What's Wrong With Today's Preaching? (2)

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Today's article concludes our brief study on the primary reason for the spiritually anemic state of the “visible” church of our day.  You will remember from our study last time, that because the “visible” church is populated by both true saints and those who think they are (Matthew 13:30; 25:32), it is imperative that the preacher seek to continually evangelize (James 5:19-20; 2 Timothy 4:5) as well as edify (Ephesians 4:11-16; John 21:15-17) his flock. 

However, the reality is that most pastors today do neither.  Why?  Because there is a lot at stake if they do so!  For example, they could lose their footing on the denominational career-ladder or face the wrath of the goats (unbelievers pretending to be Christians) whom they continue to pet. Amazingly, many of these same preachers say that they love the famous 19th century British Baptist preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, but do not heed his words – “do not pet goats at the expense of feeding sheep.”  Such disobedient pastoral conduct (by clerical hirelings) reveals their true spiritual state (Galatians 1:10).  And how do they chronically aim to please the man, woman, and child in their pews? They do so by not preaching sermons to them that will please God (1 Thessalonians 2:4; Jeremiah 2:8; 10:21; 2 Timothy 4:1-2).  WHAT'S WRONG WITH TODAY’S PREACHING?  There is a problem with the MAN (i.e. the Preacher: Part 1 - Matt. 7:21-23; 1 Timothy 4:16), and there is also a problem with HIS MESSAGE (Part 2). In today's article we are concerned with the latter.  Why would there also be a problem with the preacher's message?  Because the structure, content, and practical illustrations and applications given in a preacher's message - as well as the manner in which he delivers it - demonstrate the depth of both his communion with God and His commitment to the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Let's observe these assertions a bit more closely:  First, most preaching today grossly lacks Biblical content.  Why?  Because many preachers are not serious students of the Bible, so it is not surprising that their sermons are not saturated with the Word of God.  A Biblical sermon is to be an exposition of the Word of God (Ezra 7:10; Nehemiah 8:8). The typical pulpit of our day fails to realize that the primary concern in all preaching is not with the hearer and the preacher, but with the hearer and the Word of God (James 1:21-22)! So then, preaching that lacks Biblical content is a tell-tale sign that the preacher does not really believe the Bible is spiritually profitable to help God’s people live godly in our present evil age (Acts 20:20; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Romans 10:17; 15:3-4). Many churches regularly accept as a sermon, the simple reading of a small portion of Scripture and then a chain of moralistic anecdotes laced with a few warm and fuzzy stories. The result is, their churchgoers are entertained with positive-thinking platitudes while being starved to death spiritually (Hosea 4:6). Secondly, there is a serious deficiency in the contemporary pulpit of solid doctrinal content. Have you heard the cliché, “Doctrine dries up”?  Dear friend, doctrinal preaching only dries up the heart that is already hard; i.e., a soul that is either unconverted (Matthew 13:18-22) or very spiritually immature (Hebrews 5:11-14; Philippians 3:15). Such a heart is never warm and receptive to the blessed and authoritative Word of the Living God (Hosea 10:12; Luke 24:32). The “visible” church of our day, in general, is anti-doctrine because the pulpit is anti-doctrine.  But Paul exhorted Titus in chapter 2 and verse 1 of that epistle,  “...speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.” To preach sermons with solid doctrinal content is to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). Even the most difficult and controversial texts must be not be eluded! Sadly, we see much more skating around and shrinking away from such texts and Biblical exposition, in general, than a sober declaration of it (Acts 20:20,27). Thirdly, sermons today are seriously lacking in practical and experiential application. One well-known preacher pointed this out, when he quipped, “In many ministries there may be solid Biblical content, a great measure of doctrinal substance, but very little practical application in which men are made to see (experientially) the implications of the content and the doctrine, so that they may know how to live the message that is being preached”. Finally, there is a problem with the contemporary pulpit concerning the manner in which the preacher delivers his message.  Often we see sharers -- not preachers. In other words, it is rare to find a preacher who really believes his message. There is a dearth of preachers who will say, “Thus says the Lord” (1 Peter 4:11). The pulpit is woefully lacking in urgency over the souls of those who are receiving its message (Acts 14:1).  So, WHAT'S WRONG WITH TODAY’S PREACHING? There is a lack of personal devotional experience with God in the preacher, as well as a serious lack of substance in what he is preaching.  Oh God, we beg you, give us a multitude of God-sent men who will live and preach as stewards of the mysteries of God (1 Corinthians 4:1-2). Give us men who are in love with you and whose preaching demonstrates this (Jeremiah 3:15)! How is the Biblical content of the preaching you hear each week in your church? Will you sit under Biblical preaching this Sunday (Hosea 6:1-6)?

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