What Needs Preaching

Posted on: March 3rd, 2024

If worship service attendance be a fair indicator, there are many who feel that nothing needs preaching. Some who do attend lament about nothing being preached — and preached, and preached. Others seem to like it like that. But regardless of personal preferences, public preaching has an important and God-given place deserving of our respect. The content of such preaching is equally important. For Paul that meant preaching the whole counsel of God and not shunning to declare anything that was profitable (Acts 2O:2O–27). Not all medicine that does good tastes good and not all preaching that profits is pleasant. Reproof and rebuke are essential in preaching the word (2 Tim. 4:2), but that which is aimed at other people in other places is not likely to have much effect locally. As a preacher friend says, put the salve where the sore is!. To put it another way, pertinent preaching must include dealing with prevailing problems among~. And that is not always an easy task — as most preachers will amen.

No preacher would have found it easy or pleasant to preach what Stephen preached in his last sermon — but it was needful. When Paul saw that Peter and others walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, he dealt with them promptly and to the face (Gal. 2:11ff). Whether the problem was false teaching or immorality, Paul told brethren what they needed to hear and when they needed to hear it, even when it made them sorry (2 Cor. 7:8). Were Paul and Stephen wrong? If not, then why would similar efforts by faithful evangelists be less appreciated now? Regrettably, however, it seems that a few preachers are reluctant to speak out on what they think might be volatile issues among their brethren. Worse, some of the brethren love to have it so (as Jer. 5:30). Such, like those in Stephens audience, have uncircumcised hearts and ears especially with reference to certain subjects. We read of Paul facing such a group in Acts 22. They were willing to listen — until he mentioned a subject they didn’t like. Most among us have long lamented the refusals of others to hear the whole counsel of God on such subjects as baptism. Yet, some claiming to be Christians manifest a similar disposition, only toward other divine counsel. Until we are prepared to receive it (all of it), we are not really prepared to recommend it. Bad enough that some would time-out certain preaching or that some would go elsewhere to avoid hearing it, but what have we come to when gospel preachers are discouraged or outright forbidden to speak about the sins in their midst? Can this be far from what Paul wrote about those who would not endure the sound doctrine? (2 Tim. 4:3) Brethren, when the time comes that we would try to muzzle the faithful gospel preacher in order to appease the sinner, were in trouble.

What needs preaching? For starters tell me what men don’t want to hear. That’s the second thing they need to hear. The first thing they need to hear and learn is what it means to love the Truth and its Author. Suppressing truth is like pulling the plug on our spiritual-life support system — we just can’t live without it! (Dan S. Shipley)