By Joe R. Price
Whenever I begin to think, “I have already preached that,” or “what can I say that has not already been said,” I remember a familiar song we sing. “I love to tell the story, For those who know it best. Seem hungering and thirsting To hear it like the rest.” And another song often rings in my ear, “Tell me the story of Jesus, Write on my heart every word; Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that every was heard.” I remember that the story of Jesus is timeless and timely. The gospel never grows irrelevant (Heb. 4:12). All of it is needed by us all, and those who know the story the best will never grow tired of hearing it. We need to know and live every part of that grand old story of the cross of Jesus and the love of God. We need to drink deeply from the well of truth which springs forth from God’s inspired Scriptures.
Gospel preachers must never become apprehensive of preaching what needs to be preached – regardless of how often they have already preached it. The apostle Paul set the example when he said, “To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not irksome (grievous, KVJ), but for you it is safe” (Phil. 3:1). Peter knew the benefit of repeating truth which was already known: “Wherefore I shall be ready always to put you in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and are established in the truth which is with you” (2 Pet. 1:12). The constant warnings and reminders of the gospel protect us from sin and exhort us to new heights of faithfulness (Col. 1:9-11).
Truth is not new. Truly, “If it is the truth, it is not new, and if it is new, it is not the truth.” Preachers need to be careful not to grow weary of preaching the simple gospel message of salvation in Christ! We should not look for “some new thing” to proclaim (Acts 17:21). By this exhortation we do not mean to dismiss personal study and growth in Bible knowledge. Rather, we intend to warn against preaching any message which has more to do with human wisdom than the divine will (1 Cor. 1:2125; 2:1-5). My fellow preacher, leave the financial seminars to the economic advisers, the pep rallys to the high school football team, and the psychological counseling sessions to the trained professionals. Our divine edict is to “preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:2). The message we proclaim must be anchored in divine truth. We must appeal to mankind to submit to God’s will by obeying the gospel of Christ. We must preach the gospel – the wisdom of God! Our eternal salvation and that of our audience depends upon proclaiming and obeying the gospel (1 Tim. 4:16; 1 Cor. 9:24-27). And, it ought to go without saying that every Christian should demand gospel preaching from preachers (2 Tim. 4:3-5)!
However, just as some preachers have become tired of preaching the “old, old story,” some brethren also tire of hearing it. Has the story of God’s love, mercy and grace become boring to you? Is the grand old story of Jesus and the truth he has revealed for us “outdated” in your way of thinking? Well, whenever we start longing to hear something new (different) we had better be careful – our ears are starting to itch (2 Tim. 4:3-4)! Whenever we start to complain about hearing God’s truth – on any subject – we are dangerously close to compromise with sin and error. We do not advocate “hobby riding,” but we must always advocate the defense of truth (Jude 3). You see, some today express the notion that they are tired of hearing about such things as marriage, divorce and remarriage, fellowship, the work and organization of the church, Bible patterns, etc. Likewise, I suspect that some brethren in years past also grew weary of hearing such topics as instrumental music in worship, central oversight of churches versus congregational autonomy, etc. Even further back into history, we may rightfully suggest that some brethren tired of hearing about justification by faith in Christ and not the Law of Moses (Gal. 2:16-21; 5:14), immorality (1 Cor. 6:12-20), and the deity of Christ (1 Jn. 2:18-23; 4:1-3). Did such attitudes of weariness cause the apostles of Christ to “back off” or “tone down” their defense and proclamation of the truth? God forbid (Gal. 2:5; Phil. 1; 16; 2 Tim. 4:2; Jude 3)! How then, can we have any less love for hearing, obeying and defending the truth today? If we do not maintain a constant love for the truth, we will inevitably believe a lie and perish in sin (2 Thess. 2:10-12). Our spiritual perception must be revitalized and restored through vigilant Bible study and obedience to all of God’s revealed will (2 Tim. 2:15; Col. 2:6-7; Heb. 5:8-9).
Remember, truth never grows tiresome to truth-lovers. How about you?
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 17, p. 527
September 3, 1992