15 years ago today (November 19, 1997) I preached my first sermon. Up to that point I had not announced a customary “calling to preach,” but God had no doubt been working in my heart. My dad, who was my pastor, recognized the work God was doing in my heart and gave me the opportunity to preach. I’ll never forget his request… “Son, would you like preach our Thanksgiving service?” I jumped at the opportunity because of the burning desire in my heart to preach God’s Word. My first message was 20 minutes long (some wish I could go back to those days!), and due to my nerves the quiver in my voice was hard to bare! Yet, after that message I knew this was God’s call on my life for the rest of my life.
I owe a great deal to those who have mentored me, trained me, and have given me opportunities to preach God’s Word. From my dad who diligently spent hours upon hours educating me on how to develop a sermon to the countless Pastors who shared books, encouragement, and even their pulpits to allow me to develop into the preacher God would have me to be. I am very grateful for the calling of God on my life and there is absolutely nothing I would rather do than preach the Word.
There are no perfect preachers, and I am far from one. But we do have a perfect God and a perfect Bible. With that we must aim toward pleasing God in our preaching.
1. We must aim to be BOLD in our preaching.
Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 2:2, “…we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God…” There is a tragic epidemic in America’s pulpits today, and that is an absence of bold preaching. Fear and compromise has caused many messages to be watered down disertations of positive thinking. Don’t get me wrong. We are to always “speak the truth in love,” and our preaching should always be characterized by an “excellent spirit,” but may we never lose sight of the boldness that the Holy Spirit can give us as we proclaim God’s authoritative Word. May I never be afraid to preach the whole counsel of God, “in season and out of season.”
2. We must aim to be BLAMELESS in our preaching.
Paul continued in his letter to the Thessalonians in chapter 2:3 by saying, “For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile.” Paul’s living matched his preaching. He was not a man of double standards – one thing in the pulpit and another at home. Someone has said, “What you do speaks so loudly that people cannot hear what you say.” The local church has been wounded by the inconsistencies and the immorality in our pulpits. As a man of God, I must keep my walk with God fresh and real so that my testimony as His servant will be blameless. Be sure that our ministries, our preaching, and our positions aim to be blameless in all areas of life.
3. We must aim to be BIBLICAL in our preaching.
In verse 4 of 1 Thessalonians 2 Paul said, “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” A preaching that is bold, but not biblical is a preaching that is not pleasing to God. People do not want to hear what I have to say, they want to hear what God has to say. Our preaching should not be centered on our agendas, preferences, and opinions, but they must express the biblical integrity of “thus saith the Lord.” This is exactly what Paul said he was “put in trust” to do. God trust me with His Word. My utmost desire is to be trustworthy messenger of God!
I am extremely passionate about preaching God’s Word. As a matter of fact, I believe we often put the wrong emphasis on 2 Timothy 4:2. It shouldn’t necessarily be “PREACH the Word,” but rather “preach the WORD!” I’ve heard Pastor Scott Tewell say, “The delivery is not that important as long as you’re throwing strikes.” There are various styles of preaching God’s Word, but we must have only one message: God’s Word. “Precept upon precept; line upon line.” (Isaiah 28:13) I tell young preachers often, keep your finger on the text and preach the Bible. When people come to Laurel Baptist Church, I want them to know that they are going to receive a message from God; book by book, chapter by chapter, verse by verse. May the Lord always help me to aim for biblical preaching.
15 years of preaching God’s Word today. I pray the Lord allows me to boldly, blamelessly, and biblically preach His Word another 15 years!