What Preachers Can Learn From Paul
Most of us who preach could profit in our preaching by learning some lessons from the preaching of the Apostle Paul. Let's notice some things about Paul's preaching that we would do well to emulate.
Paul Was Consistent In His Preaching
It is difficult to always be consistent in preaching. Often times preachers will preach one thing in one place and, if conditions are not favorable to that kind of preaching, will preach something else at another place. Paul was consistent in his preaching. "For this cause have I sent unto you Timothy, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways, which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church" (1 Cor. 4:17). Sometimes preachers have been known to favor some in their hearing audience, because of friendships, and avoid preaching on needed subjects lest some be offended! Again Paul said, "But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches" (1 Cor. 7:17). Let's learn to: "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2 Tim. 4:2).
Paul Was Not Ashamed Of The Gospel of Christ
Many today seem to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ as seen by so little of it being used in their sermons. Paul recognized that the gospel saves (1 Cor. 15:2), that the gospel is the only power God uses in saving men, and in the gospel is God's righteousness revealed. By understanding that, Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ . . ." (Rom. 1: 16-17). We need to remember that Jesus said, "Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels" (Mk. 8:38). Preachers must not be ashamed to preach the gospel.
Paul's Preaching Was With Simplicity
Folks may not have always obeyed the preaching of Paul, but it was not because they did not understand it. His preaching was characterized by simplicity. He wrote the Corinthians, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3). Lest people's faith stand in the wisdom of men, Paul wrote, "And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing, among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified . . . And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power" (1 Cor. 2:14).
Too many preachers preach over the heads of the common man in the pew, trying to appeal to the highly intellectual. I have just never understood that, for if preaching is where the young and the less educated can understand it, those with more education will have no problem of getting a handle on it as well.
Paul Was Humble
A lot of preachers have difficulty in being humble. One preacher said, "When you are as smart and great as I am, it is hard to be humble." A member of the church said, "If you don't believe that our preacher can really preach, just ask him." Look at Paul's attitude as he addressed the Ephesian elders: "Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews" (Acts 20:19). It is hard to get some preachers to realize, "For I know nothing by myself . . ." (1 Cor. 4:4). The lack of humility causes a lot of preachers to talk down to folks, and nobody wants to be talked down to!
Paul Believed And Practiced What He Preached
Many want to question everything God has said. Not the Apostle Paul! As Paul and his company found themselves in a storm, but being assured by an angel of God that no harm would come to them, said, "Wherefore sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me" (Acts 27:25). Young preachers, middle-aged and old preachers as well need to learn to have the attitude Paul had when he said, "For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day . . ." (2 Tim. 1:12).
As a result of believing God and displaying the attitude Paul did, he practiced what he preached. There is a great demand among preachers today to practice what they preach. Paul said, "And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house" (Acts 20:20). Paul not only taught but showed men by practicing what he preached. Many preachers are long on preaching but short on practice.? We must not be as the scribes and the Pharisees "for they say, and do not" (Matt. 23:1-3). Paul wrote the Romans, "Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself: thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?" (Rom. 2:21).
Have you checked your preaching lately?
Guardian of Truth XXIII: 12, p. 366