Saturday, April 13, 2013

Preach the Word!

This past week and last weekend I was able to spend my time hearing and learning from some of the worlds greatest Evangelical Christian pastors that God has blessed us with in this era. Myself and a friend of mine attended The Gospel Coalition conference in Orlando, Florida from the 6th-10th, and during that time we experienced what I've come to call "theological overload". We heard from men such as Tim Keller the Presbyterian pastor and author from New York City and David Platt the Southern Baptist pastor from Birmingham, Alabama, and several other phenomenal pastors from all denominations in between.

The central theme and goal of the conference is uniting under the banner of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and putting aside all denominational ties and discrepancies and just focusing on the Word of God. I can honestly say that the goal of the conference was accomplished and that the message from the narrative Gospel according to Luke was successfully exposited and the Scriptures were preached with authoritative exegesis by all men who led us in worship. One thing did stick out to me throughout the entirety of the conference and it was through a book that was handed to me by the publishing company The Banner Of Truth Trust. The book entitled Preaching The Centrality Of Scripture by Dr. R. Albert Mohler of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, and it was by this book how I've judged the preaching that I heard throughout the course of the conference.

Dr. Mohlers book is outstanding and one that I highly recommend for your personal pastoral library, your churches library, or just as a personal use to further understand what preaching is all about. He first charges the reader to "think seriously and soberly about the task of preaching. As we do so, I would direct us to the text of Scripture, to 2 Timothy 4:1-5." As ministers, elders, and pastors preaching is essential to the teaching of the Word of God and essential to the growth of the local church and the global Church. Preaching is the food that congregations desire and need to further their spiritual growth, it is equivalent to the milk a newborn baby needs from its mother, and it is the teaching we receive from preaching that builds our understanding of intense and hard to follow passages in Scripture. Preaching is necessary and required in my opinion to understand who God truly is and understand His purpose for our lives as followers of Christ.

Dr. Mohler goes on to say in his book that there is a crisis within the church that is endangering the ministry of the pastor and endangering the ministry of the local church body through inconsistent, incoherent, and weak preaching "Might the true evidence of a crisis in preaching be instead immature and even ignorant Christians falling prey to false doctrine? Or a worldly church proclaiming an increasingly worldly message? Or confusion and secularity? Or a lack of discipline in our churches? Or the development of factions and factionalism? Perhaps such a crisis in preaching cannot be quantified statistically at all. What if such a crisis were more fundamentally evidenced by the substance of what we preach or fail to preach?" Obviously there is a problem with the way some pastors are preaching and the Gospel is not being communicated effectively and the words of the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy are concerning just that. To preach only the Word and preach it effectively and clearly.

" 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: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teaching to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Here Paul charges Timothy his own son in the faith to remain diligent in his preaching of the true Gospel and always contend for the faith even amongst false doctrine and in times of rough ministry. Ultimately what Dr. Mohler and what Paul is saying is PREACH THE WORD! Dr. Mohler goes on to say that "The link between the preaching of the gospel and the preaching of the Word is indissoluble and unbreakable." this means that we must never distance ourselves from our preaching of the written Word of God and that we must always, always be accurate in our preaching. What we are preaching is not a new message, nor is it something that was fashioned by men "We are heralds, not originators. We are charged to preach a message we have received-not to invent a message that will be well received. We are to preach that which has been sent, delivered, and addressed to us, not a message that has been developed or altered." We are charged to always hold fast to the Truth with which we were brought up in and contend its claim as the Word of our Sovereign and Holy Maker.

This post is not meant to come across as an indictment against anyone, but it is meant to encourage and urge pastors and elders to PREACH THE WORD! After the week I had in Orlando amongst several Godly preachers I was encouraged and adamant about sharing the over arching message relayed to me! If you are offended by this than maybe you should examine your own preaching and teaching, maybe your aren't preaching the Word that God commanded you to preach. Maybe you are, and maybe you just needed to be reminded as to why we do so!

Therefore I urge you brothers to always PREACH THE WORD and always contend for the faith in which Christ our God has given us.

God bless,

All scripture is taken from the English Standard Version (ESV) published by Crossway
Mohler, R. Albert. Preaching: The Centrality of Scripture. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2002. Print.

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