The Condemnation Of The Preacher
Eight of the most profound words from the Apostle Paul that should fill the desire of every man who understands his role as a minister of the Gospel.
I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
The preaching of the Bible is the central focus of every service. There is no other work that a man can undertake that has greater importance than the preaching of the Gospel, that in the hearing of the word, he might save some. This is the ministry of ministries and one that far too few of the men that occupy todays pulpits respect.
The apostle James wrote;
My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all.
If the seriousness of this role could be properly understood by the man who occupies the pulpit of a Sunday morning, then you can be sure that it will be with great fear that he steps up to the plate, it will be with the desired covering of God that he preaches only that which the Lord would put into his mouth.
But imagine for a moment that the preacher cared only for that which lines his pockets, for the security of his employment, or that which attends to his ego, or that which pleases the agreement of the hearer, or that which provides only the temporary soothing relief to the itching ear, will it be said of him that he “…fully preached the Gospel of Christ“?
If the preacher does not awaken the hearer to their unjust state before a holy God, but permits their sleep for their entire lives only to awaken in hell for the condemnation that they slept through while alive, then what contempt shall that man endure from both God and man in eternity?
The man who does not awaken the sleeper to the burning house essentially fans the flames around him. The sleeper will not awaken to the heat while he has been put to sleep by the smoke. And these men are exactly that, smoke without fire, clouds without water which Jude describes in his epistle;
These are spots in your feasts of charity when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
If this is the condemnation of the man behind the Pulpit who does not take his role seriously, who does not consider that even his idle words may foster the child into an eternal lake of fire. Contrarily sure then it is, to the one who desires ONLY to preach the whole council of God and “fully preach the Gospel of Christ“, he will be received with joy and gladness by many, and enter into the joy of his Lord.
Therefore it is with a holy fear that the man of God enters into the Pulpit to preach. For his preaching will set a course for his hearers for better or worse.
It is for this reason consideration MUST be made with regard to the volume of work known as the Bible. For this is the standard by which the preacher is kept, this is the book that governs his actions and this is the law from which he will be judged. Jesus said;
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
It remains my conviction that if a preacher has rejected the words of Christ and has preached from books that were based only on their personal preference, then the risk is sure that they will be judged by the very words they rejected; unrepentant, this judgment stands looming.
First you must have the words of God, all of them, then you must know what they teach (in context) and then you are to preach it. When this is done faithfully together with sincerity, then the work of the preacher is set on a course that could change the forever of many. What a terrible privilege.
called for preaching
And what shall those who are CALLED to preach say at this? Shall they refrain from preaching? Not if they are called to do so.
Then I said, I will not make mention of him, Nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, And I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
It wells and builds within the man who is called to preach, but fear should fall upon him if he is not ready for that responsibility. Many men in the scriptures were called to a work early in their lives but not yet ready to perform it until they have sought after the Lord who will do the work within them, to prepare them.
Joseph was prepared by the Lord through dreams by the seventeenth year of his life, which he unwittingly shared with his brethren, yet it would not be until he was thirty years of age before he fulfilled that role, and another nine years would pass before his brethren would indeed bow down themselves to him (Genesis 45:6). Moses knew it would be he that was to deliver Israel, he thought to undertake it forty years before he was ready (Acts 7:25). David was anointed King when he was but a ruddy youth and returned to feed his sheep, he did not attain the throne for at least another decade.
The Bible is that which provides for the qualification to preach, it is this and this alone that the preacher must consider as his guide, many passages could be considered but the general governing principle is found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, the other much like it in Titus 1:5-11.
Therefore, his desire to preach the word must be tempered by the preparation of the heart by the Lord and governed by the word of the Lord.
The Biblical bar is set, the preacher is then free to preach and what a joy to be given such a responsibility. Many will be the blessings, many will be the trials, all of which temper and turn the preacher for the nourishment of those the Lord saved.