jesus learn of the sovereignty of God in salvation, they often struggle with the purpose of Gospel preaching, “If God has determined and decreed all things that comes to pass, and if He has predestined who He will adopt as His children then why preaching?”
We begin our explanation at the beginning when Satan preached to Adam and Eve in his Halloween costume. He lied to them. Using their free will in the state of integrity, they believed the devil, and it was counted as condemnation for them and their progeny (Gen 3; Rom 5:12–21). Man has been a slave of a sin (Rom 6:6) in a world of darkness, governed by the prince of the power of the air ever since. Sinners are simply waiting for their biological death and the just judgment that follows death of the body (Rom 6:23; Heb 9:27).
In His great mercy and by His gracious choice, God has determined and decreed the salvation of His chosen people. Absolutely nothing can or will thwart God’s deliverance of His holy nation. His is a sure salvation. To that end God has determined and decreed the means to be employed by Him through others.
God is true (Rom 3:4) and Jesus Christ is the truth of God (Jn 14:6), having been enfleshed as the Word of God incarnate (Jn 1:14). This is the Word of truth whom we preach. Whereas, Satan preached lies, it is the Spirit of truth who fills men of God to preach the truth as it is in Jesus Christ (Eph 4:21).
The powerful effect of a Spirit-filled man proclaiming the Spirit-inspired, written Word of truth is the salvation of God’s elect (Rom 1:16–17; 1 Cor 2:4; Titus 3:5). Preaching is more than a mere recounting of stories and facts. When accompanied by the powerful demonstration of the Spirit of life, people are brought to life in the Spirit (Jn 6:63).
Spiritually dead men are made alive by being born again of God (Jn 3:1–8; Eph 2:5; Col 2:13; 1 Pet 1:3; 3:8). Through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Mt 3:11), the now indwelling Spirit of Christ opens the heart of the elect who respond to the preaching of Christ crucified (Acts 16:14).
The difference between one who hears the Gospel and does not respond is the presence and power of the Word and the Spirit. The world cannot receive the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:17) and God’s Word does not have a place in the heart nor the mind of those without the Spirit of Christ (Jn 5:42; 8:47; Rom 8:9). No one follows Jesus Christ without first receiving Him in the Spirit according to the will of God (Jn 1:13). God has mercy on whom He wills (Rom 9:15–16).
Within the preaching event is the calling of God’s elect to come to Christ (Mt 11:28), the one and only Savior of sinners (Acts 4:12). Those predestined by God to be the children of God (Eph 1:5) are effectually called in the process of their being saved (Rom 8:30). This is never to be done by man-made, unbiblical manipulation techniques. These were employed by revivalists and crusaders in the recent past.
Clearly, preaching itself has no power if the content is not the Bible, the Word of life. Preaching also has no power if the life-giving Spirit of grace is not at work in the preacher and the particular hearer (Zech 12:10; Jn 6:63). The Spirit moves like the wind, and according to Jesus, it goes where it wills to go (Jn 3:1–8). God gives His Spirit to whom He wills to send Him (Jn 14:26; 15:26).
Preaching the Word of truth corrects the erroneous message of the enemy. It is a war between truth and lies, in the battle of words that either kill or give life. The preacher proclaims the very Word that declares that God is true, and every man is a liar, being a child of his or her father, the devil (Jn 8:44; 1 Jn 3:10). The natural man does not believe the preacher’s report (Is 53:1; Eph 2:1–3), and by this he proves that God’s Word about him is true…he must be born again.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ, by God’s order, must go to all nations (Mt 24:14; Mk 16:15), in order for all the elect to experience the irresistible grace of God, in calling them to life — new, abundant, and eternal.
Why preach at all? God is glorified, even as He is vindicated of Satan’s lies about Him from the beginning. God told the truth to Adam and Eve, and His Word has revealed all the more truth about Him. His children walk in the truth because they walk in the light because they walk by the Spirit, who causes them to walk in faith.
It is the Word of Christ preached in the Spirit that opens their ears to hear Christ calling, and it is by hearing that faith manifests by the presence of the Spirit, who is willing and doing His good pleasure in them and through them.
Until heaven and earth pass away under the fierce fire of God’s judgment (2 Pet 3:10–12), one can be assured that the faithful preaching of God’s Word in the Spirit will continue. God has ordained the means and the end of His sure salvation. As the Spirit convicts the world of sin through the preaching of the Bible, so God calls forth His own beloved children. The people of God love the preaching of the Word, while the people of the world do not. How do you fare under this Word made known to you by His Spirit?
Spokane Valley, Washington
October 11, 2021