I have been thinking for a season now on the nature of preaching and the role it has in the church of God. This Sunday, I shared with my church that we (disciples) are called to kerusso (herald) that which Jesus whispers in our ear (Matthew 10:27). This is the same word that Paul admonished Timothy with, “Kerusso (preach) the word! (2 Timothy 4:2). It is also God’s prescribed means of exhortation in the church during the congregational gathering. (1 Corinthians 1:21). Through the message preached (i.e. the substance of preaching)…He saves some!
This is why we do ourselves a disservice is we see the “Worship Center” (sometimes called the sanctuary) as a lecture hall. I remember a few times in college that I disagreed with my professors. They offered opinions that were different from my own. I would choose to listen to the information…and even memorize it to recite back…but in my heart and mind…I disagreed. Since I disagreed, I could rationalize how I may still be correct in my view even though it was contrary to the professor’s view.
In the church, the preacher is not a professor and the word preached is not a lecture. The word preached is the heralded message from God’s throne to the hearer’s heart. If we as preachers reduce the proclamation of the herald to simply another op-ed piece on life choices, we do a disservice to God and we cripple the hearer.
Admittedly, while I know this to be true, there are times I weaken the truth of this by making the message less “heralded” and more delivered. The fact is, before the “heralded message” there are only two right responses: Obedience and disobedience. Pastor, what about the response of waiting for more information or seeking confirmation in our heart before accepting the word? I know this sounds hard and may even inadvertently carry an air of self-service…but delayed obedience is simply disobedience.
Further, the hearer cripples himself by negotiating with the truth. To place oneself in the judge’s seat, determining if one believes the preached word, is to reveal the independence and insolence of ones own heart. If you are always seeking to judge the word, you cannot simply choose to obey it. I have (through the years) had people who would listen to me preach while constantly disagreeing. That’s fine if you into the assembly…but how could you be in the place of a disciple while rejecting God’s prescribed means of instruction through preaching? If you don’t believe the preacher to be “God’s man” for your church…either repent or run! Find a place where you can yoke up under that authority in your life. God put it/him there. He gave the preacher to you! (Ephesians 4:10-12).
I know that in our cultural norm, we can find a dozen reasons to disagree with this; however, cultural norms often are antithetical to the will of God. In fact, the diminishing of the authority of the preached word is, in my view, a direct cause to the decline of genuine discipleship today.
Now if you disagree…I am happy to hear from you. I invite you to share any biblical objection to this post. I welcome the dialogue.