WHAT GOOD PREACHING MUST BE
Titus 1:1-3 “Paul, a bond-servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior;”
The idea of “preaching” isn’t as popular as it once was, and people often say that they don’t want to be “preached” to.
However, while God spoke directly to the patriarchs and through the law to Israel, He speaks today through His word.
Jesus said to “go preach the gospel to all…
Thus, it’s clear that God wants His word to be PREACHED,
but we also learn from the Scriptures that not just any kind of preaching will do.
Therefore, let’s look to the Scriptures and see if we can find out what good preaching must be.
It Must Be Truthful
Above all, to be pleasing to God, preaching must be in harmony with the truth;
The Bible places a great deal of importance on the truth:
Psalm 119:30: “I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Thine ordinances before me”
Proverbs 23:23: “Buy the truth and do not sell it, Get wisdom and instruction and understanding”.
Jonah 1:2, “ Arise, go to Nineveh the great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before me”.
Jonah 3:3-4 Jonah did preach and cry out in the great city, and the result was amazing.
Jesus also emphasized the essentiality of truth: John 8:31-32. “Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”.
Hence, we should not only be careful to believe only the truth but also demand that only the truth be preached.
But what happens when people don’t love the truth and seek it above all else?:
2 Thessalonians. 2:9-12 “and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness”.
We might paraphrase the old adage by saying that if we don’t stand for the truth, we’ll fall for anything.
It Must Be Instructive
It’s not enough just to speak the truth; it must be taught in such a way so as to be understandable by those who hear
Nehemiah. 8:1-3,“And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the LORD had given to Israel. Then Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women, and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. And he read from it before the square which was in front of the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand; and all the people were attentive to the book of the law…
Nehemiah 8:5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up…8 And they read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading.
This is the way that God wants His word preached today:
In fact, the very purpose of the Scriptures is to provide us instruction in the ways of God:
This is how Jesus preached:
Matthew 7:28-29: “The result was that when Jesus had finished these words, the multitudes were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes”.
This is also how Paul preached:
Acts 17:2-3: “And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying ‘This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ’”
2 Timothy 3:16-17. Thus, this should also be the goal of everyone who attempts to “preach the word”:
2 Timothy 4:1-4“preach the word…for the time will come they will not endure sound doctrine…”
It Must Be Relevant
In order for preaching to be truly instructive, it must be applicable to those who hear and their specific needs
Consider John the Baptist:
Mark 6:17-18. “For Herod himself had sent and had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, because he had married her. For John had been saying to Herod, “it is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
John didn’t beat around the bush or speak pious platitudes but told Herod exactly what he needed to hear.
This was the kind of preaching that was done by the disciples in the first century:
Peter on Pentecost: Acts 2:22-39
Stephen to the Jews: Acts 7:51-53
Paul in the synagogue: Acts 13:46-47
And this is the kind of preaching that Paul encouraged Timothy and Titus to do:
2 Timothy 2:24-26, Titus 1:10-13.
So preachers need to address what the listeners need to hear (smoking, drinking, drugs, gambling, fornication, cursing, lying, apathy, etc…)
It Must Be Specific
In addition to being relevant, good preaching also needs to be specific in telling people what the Bible says they must do
Remember Nathan: 2 Samuel 12:1-7ff
“Thou are the man”
Again, this is the kind of preaching that we see in the first century:
Peter: Acts 2:36-38
Paul: Acts 16:30-31, 17:30-31
Ananias: Acts 22:12-16
Thus, while none of us is an apostle today, apostles like Peter left us an example of the need to remind people of specific things:
2 Peter 1:12-15,
2 Peter 3:1-2.
Paul said he had no problem repeating the message Philippians 3:1 it was a safeguard.
If preaching isn’t specific, it may not get the job done.
Yes, God wants His word to be preached, but to accomplish its purpose the preaching must be:
However, if preaching is truthful, instructive, relevant, and specific, then there’s one more thing that it must be--
and that is heard, believed, obeyed, heeded, and repeated.
By Carey Scott
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