by Paul Shero
No one can argue the need for preaching when the church began. Jesus commanded the apostles to go and preach. Mark 16:15 says, “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.’” But what about now? In many places, preaching is being de-emphasized. Preaching is seen as archaic, out of touch, maybe not even necessary. So do we need preaching today?
The apostle Paul was extremely successful in preaching the Gospel. He was even able to say that ALL had heard the Gospel (Col. 1:23). Yet when he writes to Timothy and Titus, he instructs them to preach. As long as babies are born, as long as sin is practiced, as long as people forget, we will need to preach the Word. Paul tells Timothy, “I 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 urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort. Be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim. 4:1-5). He charges Timothy—not suggests, but commands him—to preach. He reminds Timothy that preaching is a holy calling before the Father and the Son. He says this work of preaching is serious. He uses the word “urgent.” He says the job of preaching is necessary because not everyone loves truth. Some seek liars and others lie. To be a Gospel preacher, you must be steady, take your licks, and keep working.
To Titus, Paul said preaching also involves correcting error in established churches (Titus 1:5). He told Titus that not everyone submits to God’s authority. Some even make up lies. He said they must be rebuked; the preacher is the one to do that (Titus 1:13). Paul said not everyone teaches the Word of God. They reject the truth. They claim to know God but deny Him with their deeds. The Gospel preacher preaches sound doctrine (Titus 2:1).
Paul says old men need teaching. Young men need teaching. Old women need teaching. Young women need teaching. Masters need teaching, and slaves need teaching. Preacher, you are the one to teach them. You are to train people to live godly lives in this world (Titus 2:12). Paul tells Titus this work is so important that nothing should keep the preacher from preaching. What if they don’t pay any attention? Keep on preaching! Paul said the preacher is to exhort with authority. He says, “Let no one disregard you” (Titus 2:15). The authority of preachers is not because they are popular, but because they proclaim the “Word of God.” Paul says these are not your words but God’s Word. “I desire you to insist on these things” (Titus 3:8).
We need to stay focused on the Word of God. We must not become sidetracked by petty quarrels. It is the preacher’s job to stop the divisive brethren and lead people into productive lives of good deeds (Titus 3:10, 14). So if what you are preaching is not the Word of God, you should stop preaching. You are not needed. If you are fractious and impatient with your hearers, you should stop preaching. You are hurting and not helping. If you do not study the Word, but just give entertaining speeches, you should stop preaching. The world has plenty of entertainment. If your life is not consistent with your message, stop preaching or change your ways.
People will always pay more attention to your life than to your words. But if you are trying to live a holy life, studying His Word, prayerfully applying it to the situation of today; if you love God, His Word and people, then STAND UP, SPEAK UP. Paul says, in 1 Tim. 4:6, “If you put these instructions before the brethren, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have followed.”
Paul Shero has been preaching for the Southgate Church of Christ in San Angelo, Texas since 1977.