Monday, May 28, 2007

Defining Truth in Preaching

I believe the Church today is in dire need of men to stand in the pulpit and expound the Word of God without shame, without fear, and without compromise. Too many preachers are content with leaving the truth of the Word of God undefined. Their approach to preaching is "we don't want to preach against and we don't want to preach for a particular doctrine." Instead they seek to focus on the pragmatic. But is this the model we see in the New Testament? Did the apostles simply just allow people to walk the "golden middle way" and not call people to live according to truth? I hardly think so.

Paul said that the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15). Jesus prayed to the Father "sanctify them by Thy truth, Thy word is truth" (John 17:17). He also said that we are to worship God "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). John said that he had no greater joy than to hear that his children walk in truth (3 John 4). If truth was so important to Christ and to the apostles, then why should it not be important in our preaching? Why should preachers be afraid to define what the truth is for their congregations? Are they fearful that some people will not stay? Are they afraid of offending people? Are they fearful they will be called strict and intolerant?

If people don't know what the truth is, if truth is not defined by the Word of God for them, then what will the church look like? Provers 12:17 says "He who speaks truth tells what is right. " A church without truth is like a bank without money. It is good for nothing.

How can we leave people comfortable in the pews week in and week out and not tell them what the Bible says about various doctrines? How can we preach each week in generalities and expect change? Change only comes by knowing the truth and putting it to action in our lives. And that means it won't always feel good or make one happy at the moment. But in the end it will do its purifying work in our lives and we will be more conformed into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let's focus on defining truth and not doing what many preachers do by preaching in generalities. People need to know more than God loves them. For example, they need to know the exent of that love, the value of such love, the depth of such love, and the changes that such love naturally brings. They need to know what that love requires of abandonment of oneself. But they will never know if it isn't defined for them by a thorough preaching of the Word of Truth!