It is my humble opinion that every true spiritual awakening is a result of biblical preaching. And when I refer to “biblical preaching,” I am referring the expositional preaching of the text. Seeing what the text means, what it says, and why. Something that is missing today in a majority of “evangelical” churches. God has always used preaching to bring His sheep to the fold. The proclamation of the word of God has always been His means of awakening. Matthew 3:1-2 “Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” John wasn’t preaching a message they wanted to hear, but it was a message they needed to hear. And the preaching of the word drew men. “Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan” (Matthew 5:5).
Why do we think today we should alter the preaching to be culturally acceptable? A trend has been taking place for the last few decades, having men stand in the pulpit who are storytellers, psychological thinkers, and motivational speakers. People want to be “addressed” not “preached” too. This have given rise to a church full of unbelievers who want the Bible to fit their life. The lengthy sermon is frowned upon today. Let’s fill the worship service with other things, and then give the pastor a twenty-minute block for the “message.” We don’t need “messages,” we need biblically sound, God saturated, exposition of the Word of God.
In Paul’s appeal in Galatians 1:16, “So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?” It’s the tendency of pastors to make the truth more appeasable. However, as pastors we preach the truth as it’s laid out in the Scripture. Appeasing a crowd is dangerous. In fact, it’s the sign of a hireling, not a shepherd. Feeding the sheep bad food is a sure sign you don’t care for the sheep. The truth does offend. I know, it’s not popular to speak the truth, but the pastors job isn’t to appease the wanderers in the flock; it’s to feed the flock. A few thoughts to consider as we preach.
Remember we are accountable to God. 2 Timothy 4:1, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus.” The words we speak on behalf of God, we will be accountable for. Speaking truth, no matter the acceptance of the truth, must be done. Ephesians 4:15, “but speaking the truth in love” is a vital part of ministry. Getting the love right is a challenge, I know, but truth is vital in the pulpit. You will lose some, as they choose to go the way of Demas, 2 Timothy 4:10, “for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.”
Pastors must teach, rebuke and exhort. Titus 1:9 “holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.” The truth is always confrontational. People want to hear what pleases their ears. They want to hear what confirms their behavior. Speaking the truth of Scripture will always bring about resistance. In your church, there are those who don’t like the truth. They may not be trouble makers, but they don’t like the truth. They wish you would just appease them, but don’t. The two important tasks of a preacher are to exhort the sound doctrine of God, and defend it.
In times where the culture seems to be winning, don’t appease. 1 Timothy 4:1 “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith.” Pastors will fall away, preaching a circus gospel, entertaining the goats and starving the sheep. They will jump on the social justice band wagon, redefine what a pastor is, and ultimately just become a good speaker. In times where even those in the church depart, the powerful preaching of God’s word is more vital, not less.
Ministry is never easy. Some endure far greater trials than I have. With the current trend in the United States, both in terms of secular government and weak, woke churches, suffering for preaching the truth may be more nearer than ever. With the internet, Youtube and other means of hearing a preacher’s message, it also opens the door to those who hate the truth. Laws can be passed that will be read to include a pastor’s message against gay marriage as hate speech. Or if you speak of biological male and female, you could be under assault. Timothy was becoming fearful, and timid, when Paul said in 2 Timothy 1:8 “but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.” I am not asking nor praying for suffering. But I am praying I will speak the truth no matter the crowd or their view of the truth. Preacher, preach, don’t appease. Your reward isn’t from men.