In order to understand the title of this article we must understand the purpose of preaching. When we refer to preaching we are talking about heralding or proclaiming words. The words we are referring to are the gospel or the good news of salvation and way of eternal life. So, the meaning and purpose of preaching is to proclaim a message that will give people the opportunity to obey the gospel of Christ, which saves. The gospel of Jesus Christ is referred to by the apostle Paul as the “power of God unto Salvation” (Romans 1:16). If it is the power of God unto salvation, then it should go to say that it is the message we should preach, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith”(Romans 1:17).
Today in our “politically correct” society it is not a very popular thing to do, preaching the gospel. Preaching the gospel is not even considered popular or mainstream in some of the churches of Christ today. Often, it is more common to find a story or a blown out of proportion illustration than to hear the Word of God preached. When we think of Bible preaching we are talking about preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, the word of God (Romans 1:15; II Timothy 4:2). People need to hear sermons relative to salvation. They need to know what they must do in order to make the proper adjustments to be right with God. A lack of Bible preaching hinders this. To preach the gospel is to preach the truth (Romans 1:16; John 1:1-5,14,16-18; 8:31,32; 12:48-50; 14:6; 17:17), and to preach the truth is to preach the Word of God found in the Bible.
Biblical Examples of Preaching
The apostle Peter, as recorded, preaches the first full gospel sermon on the day of Pentecost of Acts 2. In this sermon the apostle utilizes Old Testament scriptures to prove and confirm his message. Peter, if you will read, actually utilized about 25 verses, and approximately one-half of his sermon is a direct quotation from the Old Testament. Based upon this message and delivery, the response was positive to his preaching (Acts 2:37-42,46,47).
The devout disciple Stephen in his sermon did not have such a positive response (Acts 7). He also used in his sermon Old Testament scriptures to teach the truth relative to Jesus. Stephen preaches a contextual sermon based upon the promises of God and development of the nation of Israel (Old Testament context). When He made his defense, the application was based upon the Word of God (Romans 15:4; II Timothy 3:16,17). With the application he made it was irrefutable and those of his audience didn’t receive it very well (Acts 7:54-59). Application in a sermon should be based upon the Word of God, and both of these men demonstrated that in their preaching.
Gospel preaching according to the Bible is a two-way street. When the truth is preached, and the gospel is proclaimed, the audience has a choice (Acts 2:37). The question then is, what choice will they make? Preaching the Bible is all about preaching a definitive message with the expectation of a definitive answer. The Bible is our standard and it is absolute (John 12:48-50)! The choice is ours.
Biblical Command to Preach the Word
The apostle Paul to the young evangelist Timothy wrote, “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (II Timothy 4:1-2). This is our positive charge and command of what we are to preach. The Lord Jesus in His great commission commanded to go teach and preach to all nations and creatures. Those who we teach are to be taught to observe all things whatsoever He commanded (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:44ff). To preach this, one must preach what Jesus said and that’s only found in the New Testament. We are to preach the word of God, found in the Bible. Too much preaching today has drifted into subjective winds of mysticism and man made ideas (Jeremiah 10:23; Proverbs 14:12). People need to hear what will save their souls, and this is the job of the preacher (Romans 10:13-17). The preacher must preach the gospel and nothing but the gospel.
When Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them this consisted of more than just a lovely message (Acts 8:5,12). Philip preached unto them what Jesus had commanded the apostles to preach. The message consisted of what Jesus had taught and commanded throughout His ministry (Matthew 28:18-20). The Bible says that when they believed the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were obedient (Acts 8:12). Preaching the gospel is all about proclaiming what the Bible teaches relative to the kingdom of God, i.e. the church.
If we expect to grow (individually/personally; II Peter 1:3-11; 3:18), edify, save souls, and judge accordingly we will have to stick to the Biblical standard of truth (John 7:24; 12:48-50). The word of God is the seed of the kingdom (Luke 8:11). It’s no wonder the church isn’t growing (personally/individually, and then outwardly; II Peter 1:3-11; 3:18) if were not preaching the WORD!
By Bryan Braswell
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