I can’t get that phrase out of my mind.
“Preach the Word.”
That’s our marching order in a nutshell.
Go and make disciples…
You are my witnesses…
You are my ambassadors…
As followers of Christ. As Christians (which literally means: little Christ), we have been commanded to continue the work that Jesus started. While He was here He said, “I am come to seek and save that which is lost.” We must continue the will of our Master.
But, we are called by the world to compromise that mission over and over again. We are wooed by Satan to live for our own kingdom, our own desires, our own goals.
Here we are in 2015. We’re firmly entrenched into the year. We’re already 13 days in… Will we live this year for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? It’s your choice and it’s mine.
I preached a message last week about this command the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to write to Timothy…
“Preach the word…”
I just can’t get it off my mind. I know most people think that command is just for “preachers.” But, the truth is: we’re all preachers! We all have our place of ministry. Your ministry is where you’re at! You understand that don’t you? Your ministry is where you are! It’s where you live, work, play, eat out, go to the grocery store, etc. It’s your job to reach the people in your circle of influence, your sphere of impact.
Yet, if you are going to reach people in your circle who don’t know Jesus, you are going to have to love them with the truth, not compromise. Do you get that? The truth…not compromise.
I love what Dr. David Black says:
“There can be no peace and joy until there is first righteousness. It is a great disservice to soothe unsaved people with a false peace and bestir them with an artificial joy when they are not right with God. Pain killers are not enough. The broken bones must be set first.”
I was tempted last week to compromise the truth of God’s word. I fought it in my mind for about 10 seconds and then I heard the voice of the Spirit and He said, “Kevin, preach the word.”
Paul was right.
1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5
Do you understand that we will suffer for proclaiming the truth? That’s why Paul told Timothy he better be ready to endure suffering. The only way we’ll fulfill our ministry is to be willing and ready to suffer for the truth, just as Jesus did.
Will we proclaim the Gospel?
“If we have lost the clear proclamation of the gospel—(Jesus’ death on the cross for our sin and in our place)—or if we downplay repentance and forgiveness, I think we’ve removed the intentional stumbling block of the cross.” Ed Stetzer, President, LifeWay Christian Bookstores
Jesus is stumbling block to this world. He’s not a fluffy cushion. He’s the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
“The message we have been given to preach is countercultural, status quo challenging…it cuts against the grain of surrounding culture, it convicts of sin, and it calls people to put their faith in Jesus Christ. It calls them to change direction.” Mark Dever, Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.
We live in a culture now where a Baptist Church has to write in their ad for a pastor that he must believe the Bible. Are you kidding? Click on the picture below from the Biblical Recorder if you don’t believe me.
Oh the itching ears of our day! They no longer want truth. They want a graven image…a god that suits their lifestyles, their habits, their inhibitions, their sins. What a slap in the face of Christ who died to set us free from our sins. The culture (even some in Christendom) want us to accept sin and “love” the person. Well, the greatest love we can show a person who is sick is to help them hold their nose as they swallow the medicine that will save their lives. A diabetic will have to endure the stick of the needle for the life-giving insulin. The pain lasts for a moment. For a sinner, they must understand the bad new, before they can understand and grasp the Good News. The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus died in our place so that we can receive His mercy and grace and forgiveness. But, they must hear the bad news.
Oswald Chambers wrote almost 100 years ago:
“In dealing with other people, our stance should always be to drive them toward making a decision of their will. That is how surrendering to God begins. The theme of the world’s religion today is to serve in a pleasant, non-confrontational manner. But our only priority must be to present Jesus Christ crucified— to lift Him up all the time (1 Corinthians 2:2).
Every belief that is not firmly rooted in the Cross of Christ will lead people astray. The calling of a New Testament worker is to expose sin and to reveal Jesus Christ as Savior… We are sent by God to lift up Jesus Christ, not to give wonderfully beautiful speeches. We must be willing to examine others as deeply as God has examined us. We must also be sharply intent on sensing those Scripture passages that will drive the truth home, and then not be afraid to apply them.” Oswald Chamber, My Utmost For His Highest
Will we preach the Word? Will we compromise and look the other way when pushed? Will we accept sin as normal because the culture does?
Theologian John Stott once said, “There are many popular preachers today, but not many powerful ones.” Yes, many preachers can elicit all kinds of wild emotions, but that doesn’t necessarily transform lives.
George Barna, the research guru has it right when he describes the idea of a “market-driven, consumer satisfaction” philosophy in our churches today.
“Consumer satisfaction means that the standard of righteousness cannot be raised too high. And there you have the seeds of a ‘watered down gospel’ sown in the very philosophy that drives many ministries and many churches today. And make no mistake about it, this methodology, this new philosophy of ministry is altering the message the church conveys to the world.
Unfortunately, the market-driven philosophy appeals to the very worst mood of our age. It caters to people whose first love is self and who do not care for God unless they can have Him without disrupting their lifestyles. Promise such people a religion that will allow them to be comfortable in their materialism and comfortable in their self-love and they will respond in droves.” George Barna, Barna Research Group
God forbid! Al Mohler recently wrote:
“The sacred desk (the pulpit) has become an advice center and the pew has become the therapist’s couch. The problem, of course, is the sinner does not know what his most urgent need is. He is blind to his need for redemption and reconciliation to God, and focuses on… personal fulfillment, financial security, family peace, and career advancement.
In the end, the Christian preacher simply must confront the congregation with the Word of God. That confrontation will be at times awkward, challenging and difficult. After all, this is the Word that pierces us like a sword. The evangelical preacher must set his aim at letting the sword loose, neither hiding it nor dulling its edge.” Al Mohler, President Southern Seminary
Methodist writer, Bill McKibbens said this about our modern-day churches:
“The pastors focus relentlessly on you and your individual needs. Their goal is to service consumers… The result is often a kind of soft-focus, comfortable, suburban faith. A New York Times reporter visiting one booming mega-church outside Phoenix recently found the typical scene: a drive-through latte stand…sermons about ‘how to reach your financial goals, how to invest your money and reduce your debt.’ On Sundays children played with church-distributed Xboxes, and many congregants had signed up for a twice-weekly aerobics class called ‘Firm Believers.’” Bill McKibbens
Is this what we’ve become? I pray not!
Preach the word dear friend and follower of Jesus. Be prepared to lose friends over it. Be prepared to be called “closed-minded.” Be prepared to be called names that can’t be repeated here. Yes, preach the word! Preach it in love. Preach it seasoned with grace. Preach it with clarity and boldness, but for the love of the King…preach the Word!
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