The pages of the Bible are crammed with preachers, preaching the words of God to the people of God and to the world. From Moses to Nathan, from Elijah to Jeremiah, from Ezra to John the Baptist, Peter, Stephen, Paul and standing over all of the above, Jesus Christ. There are countless sermons recorded in the Bible and many others alluded too. When pressured to perform more miracles Jesus corrected his followers, telling them that the reason for his coming was preaching. (Mark 1). In addition, word ministry, and in particular preaching, is taught in the New Testament as being central to the life and health of the Church (Eph 4:11-13; 1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 4:2, etc), and for evangelizing the world (Rom 10:14-15). In fact, I don’t think it is hyperbolizing to suggest that the whole Bible can be described as one long sermon preached by God himself.
The only occasions when preaching is denounced in the Bible is when it comes from the lips of false-preachers (false-prophets, false-teachers, wolves and the like).
My argument is simple:
If preaching was understood by the OT prophets and by Jesus and by the Apostles to be essential for the faith and life of God’s people, how can we think anything less? If the Apostle Paul exhorted Timothy to preach the word (even when it was unpopular), how can we argue otherwise? Have we attained to some Zen level spirituality that we no longer need preaching? Will sitting down in a café sipping our soy lattes (yuck!) and chatting about the lowest common denominator be suffice to see our churches ‘reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ’? Should we be pitching for a goal less than what God has revealed for his Church?
Our Churches need preachers, not only preachers, but nonetheless preachers – faithful preachers of God’s Word, preachers who will teach with conviction and clarity in order to see people repenting of sins, believing God, obeying God, following God, loving God, enjoying God, and serving their neighbours.
I hesitate in saying Melbourne needs preachers, for it is not so much the city that God has in mind, but his Church and those in Melbourne who will become followers of Jesus and join his Church. Melbourne needs preachers insofar as Christ’s Churches in Melbourne need preachers and the people of Melbourne who until they hear the Gospel (whether through preaching or one-one conversations or however) will be deaf to God and dead in their sins.
Researchers are saying that Churches are declining and yet many Melbournians have an interest in things spiritual. Who will tell them the good news? And what of the people of God who remain in our Churches? They remain the people of God, for whom Christ died. They are important to God; Jesus shed his blood for them. Who will preach the Gospel to them? Who will feed them and guard them? The only way to turn Churches around is to pray and to preach; there is no other way. Pray for more preachers, pray for God to powerfully use faithful preachers, and pray for God to silence false-preachers and send them to Macquarie Island!
I haven't done the research but there must be at least a couple thousand Protestant Churches in Melbourne. Do we have 2000 preachers? Sure, there are a couple of preachers whose names are known across the city, but do we have even 200 evangelical expositors in Melbourne?
Is God wanting you to be a preacher of the word? Is God wanting you to open and expound his Scriptures so that people will hear and understand and be convicted by the Holy Spirit to respond in faith? How can grow as preachers? How can we best preach in our culture of Melbourne?
Check out xposepreaching.com and register for the conference (Feb 17-18).