What is Preaching and Why is it Important?
July 25, 2008
(This is a summary of the first sermon in the six-part series, “God Gave Pastors and Teachers,” preached on June 1. The audio is available here.)
The title of this sermon series comes from Ephesians 4:11-14, which says, in part:
He gave the . . . pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
Note that God gives pastors and teachers to the church.
- They are His gifts, His presents, tokens of His love for the church.
- They play a key role in equipping God’s people to minister as God intends.
- They play a key role in guarding the church from waves of false teaching.
- Thus they play a key role in enabling the church to become the interdependent, smoothly functioning body of Christ Paul describes in Ephesians 4:16.
Five main points:
1) The Word is Central!
2 Timothy 3:16-17: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
We exist to know God and to display what He is like.
We can know Him ONLY BECAUSE He reveals Himself to us.
Today He reveals Himself through His Word.
2) Preaching is Central!
2 Timothy 4:1-2a: In the sight of God and Christ Jesus who will certainly judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly charge you: Preach the Word!
The most solemn exhortation in all of Scripture precedes the command to preach the Word.
This is my paraphrase:
“Timothy, as I am about to die, I am giving you a command. This is your responsibility. And God sees whether or not you will fulfill it. Christ Jesus Himself sees. I am laying this responsibility on you, and if you shirk it, if you turn away from it, if you pretend to fulfill it but instead replace it with something else, He will know. And remember who Christ Jesus is – not some namby-pamby guy with long hair who wouldn’t hurt a flea. He is the judge. And judgment is certain. He is the one coming back to renew all things. He is establishing His kingdom – THROUGH ME AND YOU by His grace. He is King. His has all authority in heaven and on earth. So In His sight, for His glory, to advance His kingdom, I solemnly charge you: Preach the Word.”
Why? What makes preaching central? Let’s look at its nature.
3) The Nature of Preaching
2 Timothy 4:2: Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Reprove, rebuke, and earnestly exhort, with great steadfastness teaching all doctrine.
God chooses preaching as His central means of proclaiming His Word.
Many ways are important; this is vital
Preaching must include teaching, but must do more: Preaching must display God as glorious. The preacher not only proclaims the truths of the Word, but rejoices in the Word.
That is the nature of true preaching: expository exultation.
4) The Need for Preaching: Why is an expository preaching ministry so vital?
2 Timothy 4:3-4: Be ready in season and out of season. Reprove, rebuke, and earnestly exhort, with great steadfastness teaching all doctrine. For the time will come when they will not put up with sound doctrine, but will surround themselves with teachers to satisfy their own desires, to scratch their itching ears. They will turn their ears away from the truth, and to myths they will be turned aside.
Calvin on 4:3: “As there is an unsatiable longing for those things which are unprofitable and destructive, so the world seeks, on all sides and without end, all the methods that it can contrive and imagine for destroying itself; and the devil has always at hand a sufficiently large number of such teachers as the world desires to have.”
When others don’t want to hear the Word faithfully preached:
Don’t get angry. Don’t get frustrated. Don’t quit.
Just keep doing expository exultation. Just keep proclaiming the cross.
Bit by bit, week by week, book by book, teach ALL DOCTRINE. Teach the WHOLE counsel of God. As long as you are not forced to leave your position, preach the Word. Delight in the Word. Proclaim it all.
BECAUSE PEOPLE DON”T WANT TO HEAR THE WORD, YOU, preacher, must be faithful to it.
Preaching is vital because the time is coming, and now is, when many do not want to hear the Word.
5) Preaching the Gospel is Central
2 Timothy 4:5: But you, be clear-headed in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of a preacher of the Gospel; fully accomplish your ministry.
Paul is restating the command of v2, “Preach the Word”, with a slightly different nuance.
In v2 he says: Preach the Word! Herald the Message from God! Proclaim and delight in God’s Revelation!
Then in v5 he zeroes in on the one theme that permeates all of God’s Word: The Gospel, the Good News.
As he says in v2, Timothy – and all preachers – are with great steadfastness to teach ALL doctrine. They are to teach the WHOLE COUNSEL of God.
But the whole counsel of God concerns the GOSPEL!
The cross is at the center of the whole counsel of God!
God gave pastors and teachers for the glory of His Name and for the good of His people. Preaching of the Word is a key part of their ministry.
In every local assembly, preachers must proclaim:
- The glories of the Gospel;
- The glories of God’s working in History, His eternal plan of redemption;
- The glories of God’s character;
- The dangers of false teaching, of the winds of doctrine that sweep through this world.
So, to those of us gathered this morning, hear the commands of God:
- You, Coty Pinckney, Andrew Shanks, Fred Balbuena: preach the Word.
- You, DGCC members, see to it that the Word is preached in this church.
- You, attenders, connect only to a local church where the Word, all the Word, is faithfully preached.
This is number 1! This is the most profound exhortation in all of Scripture.
This is key. Make this happen.