I have had the privilege of teaching for more than four decades years in many places, ranging from great stadiums and arenas to small home Bible studies. I can tell you that it is God’s Word preached that touches lives. This is the primary way in which God chooses to make Himself known.
There are many ways God could have come to us. He could have dropped visual images like photographs or paintings to describe what He wanted people to know.
Certainly, God does speak to us, to some degree, through the testimony of nature. After all, Psalm 19:1 tells us, “The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship.”
But above all, God has chosen to prioritize the preaching of His Word, and so we should do the same. As the apostle Paul wrote, “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).
Some of Paul’s most emphatic words to Timothy were, “Preach the Word!” (2 Timothy 4:2). This is the answer we as Christians have to a world that is lost and dying.
Stirred to Preaching the Word
Do you ever feel righteous indignation as you look at our confused society today? Righteous indignation is the result of seeing something that disturbs you deep in your soul.
Maybe you see something on television or social media that is wicked and perverse. Maybe you see someone misrepresenting or mocking God. Maybe you see a situation in which you realize that people are turning to false gods. It grieves you and causes you to be stirred deep within.
The Book of Acts tells us that when Paul arrived in Athens, he was grieved to see the absolute absence of the living God, and in His place, every conceivable substitute. Acts 17:16 says that Paul’s spirit “was provoked within him.”
Another way to translate this is, “His spirit was exasperated,” or “He was irritated or aroused to anger,” or my favorite, “He was hot and mad.” This doesn’t mean that Paul lost his cool and he was basically ticked off. This was righteous indignation.
Does it grieve you inside as you see generation after generation going down the same path that leads to destruction, buying into the same lies the generation before them bought into? Does that concern you?
Here is what it comes down to: We can take as many classes as we want on how to share our faith. We can memorize verses. We can prepare ourselves. But unless we have a God-given burden for unbelievers, it won’t matter.
Paul said, “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16). But if some Christians were honest, they would say, “Woe is me if I have to preach the gospel.” We need to ask God to stir our hearts to proclaim His word with love and boldness.
There’s Power in Preaching
When Paul stood on Mars Hill in Athens, He could have used drama to make his points. After all, drama started there in Greece. He could have had someone present the gospel in “three acts,” or have it put to music.
But he didn’t do either of those things. Instead, he preached to them.
Music, drama, and the arts all have their place, but they are nowhere near the importance of the preaching and teaching of the Word of God.
I know God can and will work through worship music, but it is God who works in our lives. Perhaps that is why Martin Luther called music the “handmaiden of theology.”
Preaching still needs to be the priority of the church today. I know this is true, not only because the Bible says it is, but also from personal experience.
Trust me when I say that the last thing I ever wanted to become was a preacher. I was a cartoonist, a graphic designer. That was all I ever wanted to do. I was never a speaker in school. In fact, I dreaded speaking publicly.
But by the first time I had the privilege of preaching the gospel, I saw the power of God at work. My life was touched by the teaching and preaching of God’s Word, and it still is.
The arts have their place. Thank God for Christian musicians, designers, and all the rest. I love the arts and people who are gifted in this way. I count myself as one of them.
But one thing will never change: “It pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”
As we expand into brand-new areas of outreach at Harvest Ministries, you can be sure that more than ever before, we’re committed to teaching the Bible and preaching the gospel. Thanks for your support in making this possible.
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