Preaching is a God-Ordained Activity
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1:21 "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."
Preaching is a style of verbal communication in which the truth is boldly declared. Examples of preaching can be found in the book of Acts – for example where Peter the apostle boldly declared to his Jewish hearers the facts concerning the meaning of what they were seeing and concerning the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
It says in Acts 2:14
"But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke out to them".
We need preachers who will STAND UP, LIFT UP THEIR VOICE, and SPEAK OUT TO THE PEOPLE. Preachers take a stand for something, and they say it with authority.
Peter wasn't "discussing" with the Jews, he wasn't conducting a "workshop" or a "seminar". He didn't invite them into his home to discuss the "meaning of life" over dinner. He was preaching.
Many people in the world don't like preaching, because it is confrontational. But sometimes people need to be confronted with the truth. Preaching is also going out of fashion in certain segments of the church. There are whole movements of Christians where the feeling is that they would rather that no one "preached". They might tolerate "teaching" but what they REALLY want is "discussion" where we try to get everyone to open up and share their points of view, allotting approximately equal time to everyone regardless of their level of spiritual preparation or divine anointing. This might be equated with "body ministry" but many time it is really not THAT at all. The real ministry we want is the ministry of the Holy Spirit – whether it comes through many individuals or mostly through a dynamic and anointed preacher. We want the ministry of the Holy Spirit, whether it comes gently or with a forceful delivery. Some people presume that they are offering this ministry of the Holy Spirit when in fact they have not paid the price in time alone with God to do so properly. The result is a mixture of flesh and spirit. They are merely drawing on their past knowledge and current musings to respond to whatever way things seem to be drifting in the discussion at hand.
I believe that in meetings where preaching never occurs that few people get dramatically converted. The tendency is to hope that people will slowly slide into a position of faith. Preachers, on the other hand, confront people, appeal to the conscience and call for definite action to be taken by the hearers. When the Holy Spirit works with the preacher, this can produce a far more robust, shameless kind of believer than those won through the softly-softly approach. The Bible says that God is pleased to save people through the "foolishness of preaching". Sometimes the church wants to be wiser than God and so won't tolerate this kind of "foolishness". Those with a preaching gift are suppressed, and not encouraged. Peter had the other 11 apostles standing with him when he got up to preach, but today, many Christians do not want to stand with anyone anointed to preach. Like crabs that pull down any crab that tries to crawl out of the pot, they do their best to ensure that all stay at the same low level.
May God help all Christians everywhere understand the value and power of Holy Spirit empowered PREACHING, so that we are not limited to "discussion" as a means of promoting the truth. The great heroes of church history did not achieve what they did by simply "discussing" points of view about church life, or theology. Wesley, Whitefield, Finney, Lake, William Seymour (Azusa Street) and other revivalists were not so much discussion group facilitators as they were PREACHERS.
Preachers must spend time seeking God as Peter did, so that they are FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. Then God will be pleased to work through the message preached – saving some that hear and transforming others through His Divine power. We need people who will take the time – the hours – necessary to prepare for the vital task of PREACHING. It is accomplished by MUCH prayer in the Holy Spirit, much meditation on the Word, some study and much self-denial.
If we want APOSTOLIC MINISTRY then we need PREACHING. And not just preaching to the converted. A true apostle has enough divine charisma (grace) from God to cause UNBELIEVERS to listen up and in many cases to turn to God in true repentance and faith. People who talk about restoring apostolic ministry but don't want bold preaching are just dreaming. True apostles preach to unsaved people also, there is no such thing as an apostle whose only calling is to restructure existing Christians into new forms of church life. If someone dares to say they are an apostle, one way they need to prove it is by showing they can win souls out on the coalface. Any so-called apostle who can't or won't do this is just full of hot air.
The example of the Book of Acts shows that one of the chief ministry activities of apostles is PREACHING. Paul went from town to town boldly preaching the Kingdom of God to both Jews and Greeks. He didn't just follow Peter around and try to gather up the ones that wouldn't come to Peter's meetings, and then call himself an apostle of Christ. Peter preached boldly, as we see in Acts 2 and 4. I believe that all the other apostles also did this in their own spheres. So if we want to be "apostolic" (though this word seems already to have been abused in our day to the point of carrying a negative stigma about it) we need to embrace preaching to the unconverted as part of the ministry picture. That is not ALL that an apostle does, but it is a part of it.
If anyone says "I am not led by the Holy Spirit to preach" that is fine, but in that case please join yourself to a church where at least someone IS BOTH LED AND DIVINELY EMPOWERED to preach. Preaching is a God-appointed means of communicating and every local church needs a preacher.
Look at what Paul said to Timothy here:
- I command you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his Kingdom: Preach the word; be urgent in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching. For the time will come when they will not listen to the sound doctrine, but, having itching ears, will heap up for themselves teachers after their own lusts;
- (2 Timothy 4:1-3)
Anyone who wants to follow the Bible in the way they do church and ministry MUST give place to this kind of activity. A local church which has no preaching is a crippled church. May God raise up powerful preachers of the truth in every local church which bears his name, preachers that will preach the gospel by the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven (see 1 Peter 1:12).
I invite comments on this article from Christians everywhere.
Here are some other references in the Bible to preaching. I believe you will see from this that it is something that Jesus did, and many great men of God also.
- Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the PREACHING that I bid thee.
- In those days came John the Baptist, PREACHING in the wilderness of Judaea,
- Matthew 4:23
- And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and PREACHING the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
- Matthew 9:35
- And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and PREACHING the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
- Matthew 12:41
- The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the PREACHING of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas [is] here.
- Mark 1:14
- Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, PREACHING the gospel of the kingdom of God,
- Luke 3:3
- And he came into all the country about Jordan, PREACHING the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
- Luke 8:1
- And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, PREACHING and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve [were] with him,
- Luke 9:6
- And they departed, and went through the towns, PREACHING the gospel, and healing every where.
- Luke 11:32
- The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the PREACHING of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas [is] here.
- Acts 8:4
- Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where PREACHING the word.
- Acts 8:12
- But when they believed Philip PREACHING the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
- The word which [God] sent unto the children of Israel, PREACHING peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
- Acts 11:19
- Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, PREACHING the word to none but unto the Jews only.
- Acts 11:20
- And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, PREACHING the Lord Jesus.
- Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and PREACHING the word of the Lord, with many others also.
- Acts 20:9
- And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.
- Acts 20:25
- And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone PREACHING the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.
- Acts 28:31
- Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.
- Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the PREACHING of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
- 1 Corinthians 1:18
- For the PREACHING of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
- 1 Corinthians 1:21
- For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of PREACHING to save them that believe.
- And my speech and my PREACHING [was] not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
- And if Christ be not risen, then [is] our PREACHING vain, and your faith [is] also vain.
- For we stretch not ourselves beyond [our measure], as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in [preaching] the gospel of Christ:
- Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the PREACHING might be fully known, and [that] all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
- Titus 1:3
- But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;