[Biblemat] S) THE PREACHER AND HIS WORK
J5827Sasser at wmconnect.com
J5827Sasser at wmconnect.com
Mon Apr 28 04:59:16 CDT 2008
Brethren and Friends, Jim Sasser here. Here is a study from my
recent files. Use to the glory of God.
THE PREACHER AND HIS WORK
Having made my living as a preacher most of my life, I am
still surprised by the variety of expectations people put on
preachers. Being an evangelist (one who shares the good
news of Jesus Christ) is often not enough. Preachers are
called on to visit hospitals, shut ins, or a myriad of other dut-
ies not related to teaching or preaching.
And, on the other side, I see preachers who give consider-
able time to political causes or to social issues in their sermons but pay
little attention to the Bible. Still others are
more interested in style than substance. So, churches seek
preachers to do what they want, preachers often do what they want. The real
issue is, what does God want from a
Probably the best evangelist who ever lived answers this
question for us. The apostle Paul planted churches all over
the world during his life. As he approached the end of his
personal journey, he wrote to his protege, Timothy. In a few
verses, Paul explains about the preacher and his work.
First, You Must Live What You Preach: -- "But you followed
my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, persev-
erance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to
me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I
endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me! And indeed, all who
desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be per-
secuted. But evil men and imposters will proceed from bad to
worse, deceiving and being decived" (2 Tim. 3:10-13). Paul
begins by reminding Timothy of Paul's lifestyle. The apostle
points to his teaching, conduct, faith, patience and love. In
other words, Paul says the first step in being God's kind of
preacher is living the Christian life in front of others so they
can see the genuineness of the man's faith.
"But someone may well say, 'You have faith, and I have
works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show
you my faith by my works" (Jas. 2:18). James applies this
principle to all believers, but it certainly applies to those who
seek to preach the gospel. Every preacher should be able,
like Paul, to point to the hours of service, the efforts put forth
to teach and serve people. Every preacher should be able to
point to his loving acts, his times of patience, his conduct in
his everyday affairs. (He really shouldn't have to point his
activities out to his audiences, they should know him by
observance of his life day by day, JWS).
The fact is, if a preacher has soaring, wonderful messages
but lives a less than exemplary life, his messages will be ignored. Look at
the countless ministers who have been
caught in sin. No matter how impressive their credentials as
preachers, they lose their credibility when their sin is public
and obvious. So, the first step in pleasing God as a preacher
is to live the Christian life.
His Preaching Should Be Based On The Word Of God: -- "You, however, continue
in the things you have learned and
become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned
them; and that from childhood you have known the sacred
writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to
salvation throug faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture
is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for
correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God
may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:
14-17). Living the Christian life is based on one simple princi-
ple: learn the Word of God and apply it. Paul reminds Timot-
hy of this. All his life Timothy had been exposed to God's
Word. Paul defines this message as inspired (or "God Breath-ed"). The Bible
is God's revealed Will.
Still, Paul is specific about the meaning of this for Timothy
and all other preachers. This revelation is so that the man of
God will be prepared for every good work that the kingdom
requires. Again, the point is that the preacher, as with all
Christians, must do more than tell people the Word of God,
he must apply it to his own life.
A preacher can learn the Word in many ways. He may
attend a university or college that teaches religious subjects.
Or, he may attend one of the many preacher training schools
now available to men who want to preach. Or, like Timothy,
he may learn the word as a youngster in his own home. And,
then, at some point (again like Timothy) find a mentor who
will guide him and lead him into effective ministry. (There are
many congregations among us today who invite young men,
who desire to learn to preach the Word of God, to come and
work with them under the tutorlage of an older, mature, preacher. JWS).
But, however he comes to his understanding of God's rev-
elation, the preacher must apply that teaching to himself.
Sometimes preachers will let the audience "have it" in an effort to make them
change. Godly preachers know that con-
forming to the Will of God begins not with the person in the
pew, but the man in the pulpit.
Don't misunderstand. No preacher is going to be perfect
at applying the Word of God, nor is any man going to be able
to avoid sin. A man cannot preach the truth unless he faces
this fact. "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving
ourselves, and the truth is no in us. If we confess our sins,
He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have
not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us"
(1 Jno. 1:8-10). These words certainly apply to preachers. A
man cannot live in the Word of Truth if he can't face his own
shortcomings. We all still sin, including preachers. But, a
preacher does what the Word commands. He admits his sin,
apologizes to God and others, and lives in the grace God offers.
Once a man is "equipped for every good work," then he
might see what his work is beyond just his preaching and
teaching. Good works might include hospital visits or staying
in touch with shut ins. It might be helping the hungry or aid-
ing the poor. So, many of the things a church might ask of a
preacher are valid. If he knows the Word, he will be involved
with good works outside of his office and pulpit.
After Learning What The Word Of God Teaches, Then, You
Preach It: -- "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God
and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead,
and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the Word; be
ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort,
with great patience and instruction" (2 Tim. 4:1,2). This is
quite a solemn charge. Paul calls on God to be Timothy's
witness and judge. This is an important reminder. A church
may hire me, the church may even ask for certain topics to
build up the body or reach the lost. But, ultimately, my preaching will be
judged by God who will judge my work. My
audience is, first and foremost, the God of heaven.
Having applied the Word to his life, having acknowledged
God as His judge, the preacher can now "preach the Word".
He is equipped because he has studied it and knows it. He is
equipped because he has applied it and seen its power work
in his own life. Now, he can preach with passion and genuine-ness.
He has several tasks. First, he is to reprove. That is, he
must "prove again" what is right. He is to rebuke. That is,
he must call attention to sin and to the dangers of sin. He is
also to exhort. This means he is to be a source of encourage-
ment. Since he has appleid the Word to his own life, he can
tell others that it will work in their lives too. His task is not to
beat down the members of his audience, but to build them up.
And, all of this is done in the context of great patience.
That is, the preacher cannot get exasperated at the immaturi-
ty of his people. Some will get the message the first time.
Others wil have to hear it and hear it and hear it before it sinks in. He
must patiently continue to instruct so that people have the time to grow into
God's Word and His Will.
The preacher's ultimate goal is to produce Christians from
fallen sinners and to build these believers into confident foll-
owers of Jesus.
The Building Up Of The Body Of Christ Must Be Based Upon
The Word Of God: -- This process of building Christians can
only be done in one way. They must hear and be shaped by
the Word of God. Although preachers (myself included) will
use many resources to convey the truth, the fact is only the
Bible can convert people and build them into Christ-like peo-
ple. Jesus used many kinds of illustrations. Paul knew the
philosophies of the Greeks and Romans and used them in
sermons in the Book of Acts. But, no matter how many sour-
ces a preacher uses, he must begin and end with the Bible as
his only source of authority.
This requires that a preacher spend much time in study of
the Word of God and prayer. As he listens to God through
the Word, and as he talks to God through prayer, the man of
God will be changed and will be able to preach God's messa-
ge with authority. This allows him to always have a "thus
saith the Lord" for his teaching. Although clever or eloquent
lessons may be appealing, the bottom line is the Word of God. Does his
teaching come from God's Will, or man's imag-
One Must Listen To God's Word In Order To Become A Christ-
ian: -- If you are wondering how to become a Christian, listen
to the Word. "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the
name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and
you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). Don't
listen to me, listen to the Word. "But prove yourselves doers
of the Word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves"
(Jas. 1:22). We will always need preachers. But in the final
analysis, like preachers, each of us must listen to and obey
the Word of God. -------- David Thurman, in Gospel Minutes,
Vol. 57, No. 17, April 25, 2008. </HTML>
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