Preach, Preaching

<<urge, proclaim>>

Preaching is publicly proclaiming Christianity to the non-Christian world, confronting sinful humanity with the claims of the gospel and demanding a decision, ‘Will you follow Christ?’ It is different to teaching which is instructing Christians in the faith.

Preaching the good news was a major aspect of Christ’s ministry, as had been predicted by Isaiah about the coming Messiah (Isa 61:1; Mt 4:17,23; Mk 1:38, 2:1,2; Lk 4:18). In turn He has commissioned us, His followers, to go into the entire world and preach the good news – with accompanying proofs that confirm the message and power of salvation (Mt 28:19,20; Mk 16:15-20; Lk 9:6). He said the gospel (repentnce and forgiveness of sins in His name) would be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end of the world as we know it would come (Mt 24:14;Lk 24:47).

Paul asked for prayer that when he spoke he would clearly and boldly proclaim the gospel (Eph 6:19,20). The true motive for preaching is to share Christ and not bring glory to the human spokesperson (2 Cor 4:5; Phil 1:15-18; Col 1:28). He said he was compelled to preach the gospel, which he did in a simple and clear manner, with a strong demonstration of the Spirit’s power (Act 9:22, 19:8; 1 Cor 1:17, 2:1-4, 9:16; Col 4:3,4). The presentation of the gospel should be in an up-to-date and interesting format based on the timeless Bible truths (not man’s ideas) and in terms that all can understand (Gal 1:8,9). The message doesn’t change but the method does, so stay relevant to modern society without compromising on the truth.

Much so-called gospel preaching today has no Cross to it, no doctrine of suffering, no repentance, no hatred of sin, no call for unconditional surrender to the Lordship of Christ, no daily dying to the flesh, no crucifying of the lusts of the flesh, no rejection of the self-life, no warnings of the coming persecution and impending judgement. This ‘cheap grace’ caters to the hearers – a ‘what’s in it for

Preach God’s message – not human ideas

me’ approach at the expense of ignoring His claims on people and the radical lifetime change the Lord God Almighty requires of sinful humanity.

Thorough study and preparation must be combined with the help of the Holy Spirit for preaching to be effective – to touch not just the ears, but more importantly the hearts, of the listeners to bring about real change (1 Thes 1:5; 2 Tim 4:2-4; Heb 4:2). The gospel seems foolishness to the ‘natural man’ yet to those who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Cor 1:18-25).

The early Christians asked for boldness in preaching and for the Lord to work with them confirming the message (Act 4:29). We also should be witnessing about the Lord, lovingly sharing the gospel in a natural, non-condemning, non-pushy way with passion, conviction and clarity. All Christians should be ‘preaching’ the gospel by living lives that reinforce the gospel and principles of the Kingdom of God, and when necessary even using words. If the lifestyle does not match the words spoken this is being a hypocrite. Everyday life creates opportunities for the presentation of the gospel – there is a tremendous harvest of souls waiting to be reaped (Lk 10:2; 1 Cor 16:9; 2 Cor 2:12). Pray that those in ‘your world’ will be open to and desirous of knowing Jesus, with the Holy Spirit working on their hearts. Preaching calls for a decision – to either turn and go God’s way or remain in sin. After people have accepted the offer of salvation they must be taught how to live as followers of Christ through dicipleship.

See also: cheap gospel, decisions, disciple/discipleship, evangelism, gospel, teach/teaching, witnessing.