PREACH THE WORD
Today, television, radio, print media, and the Internet are flooded with preachers, yet there is a great falling away when it comes to preachers proclaiming the Word of God. Reading the Bible should be an everyday occurrence—especially for those called to proclaim the message of the gospel. It is what keeps our faith strong in the Lord. As Paul admonished, we must devote ourselves to the reading of Scripture in order to preach and teach (see 1 Timothy 4:12–14).
I had been given good instruction from childhood on how to preach, and I had received several pointers from many great preachers. Yet I struggled within myself about whether I was called to such a task. Finally, after resolving it in my own mind, I went for a walk one day with a seasoned preacher. “Daddy,” I asked, “what is the most important thing I can learn about preaching?”
My father stopped, and his eyes peered into mine. Without hesitation, he said, “Son, the best advice I can give you is preach! The only way you can learn to preach is by preaching. Take every opportunity to preach. And be sure to always preach the Word. Make use of this tool of communication by which God speaks to us—namely, the Bible. Read it, study it, memorize it. It will change your entire life. It is not like any other book. It is a living book that works its way into your heart, mind, and soul. Read it—then preach it!”
The writers of the Bible carefully documented that effective preaching comes through God’s power (see 1 Corinthians 2:4–5). In Acts 13, we read of one of Paul’s great sermons delivered in Antioch. After the reading of the Word of God, Paul rose with the command of the Scriptures and rehearsed how the hand of God had moved in the lives of His people: “Those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent” (verse 26 NKJV). While the Jews rejected Paul’s preaching, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them.
A preacher may never know the seed that falls on tender hearts ready for the gospel plow—but God knows. And when His Word goes forth, the results belong to Him, not to the preacher. As my father often said, “I have learned that modern man will surrender to the impact of the Word of God. When we preach or teach the Scriptures, we open the door for the Holy Spirit to do His work.” The Word of God must be preached with bold confidence, with unwavering resolve, and in godly love. God is working with us and confirming His Word in us. If the Word of God is not at the center of our work, we can be assured that He is not empowering our activity.
God does not call everyone to a preaching ministry, but He does call His followers to dwell on the things that speak of Him and to tell others what He has done. This can be done only in God’s power as we live for Him so that men and women will see Christ in us.
What is your personal experience with studying God’s Word? What is involved in speaking God’s Word faithfully to others?
How would you describe the impact that comes from sharing the Word of God with those who are in need? How have you seen the power of God’s message at work?
How has God used your voice to share the gospel of Christ? How can the example of your life also be a sermon to those who are listening?