“PREACHER, HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE YOU PREACHED ON . . .?
Sometimes it is not what a preacher says that makes his sermon unacceptable to the Lord and ineffective where the instruction of his hearers is concerned, but rather what he fails to say!
Recently I listened to a talented preacher. In his sermon he defined the kingdom of God as “the reign of God in the hearts and lives of people who believe in Christ . . . people who have faith in Christ.” He repeated this definition of the kingdom some five or six times during the course of his message. I do not have any fundamental disagreement with that definition. But if he ever provided an explanation as set forth in the New Testament of what it means to believe in Christ, I missed it! (I listened to the DVD of his sermon twice just to make sure). If he ever even so much as mentioned Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus about the necessity of the new birth—a birth of water and the Spirit—in order to see and enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3-5), again, I missed it. When he came to extend the invitation of Christ nothing was said about the need for either repentance or baptism, only a generic, “If we can assist you in any way, please come, while together we stand and sing.”
Why? Why have some reduced their preaching to nice generalities that lack specific explanation and application of biblical truth regarding salvation from sin, the identity of the church of which we read in the New Testament, the undenominational nature of that church, acceptable worship, faithful Christian living, and a host of other matters involved in a thoughtful proclamation of “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27, ASV)?
The great old gospel preacher John T. Lewis said: “I would rather have thousands of people say to me at the judgment, ‘We heard you preach and you hurt our feelings,’ than to have just one soul say to me, ‘I heard you preach, but you did not tell me the truth.’ ” As my longtime friend and fellow gospel preacher Jay Lockhart has frequently pointed out, faithful gospel preaching is more than standing in the pulpit and telling the congregation, “Y’all go out there and be nice this week.”
Preacher, how long has it been since you preached on . . .
- Authority in Religion
- The Divine Inspiration of the Bible
- Handling Aright the Word
- Christ (His Life, Death, Resurrection, Ascension, Intercession, etc.)
- An Overview of the Grand Scheme of Redemption
- What Must I Do to Be Saved
- Cases of Conversion in the Book of Acts
- The Facts, Commands, Promises, and Warnings of the Gospel
- Faith, Repentance, Confession, Baptism
- Work of the Holy Spirit in Conversion
- What It Means to Believe in Jesus
- Sin (What it is, How we sin, What sin does to us)
- The Church in Prophecy, Preparation, Establishment, and Identity
- Denominationalism (Is one church as good as another, Can we worship at one as well as another, Where did all these different churches come from, etc.)
- The Restoration Plea and its Principles
- Acceptable Worship
- Why We Do Not Use Instrumental Music in Worship
- Requirements, Expedients, Aids, Additions, Substitutions
- The Role of Women in the Church
- Dangerous Philosophies (Colossians 2:8: Postmodernism, Situation Ethics, etc.)
- Worldliness (Galatians 5:19-21: Works of the flesh)
- Marriage, Divorce, and Re-marriage; Same-sex marriage
- Be Thou Faithful
- Forsake Not the Assembly
- The Danger of Drifting
- Spiritual Growth/Transformation
- Blessed Assurance (The Assurance of Salvation)
- Christian Evidences (Existence of God, Deity of Christ, Inspiration & Authority of the Scriptures)
- Great Lessons from the Old Testament
- Second Coming of Christ
- The Day of Judgment
Obviously, these subjects do not constitute the whole of what needs to be preached, but all of them are vital to the spiritual well-being of humanity. These great messages of divine truth need to be heard with a fair degree of regularity by both Christians and non-Christians. How long has it been, my preaching brothers, since you preached on any of the above subjects?
May 24, 2016
May 25: Nashville Road Church of Christ, Gallatin, TN