T H E S I S # 12
Christians are equally free and responsible to preach Bible truths to “the world” and to each other.
If you can accept that the way it is within traditional religions is not God’s contrivance, and….
If you can accept that the way it is within evangelicalism is not God’s contrivance, then perhaps….
Perhaps you can accept the way it is in your life is not necessarily, not entirely, God’s contrivance.
In some truths you have been properly instructed. You have been taught you are justified by the precious and innocent blood of “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”, and indeed you are justified, as if you have never sinned. And it has been explained and sufficiently emphasized you are sanctified unto our God by faith in Jesus Christ, and so you are. And you have been taught you are an actual son/daughter of “our Father in heaven”, and that is a blessed truth.
But perhaps you have not been taught you are called to be a preacher.
You are called to preach “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” to the secular world and to the church. You may not have the same degree of anointing as Peter and John and Paul (or perhaps you do), but you are called to preach nonetheless. And the anointing will increase with faithfulness.
Perhaps you think the way it is is the way it should be, or else it wouldn’t be that way. You assume evangelicalism is the way it is because God somehow fashioned it to be so. And the pulpit guy is the pulpit guy because our Lord Jesus determined him to be the pulpit guy. Such is a distortion of the sovereignty of God, passed on to you, perhaps inadvertently and perhaps non-verbally, by pulpit guys.
Understandably, you reason, if the “head of the church” made him the pulpit guy, He likewise made you the pew guy. And we all know pew guys are not preachers, right?
1 Thessalonians 1: 8: From you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place.
“The word of the Lord has sounded forth” from “the church of the Thessalonians”, seemingly from all of them, certainly not just a few. Hmmm. Seems they were all preachers.
In your Bible is the phrase “one another”, repeated several times. You have heard the preacher say, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” And perhaps you have heard him exhort, “Be kindly affectionate to one another in brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.” And, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
But rarely does the pulpit guy quote the verse, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another.” Or, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards.” Or, “Not forsaking the assembly of ourselves together…. but exhorting one another.”
Ephesians 4:12: for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
“Saints” do “the work of ministry” and edify “the body of Christ”. And you are a saint by virtue of The Sacrifice.
Ephesians 4:16 (NLT): He [Christ] makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so the whole body is healthy and growing.
You are one of many parts, helping “the other parts grow”. “The other parts” grow the same as we all grow, by the ministry of The Word. Lord Jesus Christ would have us minister to “one another”. “Each part” is called to preach to “each part”. That’s God’s way.
So how does one change from a non-preacher to a preacher?
Two plans for your consideration, Plan A and Plan B….
Apply to the most prominent bible college, even if this means leaving home for a time; the more prominent the school, the more impressive the credential; the more impressive your credential, the more likelihood of some day landing a good-paying position within evangelicalism.
You will need the endorsement of your pastor, not only to be accepted in bible college, but whenever and wherever you apply for a position. This endorsement is a needful key to success. So more than being respectful to the pastor, be enthused; any salesman will tell you enthusiasm sells. Let him know you are a loyal subordinate, eager to serve. Volunteer as much as possible. Do not under any circumstance express a doctrinal difference of opinion. Call him “Pastor” at all public gatherings. Better yet, call him “Pastor” at all times; he will like that. Hopefully, all this will result in a flowery recommendation that will prove useful over your career.
When at bible school cooperate, agree, and volunteer. And smile lots; a perpetual smile will enhance your career considerably. Compete for the highest marks; competition is hefty, especially for the better positions. Send out a resume prior to graduation, always including the endorsement of your pastor and endorsements of college staff. (Get as many as possible and choose the most complimentary.)
Be willing to accept a less-than-desirable position to start, but always be alert for a better opening. Continually send updates on your resumes; don’t let them forget you’re still around. Work hard at improving your pulpit presence. Watch lots of videos of successful television ministers, noting their confidence and authoritative manner. Let your messages be a blend of humor and gravity. And practice preaching at home; preach to anything that moves and anything that doesn’t.
Because of your investment of time and money, you will eventually get your pulpit. You will have an audience. You will be influential. But now you must protect what you have earned, and a little compromise may be needful. Be politically correct whenever possible; don’t risk your career over trifle matters. Avoid issues of debate and stay within denominational guidelines. (If you are sufficiently sensitive to your denominational lords you may be one someday.) And again, lots of enthusiasm and lots of smiles.
The key to Plan B is found within 2 Corinthians 11:3 (NIV): But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
Now focus on these words: your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
If these seven words get deep into your understanding…. and your heart…. and your memory…. your entire christianity will be a success, certainly including your preaching ministry.
Spend much time Christ-gazing. Instead of talking to yourself, talk to Him. Consider and reconsider and reconsider again His words. Convince Him you want Him above every and all. (If this advice sounds simple, it’s because it is. If it sounds easy, it isn’t. It really isn’t.)
If you develop a “sincere and pure devotion to Christ” Christ will ooze out of you. You will preach with conviction your First Love, “Jesus Christ and Him crucified”.
The Lord Jesus Christ, “the lord of the harvest”, will use you. How and when and where are His concern. Your place is to be prepared and attentive.
Have a cache of Scripture verses in your memory bank, and let the Holy Spirit bring them out. It’s most important to have a right relationship with the Holy Spirit; He is the governor, you are the governed; He is the evangelist, you are His spokesperson. Be on standby with an attitude of expectation and readiness.
Check your heart to make sure it is Lord Jesus you serve and endeavor to please, and not any man. A healthy relationship with “the brethren” will be the fruit of a healthy relationship with your Christ. You seek His companionship, His ways, His will, His heart, His wisdom, His understanding, His lordship, His approval, His direction.