By Johnie Edwards
One reason Gideon and his army were successful in defeating the Midianites was: “And they stood every man in his place round about the camp” (Judg. 7:21). If we are to be pleasing in the sight of God and if the work of the Lord is to be successful, it will be necessary for every person to find his place, get in it, stay in it and be satisfied with it. In this series, let’s take a look at some and their place.
The Place of the Preacher
If the work of the local church is to be successful, the preacher must know his place, get in it and stay in it! Sometimes the preacher gets out of place. Let’s take a look to see that the preacher is out of place when:
(1) He is a reverend. Many preachers are not satisfied just to be called by their name but want to be held up as “a reverend.” The word “reverend” is only found one time in the entire Bible and then it refers to God and not man. The Psalmist said, “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name” (Psa. 111:9). You will never read of any of he apostles of Christ ever being called reverend, they were just called Peter, James and John! No one of the apostles was any greater than the other. In a discussion of who’s the greatest, the Lord said, “But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve” (Lk. 22:26). In fact Jesus said concerning those who “love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi, But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren, and call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven” (Matt. 23:6-9). There are some preachers in the church of Christ who like to be honored a little more than the rest of us by using the word Doctor in front of their name. We all need to learn the words of Job, “Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man. For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away” (Job 32:21-22).
(2) He becomes a professional praying man. It is not the place of the preacher to be a professional praying man. Often folks think they cannot pray themselves, but have to call in a professional to do the praying. Most preachers that I know are always willing to offer a prayer for the sick and those who need attention along this line, but we must be taught that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (Jas. 5:16).
(3) He is a social butterfly. There are some who would make nothing more of a preacher than to function at all the social events of a community. There certainly is nothing wrong with a preacher being involved in a community socially, but we must not be so demanding of his time that he does not have time to study and do the work of an evangelist.
(4) As a pastor. Unless appointed as an elder, the preacher is not a pastor. Elders are the pastors in the church. A preacher is out of place when he tries to run and oversee the church. The elders have been charged with this (Acts 20:28).
Now let’s take a look at the place of the preacher.
1. To preach the gospel. The main and foremost work of the preacher is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul charged Timothy, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:2). As a preacher preaches, he must preach in such a way that folks can understand the preaching. The preaching of men of God in the New Testament was plain, simple preaching. When they finished their sermons, no one ever asked them to run that by him again. They may not have always obeyed the preached word, but it was not because they did not understand it!
2. He must do other work as a Christian. The preacher has responsibilities as does every other Christian. He does not have these responsibilities because he is a preacher but because he is a Christian!
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 4, p. 109
February 19, 1988