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Friday, March 25, 2016

The News


 

In 1 Corinthians 15:14, Paul says“…and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.” The word preaching is an interesting choice of words. Paul and the other writers of the New Testament could have used several other words to define their communication of the gospel, but they chose the word preaching which comes from a word meaning to herald. In New Testament times, there was no internet or newspapers to give people the news of the day. A herald or crier would walk through the streets or stand at a corner preaching or heralding the news.

In today’s news programs, both hard and soft news are presented. Soft news is “news you can use.” It’s practical news such as the latest fashion or diet—perhaps a heart-warming story or a sports report. Hard news is crucial news that affects you, such as politics, war, terrorism, or inclement weather. A crier or herald in Paul’s day would only be heralding hard news. The point here is that the gospel is hard news—news that affects your life in a profound way. News that is about life and death, about eternity—about a relationship with your creator.

Is preaching in churches today primarily about hard or soft news? In the interest of attracting the unchurched and keeping the attention of church members, are pastors today often emphasizing subjects such as burnout, stress, busyness, relationships, and emotional challenges? Or, are we heralding the good news of Scripture first and then applying it to various aspects of life?

Please understand, I think there‘s a place for application of Scripture in preaching. I recently completed a sermon series on “The Relationship Principles of Jesus.” Seventy percent of Jesus’ messages were on how to apply His teachings. I guess my question is, “Have we crossed the line from preaching the Scripture to using the Scripture to teach soft news?”

As I said in last week’s blog, we often struggle with how far to take attractional evangelism. Pastors want people to invite their friends to church. Members do not want their friends to be offended or embarrassed. We pastors want our messages to be relevant to the church and their guests. Many feel if we “tell it like it is,” that is, hard news in a hard way, we will discourage people from inviting their friends. Then evangelism will suffer.

I have a deep burden in my soul to reach people for Christ. Church members need to invite their friends to church. So how can pastors and members work together to reconcile these issues? How would it look? Here are some thoughts:

1.  Pastors would be committed to preaching the hard news of the Bible, not exclusively using it to preach soft news.

2. Pastors would preach the hard news with a gracious heart, admitting that they too struggle with sin, guilt, doubt, and failure. The pastor who preaches hard news in a hard way may believe he has earned that right through his good life and works, but in doing so demonstrates that he is not seeing or appreciating the grace of God in his own life.

3. Pastors would preach the Word, explain the Scriptures, and apply them to everyday life. This would include soft news when applicable. He would be careful to leave out terms that only the churched would understand, and handle “hot button” issues with truth and grace. 

4.  Members would invite their friends by sharing with them that their pastor teaches the Bible in truth and power, but with a heart of grace. They would encourage their friends to come and hear the truth that will help them understand Christ and how to live in this world.

5.  Pastors would weave the gospel message of salvation into every message. Some are critical of the salvation message merely being added on to the end of a sermon. Yet, every passage of the Bible screams the gospel of Christ .Every member should be assured their guest will hear the gospel and have an opportunity to receive Christ. 

An understanding between pastors and church members would go a long way in having both the heralding of the Word and attracting unbelievers to the church.

What do you think?

5 comments:

  1. Great truth thank you for emphasizing the importance of being the non compromising pastor. God has been stirring me also this week and I was asked to preach this past Sunday at a church in Miami and God led me to preach from the book of James on the importance of not compromising the moral truths of scripture in the face of persecution. Many Church leaders today in order to be a more culturally welcoming or attractional
    are compromising and that is not what we see in the early Church of the New Testament. I really believe that God didn't send Christ to the Cross for attractive compromising church's and it is very popular today to water down scripture or neglect to teach on scripture that is counter cultural. Grateful to serve a pastor such as yourself that stands for truth even threw difficult times when it could be easier to compromise.

    In Christ,

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    1. Thank you Chris. I appreciate your insights.

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  2. Great thoughts, sir! Believers need to be equipped at church, to disciple others outside of church, so they can confidently teach others who may not ever attend church. If they feel that only a qualified teacher can disciple others, then the Great Commission is lost. My son shared Christ with a neighbor who is hungry for the Word, but whose parents will not allow him to go to church. He asked if they could learn the Bible while playing in the back yard. Absolutely! This is why we are here, to multiply in or out of a building. Hard teaching is necessary so that believers are equipped to go out and share not only the gospel, but to disciple others to be able to share and teach as well. It may not be a popular idea, as today's society wants to hand off the responsibility to someone else, but making disciples is a command for all of us. Thank you for being committed to deeper teaching!

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    1. Good thoughts, Joy. Thanks for your input.

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    2. Excellent to Weave getting Saved into each message given. This is Super Important, most people will Never hear the gospel presented, Passion and Excitement show Non-Believers there is a God to Believe in.

      Churches have been Taken over by the World Council of Churches in 1954 by the Rockefeller Foundation. They created the 501 C3 tax exempt status for churches to monitor and control what was said during messages. Disregard what the Controllers and Handlers are trying to Force on Preachers. Only one thing Matters in this Lifetime and that is to Make a Decision for Christ and to Follow Him. I wish All churches Felt this way. I would Bring a New Guest in Every week to hear the Gospel of Christ. Most churches are Weak though and Barely mention Christ or explain the Importance of Getting Saved. Preach and Weave the Saving Message of Christ into Every Message. It is the Best Info any one can Hear.

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