Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Preach with an intent

This may apply to both preachers and all who may share the gospel (one on one).
Perhaps i'll elaborate more (on some themes) some other time; but for now some Quick thoughts.

Preaching: a means like no other, a means that God has so ordained and blessed throughout history that little could be said to elevate it any more. Yet we live in a day where preaching is NOT valued, people don't want IN YOUR FACE biblical preaching. They want video clips, and warm or funny stories even if they have NOTHING at all to do with the text. Rare to find those who are hungering after a WORD from the LORD that's OUT of HIS WORD! Too many bible verses, too long, too personal, too precise, too dogmatic, too intolerant, too serious, on and on the complaints come, and from whom? Usually the stale and mean spirited church member who's always letting the preacher know what time it is, or if a song was too long, something is always wrong unless it's short.
I'm not opposed to various methods as long as they are God honoring. Yet there are too many so-called ministries out there that give the impression that they are a SOLUTION to the PREACHING problem. Some will appeal to the LACK of interest in preaching, or the LACK of attention modern people have, or the LACK of comprehension young people have, or the LACK of excitement and entertainment it can bring. I'll give them one thing only: I too am sick of BORING (lifeless) preaching, and I don't mean a certain temperament (some shout, some are quiet whatever) no I mean they have no visible passion (excitement, zeal, love) for the scriptures, for Christ, and for people. If you don't have ALL of these then you have no business preaching. PREACHING MUST BE DONE WITH AN INTENT TO GLORIFY GOD, TO SAVE, TO SANCTIFY, TO EMBOLDEN, TO PRAISE, TO CONVINCE, TO TEACH, TO MOVE PEOPLE. This is done while knowing that we are but vessels of grace, that we can only water and plant, yet we do this actively following the example of the apostles and of our Lord.
NOTHING is a substitute for preaching, because it's a means of grace, it is a work that is blessed by God, given by Christ, applied by the Holy Spirit. In preaching the Holy Spirit goes to work, the Holy Spirit brings the truth home, the Holy Spirit can compel a man or child to listen and listen intently. The Holy Spirit is the one who draws, it is the Spirit who bears witness to the truth. The problem with any ministry that downplays preaching is that it actually IGNORES the ministry of the Holy Spirit in preaching. Not too many ministry positions can claim much biblical ground, but preachers can: for Christ gave some to be Pastors and Teachers (or Pastor-teachers). In fact Paul anticipated (by the revelation of God) days like this, indeed there is nothing new under the sun: Yet what would Paul advise the church to do, when there is a decline of interest in preaching, in sound doctrinal preaching?
2 Tim 4:2,3a 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine
What a terrible business man Paul would have been 'hey Paul i got a problem, we've tried plan A and it's not working the majority have voted that they don't want Plan A, and we know the customer is always right so what would you recommend? STICK TO PLAN A!!!!
Precisely this is the way to go, this is the PRIMARY means God uses to bring men to salvation and brings men to more fruitfulness.
I like what Ravenhill said 'If Christ came today he would cleanse the temple of money changers, he'd cleanse the pulpits" Amen to that.
Preacher!!! Preach! For whom do you preach? THE GLORY OF GOD! that's good. What ELSE? Uhh uhh FOR saints!? YES!! WHO ELSE? FOR the LOST to be saved?!? OF COURSE!! Don't you forget it either.
Preach with an intent: Preach everytime expecting GOd to do something mighty, Preach to show people the GLORY of GOD, Preach to REVEAL the GOSPEL, Preach to see saints GROW IN GODLINESS, and Preach to longing for SINNERS to come TO SALVATION!!!
What is going through your mind when you preach (or share the gospel), it shouldn't be the same kind of thing that goes through your mind when you give a speech at work or at school. Is there a trembling, a fear of God, whereby you want to be sure that you are speaking truth? There should be! Is there a longing in your heart for people to fall in love with the scriptures, specifically the Christ of the scriptures? Is there a longing (a burden) for souls to saved?
Don't tell me about your love of truth if you have no love for those receiving it. What do you think of your hearers, i beg you to evaluate the amount of concern you have for them.
We must have an intent, we must not be satisfied with what we see and then trying to hide behind the Sovereignty of God as an excuse for our apathy. Praise GOd for those who labor over the word and pour out their hearts for the people who will hear it.
Be more concerned with the effect then with your delivery, never sacrificing sound doctrine. If you have to leave the text, then leave it, but don't ignore what you feel compelled to speak. Drive truth home with an intent for understanding; don't just say what you want to say, but say what you want them to hear! Sometimes you need to be undignified, and preach like a madman, there should be times where the urgency for change is so great that you chuck your sermon and preach the sermon that's been boiling inside of you.
Word of caution: There are those who like to shock just for the sake of shocking. There are those that like 'hard' preaching, kinda of like it's a type of music; of course they don't apply much to their own lives, they just listen for the preacher to point out the things they already complain about. "yeah the church is weak", "yeah we need real preaching these days", "yeah no one is reaching the teens" "yeah that's wrong, that's sin" :yet they aren't helping, they aren't grieving over these things they just want to be around other bitter do-nothings.
Preaching isn't a game where finally you can follow in the steps of someone you've always coveted to be like. Don't try to preach like Spurgeon or Tozer or any of these other men who could preach with razor sharpness or rose petal sweetness. Preaching is not the end, it's the means: yet we preach with the end in mind! We preach striving to be faithful (although it may seem to have no effect), yet at the same time we preach expecting change. We certainly don't preach what works (pragmatism) , we preach truth hoping that truth works.
Do you preach with a burden? Do you preach with rejoicing? Do you preach with weeping? There should often be a flood of emotions that almost take over when you preach something because it's so real to you. There is a blessing in preaching that is fruitful for the one who is preaching. There should be times of pleading with such intensity that you could feel like shaking people if you thought it might help.
If you lack these things then ask of God for them, search the scriptures to evaluate the attitude and intents of the prophets, and the apostles. Consider their anguish, consider their burdens, and follow their example. Surely there are many things that could be said to help these issues: like holy living, prayer, fellowship, self-examination, and solid doctrinal study of the word.

Preaching and Preachers by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones is my ultimate book recommend
For something smaller (only $2 www.cbd.com) go for "what's wrong with preaching today", by Albert Martin or listen to the audio of it preached:
http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=10180414163

2 comments:

Matt

Julius,
Thanks for your challenging and encouraging words concerning preaching. Indeed, Al Martin has some great stuff on preaching. Have you ever listened to His 80 or so lectures on Pastoral theology? Let me know if you haven't and I'll burn you copy next time you come to Y-town

Julius Mickel

May the Lord bless you too--- It's so exciting to know my family back home is getting good meat (you're an answer to much prayer) -True expository preaching PRAISE THE LORD!!!
No i don't have that and I would LOVE to have it-thank you- I have very little of Al Martin beyond what's on Sermonaudio -His stuff on parenting is excellent too!

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