“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Rom 1:16)
All the gimmicks, all the techniques and all the productions that we have allowed in the church today have sent a clear message that our generation is ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It seems as though preaching has taken the back seat to the ideas and inventions of men. Confidence has been lost in the preaching of the gospel. There may not be an open confession of shame, but anytime someone tries to cover up or down play something it usually indicates there is shame toward that thing
As I said in last month’s article, preaching is still the chief means to winning souls and strengthening the church. There is a phrase that is quoted in the Old Testament 415 times, this phrase we are all familiar with; it is, “Thus saith the Lord.” Moses was the first to say it. He said it when he went before Pharaoh with his one line sermon, “Let my people go.” There is a big difference between Moses saying to Pharaoh, you better let God’s people go and “Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go.” Many of the prophets after Moses said, “Thus saith the Lord,” because they were doing more than just talking to Israel, they were doing more than just giving them a little exhortation, they were speaking for Almighty God. I remember back in the late nineties hearing it said, “We are not to speak about God but to speak for God.” I thought to myself that would be pretty arrogant of someone, to get up and preach and think they are speaking for God. But, after some thought I realized it must not be any other way. Even a heathen can talk a little about God. I remember doing it before I was ever saved. Real preaching is speaking for God. Not, thus saith me, or here is what I have to say, but this is what God is saying to you right now. This is what makes preaching powerful. It is God talking personally to man through servants that speak for God.
Our pulpits and airwaves are over run with motivational speakers. Man, through his own ability, can move people through the power of speech. Barack Obama won not just one election, but two by his ability to speak what the people want to hear. While the church minimizes preaching, the world continues to use it to push forth their agenda. Adolf Hitler, captured the hearts of a nation because of his ability to convince people. A smooth talker can get people to believe a lie. We have a lot of smooth talkers in our pulpits today. Could it be that the motivational speakers in the pulpit are doing more to prepare people to receive the antichrist than this world is?
It was in March of 1997 when I rode down to Beaumont, Texas, with some minister friends of mine to attend a minister’s conference. I was not in the ministry yet, but I was willing to be challenged by some good preaching. The preacher that was holding the conference was named B.H. Clendennen. The first meeting started on a Tuesday evening, March 25. The meetings were to end after the Friday 10am meeting. Brother Clendennen preached Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. The messages were good but nothing that really gripped me yet. When he preached again Wednesday night he said a phrase something like, “we are to demonstrate that Christ is alive.” That statement isn’t what you would consider to be a very profound statement, however, when he said it, I was devastated. I immediately began to repent to the Lord for not understanding what it means to be a Christian. For the rest of my time there at the conference my heart remained very repentive. I experienced a powerful revival that day that so affected me I never recovered. Here I am 16 years later still impacted by one message preached by one Spirit filled man of God. God made that message real, God revealed Christ to me through a man of God. There was nothing the church ever offered me that so dramatically changed my life as a Spirit filled servant of God speaking a message for God. From that day forward, I couldn’t help but see all the efforts of men to scheme clever programs, offer enticing attractions and market the church, to be nothing but foolishness. Even worse, leaving the lost unaffected. I suppose if a pastor is just looking to fill pews many of these things will work. In fact here is one trick you can try. Just walk around the neighborhood where your church is located and give people a free raffle ticket. Tell them if they come to church Sunday you will draw one ticket (visitors only), and the winner will win $500.00. You could probably fill every seat or pew. I hate even suggesting this because someone might say, hey, that’s a good idea, let’s try that this week. I must say, any minister that compromises to get people in His church and then thinks he is going to preach them saved is fooling himself. I know some will give me testimonies of people that came to the Lord through the productions and entertainment that the church offers. I just wonder, do they really get saved, or do they just agree to commit to some watered down, world friendly Christianity? Spirit filled preachers will never compromise for numbers. A preacher that isn’t Spirit filled will not be able to speak for God. If he can’t speak for God then he might as well remain silent. Jesus commanded His disciples to tarry until they received power from on high. When that power fell, Peter stepped forth with a message for God to the people. He spoke it, 3000 heard God speak and were cut to the heart. Spirit filled saints, speaking for God is what God ordained to save souls and strengthen the church.