Preaching In Worship
When God’s word is preached and taught, God is honored and glorified. During the preaching of a sermon, the hearers feast on the word of God. 1 Corinthians 1:21, 23 says, "It pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe…but we preach Christ crucified." The preaching of Christ crucified is pleasing to God, but is foolishness to many people. It is only by this kind of preaching and teaching that man will be saved.
The kind of preaching God wants is not always pleasant to hear, but it is for our own good. As we read in 2 Timothy 4:2-4, "Preach the word. Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap to them teachers; and they will turn their ears from hearing the truth." The kind of preaching God wants must convince, rebuke, and exhort. We must be careful that we do not turn our ears from hearing the truth by having someone preach what sounds good to us, but contradicts what God says in the Bible.
Much of the preaching today does not teach God's word, but mainly tells stories of humor. There is no Bible doctrine taught that might upset someone, but only things that tickle people's ears to make them feel good and comfortable in order to keep them coming back. Their souls are starving for the truth. Because of this they will be lost because only the truth can make us free.
In preaching and teaching God’s word, we must never shun to declare all of it. If one does, he will have the blood of lost souls on his hands. Paul told the Ephesian elders, "I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:26-27). There is really no difference in one shunning to teach the whole counsel of God than in one teaching false doctrine. Both will cause people to be lost and the one responsible will be held accountable for his teaching or lack of teaching.
No man has the right to pass off as truth things that contradict the Bible, but many do. All you have to do is look around at all the many different doctrines which are being taught. Do all these differing doctrines come from God’s word? Absolutely not. In Jeremiah 5:31 God says, "The prophets prophesy falsely; and my people love to have it so." Why do people desire to be taught falsely? Because they are not interested in what God has to say. The reason for all the religious division we see in the world today is people will not accept all that God says in the Bible as final authority. They have become their own authority.
Jesus says in John 8:32, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Only by believing and obeying the truth can we be made free from sin. But what is the truth? Jesus says in John 17:17, "Sanctify them by your truth, your word is truth." The word of God is the only truth that will make us free so we can go to Heaven. The word of men cannot make us free, but will cause us to be lost.
All things preached must come from the word of God. We are told in 1 Peter 4:11, "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God." The pulpits of our land ring out with what speakers personally think and believe. But how do we know whether a preacher is preaching from God’s word or from his own opinion? We must do as the church at Berea did concerning the apostle Paul’s preaching in Acts 17:11, they "searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so."
But many men today, as they did in the first century, are preaching a perverted gospel. In Galatians 1:6-8 we read, "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him that called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed." One who preaches a perverted gospel is to be accursed. A perverted gospel will not only cause the one preaching it to be lost but those who are listening to it will also be lost. Jesus says in Matthew 15:14, "And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch." This becomes very serious.
Mankind has always sought to glorify himself. In Psalms 111:9 (KJV) in describing God we read, "Holy and reverend is His name." "Reverend" refers to God and no one else. Do we want to take a quality of praise which is applied only to the name of God and apply it to our own name? How presumptuous can we be? When men use the word "Reverend" in front of their name, they are taking glory and honor that belongs only to God and are trying to apply it to themselves. They might as well also call themselves God.
Men try to glorify themselves with other names. Jesus in speaking in a spiritual sense says in Matthew 23:9, "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for one is your Father, He who is in Heaven." Why do men in seeking to glorify themselves continue to ignore what the Lord says? Why do men want to refer to themselves as Father so and so? They want to receive glory that only belongs to God. King Herod in Acts chapter 12 took glory upon himself which belonged to God and we read in verse 23, "And immediately the angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God, and he was eaten by worms and died." Today God does not immediately deal with sin as He did then, but will deal with it in the Judgment. Claiming glory that only belongs to God is a very serious matter. But why do men do it today? Also the classification of "clergy" and "laity" is foreign to the word of God. It is another invention of man. We are warned in Romans 12:3 that a person is, "Not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think."
Sometimes a preacher is held up on a "pedestal" and idolized. When some preachers leave a congregation, whether he is relieved of his job or whether he leaves because he has a job with another congregation, some people become devastated. It seems their world has fallen in around them. Because of this some will even quit the Lord or go elsewhere. We should never idolize a man. This is wrong. We are to only worship God. Jesus says in Matthew 4:10, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve."God is pleased only when we are fully obedient to His will. When His will and only His will is preached, we then "worship Him in spirit and in truth."