Why I Preach the Bible1
I have always been fascinated by preaching, and I have a passion for preaching. In an age characterized by short attention spans and the desire for the new and novel, I still believe that the greatest need in churches today remains the preaching of God’s Word. You would not think so by taking a glance at the leadership and church help books from the local Christian bookstore. They argue that the church needs this program or that program, this style of worship or that style of worship, or this worship space or that worship space. There is a lot of ink wasted on form rather than substance. Despite what I am being called to do by many successful church leaders, I must admit that I cannot and will not abandon the expository preaching of God’s Word.
For the next few Wednesdays, I am going to write posts focused on the Word of God. But I thought that the best way to kick off these series of posts would be to give the rational behind why I get up Sunday after Sunday and declare what the Word of God says. When you boil it all down, there are three main reasons I preach God's Word.
Because the Word has spiritual power.
No other book or message has the power that the Word of God has. As long as the message I declare on Sunday mornings accurately represents the purpose and intent of Scripture, then my message has spiritual power. I am not talking about some mystical enlightenment or quasi-metaphysical anomoly but spiritual power that brings lasting change.
The Word of God has the power to convert the soul. In Psalm 19:7, David declares that the Law of God converts the soul. Although many translations prefer revive instead of convert, the underlying Hebrew word is probably best translated convert, represented well in the King James Version. Paul echoes a similar thought in Romans 10:14-15 by pointing to the absolute necessity of the preached word for men and women to confess the lordship of Jesus Christ. The Word possesses the power of God to convert the soul. God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, takes the Word and opens the heart to receive the message.
The Word of God penetrates the heart. Speaking of the judgment of God's Word, the writer of Hebrews declares the piercing power of God's Word in Hebrews 4:12. He compares the Word to a two-edged sword, able to slice open the hearts of mankind with surgical precision in order to convict and condemn. Only the Word of God can soften the most hardened hearts. I can rant and rail until I turn blue in the face trying to convince people of their sin and need for a Savior, but my words do not possess the ability to cut right to the hearts of people like the Word of God does. Only the Word of God slices deep enough to penetrate the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
The Word of God produces spiritual growth. Peter encouraged his readers in 1 Peter 2:2 to long after the pure spiritual milk of the word. Why? That they might grow up into salvation. Five tips for a better marriage or ten ways to a healthier lifestyle contribute nothing to spiritual growth. People, whether they realize it or not, need the Word of God if they are ever going to grow spiritually.
Because no other message has the authority of God.
As long as the Word of God is being faithfully preached, accurately representing the intent and purpose of Scripture, the message preached bears authority. The authority lies not in the words of men but in the words of Scripture. Over and over the Scripture declares itself to not be the product of men's imaginations, but the product of the mind of God (2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pet 1:21; 3:2, 16 . . .). Since the Bible comes from God, it bears a level of authority that my clever wisdom does not bear. I do not have to guess at what God thinks; I know for certain based upon His inerrant and perfect Word. Therefore, what people really need in their lives is the Word that God has chosen to give them in the Bible.
Because God has chosen to use the foolishness of preaching to accomplish His work.
If God had chosen a dramatic performance or a musical to accomplish His work, then we better be ready to get the stage set and the instruments tuned. But God has chosen to use preaching a message to accomplish His work of redemption. Paul makes this exact point in 1 Corinthians 1:18-24. Not only is the message of the cross foolishness, but the method of declaring that message that is foolish to the brilliant minds of this age. But Paul makes this point clear: "to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (v. 18). God has confounded the wise of this age through both the message and the method that He has chosen to accomplish His work. Since it was God's idea to use the declared message to save people, I must declare that message.
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