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Preaching the Word

“And he was preaching the word to them” Mark 2:2

Christ was a preacher; the greatest of preachers. And so all those who would follow after him and be serviceable to the souls of men must be preachers too. The faithful pastor must, first and foremost, be a faithful preacher. Yes, there is much more to faithful pastoral work than what is done in the pulpit. But where the preaching goes wrong, the whole ministry goes wrong.

I have found in my years that it many pastors don’t really preach the word. Yes, they often start with a text or passage. But the rest of the sermon could really be described as “I’m sharing with you all the interesting thoughts that came to my mind when I read this text.” The actual focus of the sermon, if there is one at all, could hardly be found in the text or context itself. They started with a text, and therefore concluded that they were “preaching the word.” But all they were really doing is preaching their own thoughts and ideas.

Another thing I have discovered is that much preaching today is directed to those who are clearly not sitting in the church at the moment. Sometimes the preacher decries what the “other” churches out there are doing wrong. Many times it is leveled against politicians and policies which probably none of the immediate hearers of the sermon had anything to do with. But Jesus preached the word “to them.” He preached to those who were actually there. He understood their needs, their fears, their faults, their weaknesses. Too often preaching today amounts to “generic” sermons that could frankly be reached in every church the same, because it really isn’t directed to any of them in particular. Note how very different, for example, Christ’s letters to the churches in Revelation 2-3 are. They are very specific. Very targeted. He knew their sins and their strengths, and spoke personally to each.

Such preaching generally will attract hearers, because it is so very different than what is happening in most pulpits. No wonder the context says “Immediately, many gathered together…(Mark 2:2).” People will gather to hear preaching like this. But such preaching is hard work. It will cost time and tears. But it is only such preaching that will ultimately grow the church and grow God’s people. Pastors, please, preach the word.

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