Thursday, May 26, 2011

Let God Speak




Byron Yawn recently wrote a book titled Well-Driven Nails: The Power of Finding your own Voice in which he covers the topic of preaching. In the first chapter he has a section about the topic of "relevance" which is huge in the church these days. Early in the section he writes, "Relevance is a trap preachers are forced into by epidemic demands for over-principalized teaching." Relevance can trap preachers into trying to please everyone rather than forsaking man's opinion in order to please God and teach his truth. He goes on to write:

By its very nature, preaching is ignoring man's opinion. We have been called to speak on behalf of God. Let God speak. Let man listen. Why not allow the Word of God to crush and rebuild me and then carry that transforming message to those people I love who are yearning for the same thing? That's real. That seems relevant.

Preach the Word. This is the only alternative to all the clamoring for relevance and the resulting nonsense that passes for preaching in too many churches. There's no need for all that "stuff." I've lost count of the "new" approaches. I can't keep up. Why not preach with transparency? Why not understand it and let it transform you? Carry that burden to the pulpit and allow it to transform others. The more you understand it, the more it transforms everyone. This simple aim transcends styles, methods of delivery, personality, education, etc. Herein is freedom. Freedom from expectations. Freedom from limitations of our giftedness. Freedom to preach with authority and passion. Freedom from the fear of men.

What we need as sinners is for preachers to study the Word and deliver to our ears the truth in order for us, as Christians, to grow in godliness. The message that transforms us is the gospel of Jesus Christ not a message that will be outdated by next week. All of us need to hear the unchanging truth. Paul solemnly charged Timothy in the presence of God to do this very thing: "Preach the Word" (2 Tim. 4:2).

If you are a preacher please stop with the "relevance" that is becoming the norm in the pulpits across the world. Break open the Word, study and let it transform your life then start preaching the gospel that has transformed your life. Let that message spill over into your preaching so your people may soak it up.

If you are a listener, like me, please ask the Spirit to challenge, convict and encourage you each time you have the privilege to hear God's Word taught. This will be help in your lifelong battle against the temptations of this world.

If you do not belong to a church I would encourage you to find one that preaches the Bible. Most churches will say they preach the Bible but what you'll find is your ears being tickled by self-help therapy rather than having your sin exposed before a holy God. That may make you feel better for an hour but it won't produce lasting change in your life. Only a relationship with the eternal God will produce a change in your life forever. Go hear his Word taught.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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