May 23 I Sunday
1 Chronicles 19-21
“Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: ‘Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.’” —Acts 2:14
All valid preaching is standing with the apostles. The Christian church was born at Pentecost, and the first sermon ever given was by Peter, who stood with the eleven other apostles. Throughout the history of the church, the apostles were given a special place of authority. Ephesians 2:20 speaks of the church being “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.”
In the late theologian and author J.I. Packer’s book Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, he explained how the Apostle Paul viewed preaching: “Paul, in his own estimation, was not a philosopher, not a moralist, not one of the world’s wise men, but simply Christ’s herald. His royal Master had given him a message to proclaim; his whole business, therefore, was to deliver that message with exact and studious faithfulness, adding nothing, altering nothing and omitting nothing. And he was to deliver it, not as another of people’s bright ideas…but as a word from God, spoken in Christ’s name, carrying Christ’s authority, and to be authenticated in the hearers by the convincing power of Christ’s Spirit.”
Good preaching is not backed up by Scripture but comes out of Scripture. There are all kinds of ideas with many different verses that will support them, but verses can easily be taken out of context. The truth must come out of Scripture, not from someone saying, “Here’s the truth,” and then showing some passages to back their ideas up.
Jesus Christ is the Truth that all of Scripture bears witness to. If preaching does not lead to Christ, then it may be philosophizing or moralizing, but it is not preaching. A good preacher will ask, “What am I saying about Christ? How is He displayed in this message?” The preacher’s message will have the ring of authority to it, since it is not merely a preacher making a claim, but declaring the truth, and that truth originates from God. Preaching is much more than giving information. It has to go through the mind, penetrate the heart and motivate the will, where we are compelled to do something.
Preaching is the unfolding of the apostolic message and is under the anointing of the Spirit of God. It is designed to enable people to hear the voice of God beyond the voice of the preacher. When we receive the inspired Word of God and the anointing of the Spirit of God for the purpose of hearing the voice of God, something happens. People meet with God and lives are saved and transformed.
Prayer: Dear Lord God, thank You for all the men and women of God who have devoted their lives to pass the gospel message on with clarity and conviction. Help me to do the same when I share Your Word with others.