Preaching, God’s Chosen Means

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

-Romans 10:14-15

 

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”  -1 Corinthians 1:21

 

Even a casual study of the Bible reveals the person of God as methodical.  He is a Being concerned with detail, order, and purpose.

 

Luke 12:7  But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered…

 

However, today’s theology promotes a Deity who seems disordered, haphazard, and unconcerned with specifics. Nothing could be more untrue of the Almighty. When God told Noah to build an ark He gave him detailed instructions:  He gave him the dimensions – how tall, long, wide, door, window, pitch, gopher wood, etc.  So specific were the plans for the Tabernacle in the wilderness that it addressed the color of the linens and the hems in the priestly garments. Solomon’s temple was a complex architectural project, do we suppose God would simply bless just any four walls thrown together?  Time and time again, we see Israel defeating her enemies, but only when her leaders adhered to the strict battle orders of God. The Bible reveals that the true work of God will always be preceded by adherence to the design and method of God.  In other words, God never commands men to do without telling them how to do.  Jesus Christ, who is God incarnate, is referred to as the Way.  Which confirms that God has a very specific model, a divine system, if you will, in executing His eternal purposes.  To suggest that God will reward, or otherwise overlook, spiritual sloppiness is to deny the plain, Biblical facts.  No man has the liberty to deviate from this way, or Christ, and call himself a Christian (and remember, narrow is the way).  As a spiritual manual, God has given us His Word.  As a divine guide, He has given us His Spirit.  In all things, we must be conformed to the Word and lead by the Spirit; this alone constitutes the way. The man that fears God realizes that the slightest deviation from Christ will reap the gravest repercussions. Likewise inevangelism, it’s not just the desire to do, but evangelizing the way God reveals that it should be done.  Obedience in the Great Commission is not only a willingness to declare God’s message, but also surrendering to the method and way God wants His message delivered.

 

John 14:23  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words…

 

It means following God’s prescribed instructions regardless of popular opinion or the nature of the response. However, the great problem with the professing church today is her independence from God and her uneasiness of His Word.  When confronted with Biblical evangelism most church-goers today say, “you will never win anyone to Jesus with these methods!” Or they will suspiciously ask, “How many people have you prayed with today?”

 

1 Cor. 1:18  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness(absurdity, silly); but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

 

The modern church, in her failure to obey the Great Commission according to the Biblical pattern, professes to be wiser than Jesus Himself.

 

Proverbs 16:25  There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

 

Jeremiah 6:16  Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

 

Acts 26:9  I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

 

In this article, I want to look at two absolutes expressed in the Word of God regarding God’s plan for evangelism.

 

PREACHING IS GOD’S ORDAINED METHOD

 

 

1 Cor. 1:21  …it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

 

How can we define preaching? In the original languages the words generally translated “preach” or “preaching” literally mean:  to call out, to cry, to proclaim, to pronounce, to publish , a herald or public crier. Moreover, we also have the record of Scripture to define itself in regards to preaching. We have many examples of preaching given to us in the Bible. When Jesus commanded us to go into all the world and preach He didn’t mean have puppet shows, or rock concerts, or bingo night.  No, He meant to do as He did, the definition of preaching framed by God’s Word and the examples contained therein.

 

“Preaching can have no substitute or rivals; to discount or retire it is to discount and retire God.”  -E.M. Bounds

 

The pattern is confirmed by Christ, the Living Way, as well as the Apostles and the early Church.

 

Mark 1:14 …Jesus came into Galilee, preaching (a herald or public crier)

 

When Christ came on the scene He was a public crier, a herald of divine truth, a preacher of the gospel. He didn’t concentrate on the ecclesiastical order of accepted religion nor did He address the higher criticisms of celebrated education. He came preaching, lifting up His voice in the open-air to the common man. Apart from Jesus’ deity, His next leading characteristic was his identity as preacher.

 

Luke 4:18  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach…

 

Thus, Jesus is the pattern.

 

Matthew 4:17  From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

 

There is no plan B, there is no alternative, less offensive scheme. God ordained preaching, Christ demonstrated the Father’s mind, and now He commands His Church to follow.  Some might question, “such archaic and out-dated methods will never reach the masses.”

 

“…the salvation of the human soul was impressed upon me…I felt ablaze with a desire to go through the length and breadth of Wales to tell of the Savior; and had it been possible, I was willing to pay God for doing so.”  -Evan Roberts

 

Jesus didn’t have a promoter, a rock band to open His meetings, or a radio station to advertise His miracles, yet the Bible says…

 

Luke 4:37  And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.

 

This does not mean He was popular, it means He was well known and His reputation preceded Him. When the Apostles left the upper room, led with the Holy Ghost, they didn’t change God’s method but instead were given power to fulfill it…

 

Acts 10:42  And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.

 

When the early church was persecuted because of the unpopularity of their Master and their message, they didn’t alter God’s plan, but…

 

Acts 8:4  …they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

 

Just because sinners declare, “…we don’t like preaching, it turns me off!” this does not give us a license to alter God’s ordained means to communicate the Gospel. 

 

2 Tim. 4:2  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

 

“We simply argue that the cross be raised again at the center of the marketplace as well as the steeple of the church.  We are recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on the town garbage heap; at a crossroad so cosmopolitan that they had to write His title in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek…at the kind of place where cynics talk smut and thieves curse, and soldiers gamble.  Because that is where He died.  And that is what He died about.  And that is where churchmen ought to be, and what churchmen should be about.”    -George MacLeod

 

Oh, to God, that the Church would once again find herself in the highways and the byways where God ordained her to be. Sadly, instead of preaching the gospel the modern church has sought to market the gospel – bending it to appease the spiritual palette of sinful man.  Who are we to question the divine genius of God Almighty? Preaching is God’s wisdom to formally charge the criminal actions of rebellious man for the court day of God’s judgment. As representatives, ambassadors for God’s kingdom, we go unwelcomed, unwanted, and uninvited. Using legal terms such as judge, judgment, witness, false witness, testimony, testify, etc. we must apply God’s holy law so the sinner can feel the sting of his impending doom and Christ and Him crucified as the only remedy for sin. We are charged to go, and we must obey.

 

WITHOUT PREACHING, THE GOSPEL CANNOT BE HEARD

 

Romans 10:14-15  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

 

This passage is explicit, without biblical preaching there can be no salvation.  Why are there so little conversions in this hour?  Simple, there is so little real preaching.  Without the holy proclamation of God’s Word, sinners will remain in darkness, bondage, and death.

 

“The city is going to hell.  Yes, the world is going to hell, and must go on, till the Church finds out what to do to win souls.”    -Charles G. Finney

 

The only hope for our generation is holy men, filled with the Holy Ghost, declaring thisholy gospel.

 

“We are debtors to all the world.  We are called to warn everyone, to exhort everyone, if by any means we may save some.”     -John Wesley

 

Notice, the preacher must be sent – meaning three things [1] He must be prepared, [2]  He must be God ordained, and [3] He must go.  Where is the preacher/evangelist going? The passage doesn’t say the sinner is coming to the preacher, but rather, the preacher is bringing the gospel to the sinner.  The true evangelist is sent – he’s going out, he’s walking among, he’s bringing the Word, he’s confronting the sinner on his own ground.

 

That’s not my calling!” I beg your pardon, but read the Bible.

 

Luke 14:23  And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

 

The entire church is under the obligation to fulfill the Great Commission, which simply means every local church must be dedicated to Biblical evangelism.  Those who effected their generation for God were those who prayed and those who preachedMoses speaks to Israel…

 

Deut. 32:3  Because I will publish the name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.

 

God used Gideon to speak…

 

Judges 7:3  Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead.

 

True godly wisdom lifts her voice in public…

 

Proverbs 1:20-21  Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: 21She crieth in the chief place of concourse…

 

Proverbs 8:1-3  Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? 2She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. 3She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.

 

Isaiah the prophet said…

 

Isaiah 13:2  Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles.

 

The prophet Ezekiel was encouraged to go and to speak

 

Ezekiel 21:12  Cry and howl, son of man: for it shall be upon my people, it shall be upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people: smite therefore upon thy thigh.

 

The prophet Joel was told…

 

Joel 3:9  Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles…

 

Jonah was sent to a wicked city…

 

Jonah 1:2  Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

 

Jonah 3:2  Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.

 

And the list goes on and on.  In fact, every preacher in the Bible, every last one, was an open-air preacher. Church, if we don’t go, who will?

 

Romans 10:14b  …how shall they hear without a preacher?

 

May God give us grace to embrace God’s ordained method of evangelism, preaching.

 

-B.W.