Sent to Preach

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, September 2, 2015 0 comments

by Logan Ames

In our current society of political correctness, people get offended very easily and don’t like it when they feel they are getting “preached at." The word has been given somewhat of a negative connotation from many who don’t really understand what it means. Even if you happen to be speaking truth and are doing so gently, some people don’t like the vulnerable feeling of being lovingly confronted, so they turn it around on you and blame you for getting all “preachy” on them. Despite that negative reaction, we must continue to preach. It is not optional for believers, but something that God commands.

Italian religious leader Saint Francis of Assisi has a quote widely attributed to him: “Preach the gospel always and if necessary, use words." The quote carries so much weight because of how we have misinterpreted the word. In the Bible, the word used most often for “preach” literally means “to proclaim." Who is it that is supposed to “proclaim” truth? Is it only those who went to seminary and took a class on preaching? Of course not! While there is a time and a place for inspiring stories, funny jokes, or thought-provoking metaphors (Jesus often spoke truth in parables), the most important piece of the proclamation is the gospel message, also known as the GOOD NEWS! No matter how much a seasoned pastor can dazzle the congregation with speech, it is all empty talk unless connected to the truth of the gospel.

Perhaps this is why the Apostle Paul wrote about the importance of preaching immediately after declaring how a person comes to salvation in Jesus. In Romans 10:14-15, Paul asks a series of rhetorical questions to illustrate the natural process that God has set up for humans to believe in Jesus. Take a minute to read those verses, and look them in light of what Paul had just quoted in verses 12-13. If there is no difference between Jew and Gentile and grace is available to ALL people who view Jesus as Lord, then everyone who calls on him will be saved. But what does it mean to “call” on Jesus? Paul’s questions in verses 14-15 suggest that there does have to be some sincerity to it. Picture yourself as a non-believer. You can’t truly call on Jesus unless you actually believe he is worthy to be called on. You can’t believe that unless you have first heard about it. You can’t hear about it unless someone has proclaimed his truth to you. Finally, there is no one to proclaim the truth to you if no one has been sent out to do so.

God could certainly choose to reveal himself to people without using a human preacher, and there are times where that happens. However, Paul is stating that God’s “typical” way of getting the gospel message out is using human messengers. When you think about the fact that the message began with a very small group of apostles in Jerusalem and spread to the entire world from there, it’s mind-boggling what God has done through simple testimony and truth! But it had to be more than just speaking it. The encouragement in Saint Francis’ quote is that even if you are not a “gifted preacher,” you can proclaim the good news of Jesus with your life. Paul himself writes in his letter to the Colossians that our focus must be on the Lord Jesus Christ whether it is “in word or deed” (Colossians 3:17).

Think about the Old Testament prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others. Their only responsibility was to obey God and speak his truth no matter the audience, circumstances, or personal cost. We don’t read anywhere that they were given special education or training other than how the Holy Spirit prepared and molded them for their task. They would receive a word from the Lord and then they would proclaim it. In my time as a pastor, I’m seeing more and more how true that still is today. It’s not always about digging deep into the Biblical languages or creating stories. It’s much more often about me (or any preacher) experiencing the Lord personally and then proclaiming that truth to others. Paul later tells Timothy to “preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). This is part of his FINAL instructions just before he dies!

There is nothing more important for believers young and old than to keep proclaiming the gospel in word and deed when it is popular and when it is not. The same word for preaching is used in both Romans 10:14-15 and 2 Timothy 4:2, and it has little to do with what we do on Sunday mornings. It’s much more about how we live our lives. It is important for churches and individuals to receive specific callings to be sent to certain places or people groups to bring the gospel. But aside from those, I believe Paul’s words in this week’s passage are true for ALL believers. Maybe you are wondering where you are being sent; I want to encourage you today to begin with those closest to you. You’ve got your family, friends, co-workers, fellow students, colleagues, neighbors, teammates, and strangers you see at the bank and grocery store. Look at Romans 10:14-15 and put some of those names in there. They can’t call on Jesus unless they first believe in him, which comes as a result of hearing about him, which happens when you are faithful in proclaiming the gospel in how you live and speak. Are you ready to be sent?

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