A young man with a terrible stuttering problem determined to visit a renowned speech therapist in his city. The therapist had a very unconventional method (for modern times) of treating such problems. He had this young man talk with his mouth filled with marbles. Every week he would allow him to take one out. Amazingly, his speech began to improve. Finally, after he had lost all his marbles, he became a preacher.
(1001 Humorous Illustrations for Preaching)
Preaching has become disdained in our culture and our society for a few reasons:
- Because of the lack of authority of Scripture.
- Because of a lack of the fear of God.
- Because there is an increasing desire for entertainment in our churches. This has grown over the years, but it has not really been a foreign aspect historically through the Christian Church.
“If our church members fall into the habit of frequenting the theatre, we shall soon have them going much further in the direction of vice, and they will lose all relish for the ways of God. If theatre-going became general among professing Christians, it would be the death of piety. Yet one finds the taste for such things increasing on every hand.”
— Charles Spurgeon
There is a great evil that pervades in our society and it has even the best-intended churches and Christians in such bondage that entire theologies have been built around defending the acceptance of this wickedness, that is entertainment. Specifically, we are referring to that entertainment which is pornographic, God-hating, and blaspheming to our God and faith. Some of the greatest “theological minds” (this is in quotes because this is what they say of themselves) of our time defend the Christian’s right to indulge in worldly and fleshly entertainment. This subtle form of depravity has become nothing more than a way for professing Christians to appease their wicked hearts and fulfill their need for the gratification of sensual desires while alleviating the conscience of the burden of temporal consequences. In other words, it has become acceptable for Christians to indulge in sick and twisted morally-debauched television simply because they are not partaking in it themselves.
An author posted an article named “The Heresy of Worshiptainment,” and it portrayed some very relevant thoughts.
“[I]t grieves me when I see worship services characterized more by props, performances, and pep rally atmospheres than by any sense of divine sacredness; and hallowedness giving way to shallowness.
This is not about worship styles. The issue is not traditional versus contemporary versus blended worship. It’s not about organ versus worship band. That discussion misses the point completely. This is about the heart and focus and intent of worship.
The message of the church—the message the world needs to hear from us—is not, ‘Come and have a good time,’ ‘Come and be entertained,’ or ‘Come and find your best life now.’ The message of the church is the message of the cross.
The American church has become inundated with this concept that we must entertain the world. We must present God in a “cool, awesome, hipster” format. This is not what any of the Biblical preaching in the Old or New Testament did. There is a church in Florida that had a “mock” Justin Bieber concert. The pastor had the audacity to get up and for 20 minutes justify why they needed the world in the church. He even said that the word secular can’t be found in the Bible. No, the word secular is not in the Bible, but by simply looking in a thesaurus, we find many other words that are similar which are in the Bible.
Similar words to secular are:
Synonyms: materialistic, worldly, material, profane, temporal, earthly, nonreligious, of this world, and unsacred.
1. of or relating to worldly things
2. things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred; temporal: secular interests.
not pertaining to or connected with religion (opposed to sacred): secular music
Biblically, the Bible is clear about a Christian, the Church, and the world. Consider the following verses. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” (Matthew 7:13).
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11).
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15-17).
For those that want the world in their services, stop making excuses and just admit that you have a disdain for the Old Book, the Bible and that you love the world. It could be that as the Bible predicts that we are living in the last days and folks don’t seem too interested in the Word of God and “thus sayeth the Lord” preaching. This does not give us a reason to change God’s message. It is God’s church and we must be faithful to declare the message that God desires His church to proclaim. Why? Because the church is the pillar and ground of truth. Christ defined truth for us in John 17:17 when Christ declared “Thy Word is truth.”
In the text which we are considering in I Corinthians 1 and 2, we find that we are given some clear guidelines for Biblical preaching. We are given what a pastor is to preach and how he is to preach.
So, let’s consider what we should preach.
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness” (I Corinthians 1:18).
“But we preach Christ crucified” (I Corinthians 1:23).
“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2).
You will notice in this text, the Bible is clear about what is supposed to be preached. It is CHRIST and CHRIST CRUCIFIED!
The strongest argument for the gospel of Christ is the personal testimony of someone whose life has been changed by it. Charles Bradlaugh, an avowed infidel once challenged the Reverend H. P. Hughes to a debate. The preacher, who was head of a rescue mission in London, England, accepted the challenge with the condition that he could bring with him 100 men and women who would tell what had happened in their lives since trusting in the Crucified Savior. Hughes said they would not only tell of their conversions, but would submit to cross-examination by any who doubted their stories. The minister invited his opponent to bring a group of non-believers who could tell how they were helped by their lack of faith. When the appointed day arrived, the preacher came accompanied by 100 transformed persons, but Bradlaugh never showed up. The result? The meeting turned into a testimony time and many sinners who had gathered to hear the debate were converted.
I had Pastor Caleb Bottrell send me a note after preaching this message and took the cross which we are to preach, and he made an acrostic showing what the message of the cross includes.
C – Christ
R – Righteousness
O – Obedience
S – Sin
S – Savior
All of this and more is revealed to us in the cross of Christ. We find only CHRIST was RIGHTEOUS and He showed us that through OBEDIENCE to a Holy God we can have our SIN taken care of and we can find the SAVIOR. Amen! for the Cross of Christ.
What does preaching the Gospel, the Cross, and Christ Crucified involve? This covers a lot of material. Preaching the cross means showing the depravity of man – man is a sinner and the cross of Christ was necessary because man on his own could not atone for his sin. Preaching the cross means showing the holiness of God – sin needed a payment. The holiness of God demands that sin be paid. Our salvation was not free; it cost Christ his life. He sacrificed his life because God’s holiness demands a consequence for sin. Preaching the cross means showing the love of God—sin’s demand was met. Christ sacrificed His life so that we could have redemption. Remember the song, “Redeemed How I Love to Proclaim It.” Oh, how precious the blood of Christ! It has set the captive sinner free.
Secondly, this text reveals to us how a preacher should preach. This is found in
I Corinthians 2.
“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 I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (I Corinthians 2:1-5).
1. Not for Entertainment
2. Not for Praise of Man
Charles Spurgeon Once Said…
We have plenty of people nowadays who could not kill a mouse without publishing it in the Gospel Gazette. Samson killed a lion and said nothing about it: The Holy Spirit finds modesty so rare that He takes care to record it. Say much of what the Lord has done for you, but say little of what you have done for the Lord. Do not utter a self-glorifying sentence!
The Apostle Paul Once Said…
J. Oswald Sanders once noted that the “humility of the leader, as his spirituality, will be an ever-increasing quality.” He points out the progression we see over time with the Apostle Paul in regard to his self-assessment
- I am the least of the apostles – I Corinthians 15:9
- [I am] the least of all saints – Ephesians 3:8
- [I am] the chief of sinners – I Timothy 1:15
3. But In the Spirit’s Power
Quotes from D. Martyn Lloyd Jones on the Preacher and Preaching.
We need to be careful of caring about everything but that which is the most important in God’s eyes. Consider the problem that the new churches in Acts faced. They were faced with dilemmas that were pretty big and the leadership had to make some decisions! What were the conclusions? Look at Acts 6. The church decided that the pastors needed to stay focused on praying and reading of the Word of God so that preaching could be Biblical. They chose some other folks to help out with the ministries. Biblical preaching needs to be a priority in our church. Pray that this stays true for us.
Our Preacher Is Just Too Hard
Our preacher is just too hard when he preaches.
We must laugh, be hugged, entertained; isn’t that what the Bible teaches?
Lighten up, preacher, take it easy, cut some corners, they say.
But God’s man knows such things won’t cut it on judgment day.
The pastor should ease up on doctrine, and try to just get
That way all the brethren together could sing the same old song.
He makes too much of outdated and costly separation.
But God’s man knows he must pass the faith to the next generation.
Preach only the positive, just “Bless ’em,” and be a man
But God’s man knows, in the long run, that will only bring souls down.
Get the people, no matter the cost, nickels and noses is the
But with the prophets, the apostles, and Jesus, it wasn’t the same.
And why, oh why, must he always defend that old black Book?
He always says in the Authorized only we should look.
It seems to us that other versions do just as well.
But God’s man knows that twisted Scripture surely leads to hell.
Brimstone, Bible education, loud preaching, it’s all a lot
But God’s man knows, folks fall away if their cage he doesn’t rattle.
Make it smooth, leave out parts of the Bible, those things that scatter.
But God’s man knows, it’s all God’s Word and that ought to matter.
And does it really count how the members live and dress?
But God’s man knows that’s why the country is in such a mess.
Oh dearly beloved, let us faithfully the old paths trod.
We’ll be very glad we did when, at the end, we face God.
~Pastor Clayton Doss
Pastor of the Bible Baptist Church in Crookston, Minnesota (1976-present)