By Don Givens
There is no more wonderful service than to impart saving truth, Lost sinners must know the truth and the truth can make them free. Our Savior commanded, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel” so that creatures could hear, believe, respond in repentance and baptism and be saved (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15,16).
It is clearly seen then, that the preaching of the word “publicly and from house to house” is of utmost importance (Acts 20:20). Every disciple of the Lord is to spread the glad tidings of salvation. Who is not thrilled to share such tremendous news? The gospel is “glad tidings” (Luke 2:10,11). As the angel said, it is truly “good tidings of great joy.”
The disciples who were driven out of Jerusalem waited for no instructions, no organized personal work program, or human clergy “ordinations,” but “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). We desperately need the attitude of Paul when he proclaimed, “Woe is me, if I preach not the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16).
As one preaches and teaches the word, he must have a life consistent with the content of the gospel he proclaims. In other words, do not ruin what you say by how you live! Zealous, righteous, and blameless character must fortify the oral lessons of the teacher.
The evangelist Paul told the younger evangelist Timothy to “preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2). It is the Word that is to be preached, not your opinions, not your surmissings, and not “the ways that seem right unto men” (Prov. 14:12). Carefully note that the apostle commands us to be longsuffering. Too many teachers are short-sufferers.
Preach the sufficiency and inspiration ‘ of the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16,17). Cater not to the worldly wisdom of the crafty fools (1 Cor. 3:18-21).
With the rock of Truth hurled from the sling of faith, you can smite unbelief as it parades in modern society under the guise of “sophistication.” Swallow not the bait of the devil which says that only the ignoramus believes the Bible and only the weak-minded need the faith. Show the people that the nice, pretty baits of pleasure, power, and profit only hide the hooks of damnation, destruction, and doom.
Preach repentance from sin, rather than making apologies for it. Firmly declare, with love for souls, that the sinner must repent or perish in hell (2 Pet. 3:9; Rev. 21:8). Remember that men laugh at sin instead of turning from it. They toy with it instead of hating it. Although men may joke about hell, there will be no joking in hell. Teach men to hate sin as much as they hate the hell to which it leads. Even though some have eliminated hell from their doctrinal belief, it has not been eliminated from God’s Word.
Rebuke sin wherever and in whomever it is found, and start with yourself . Be courageous enough to identify sin as wickedness in all of its filthiness and putridness, even though it be found in your best friend as well as your worst enemy. In all these rebukes remember that “the Lord’s servant must not strive, but be gentle towards all, apt to teach, forbearing, in meekness correcting them that oppose themselves” (2 Tim. 2:24,25) and “in all things showing thyself an ensample of good works” (Tit. 2:7).
Be just as broad as the Scriptures. Be just as narrow as the Scriptures. Study the sermons of Peter, Paul, Stephen, but especially those of Jesus. Think not that you can have “better manners” than the apostles. Denounce riotous living; expose the grimy hog pens of sin; and as you do so offer the amazing grace of the Heavenly Father to the returning prodigal.
As you preach the Word remember that your greatest wage and your best pay is the approval of the Lord and the glory brought to God. No wage is so satisfying as the peace and joy you will have knowing that you are laboring together with God (1 Cor. 15:58).
Do not expect overwhelming gratitude from people you serve. Truly, you are serving the Lord. About ninety percent of the good you do in this life, you will not know about in this life! Therefore, do not teach the saving truth just when you can see “visible results.” Much good that you do will not be “visible” to you. Remember that the prophets of God have always been on the receiving end of more “mud” than “medals,” and more bricks than bouquets.
When humiliated by a seeming failure, the Lord will halve your burden by helping you bear your disappointment. When you are elated with success, God will double your joy by sharing it.
As many faithful preachers and teachers of the precious Word have said before: “Preach sin horrible, death inevitable, judgment certain, hell hot, eternity never ending, and heaven beautiful.”
Preach the saving truth! Spread the good news! Go, and may God be with thee.
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 8, p. 230
April 19, 1984