Summary: Good preaching brings one of two results.
Saved or Mad?
1 And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the
Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks
2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected
against the brethren.
3 Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto
the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
4 But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the
We live in an age where we judge our success and failure in Christ’s service by the size of our church and how many people we win to Christ. This tends to drive us to trying to find any way we can to win people to Christ, even if it means watering down the Word.
Yes, we need to use different lures to attract different fish, but unless these lures are Biblical we will not truly catch the fish. We may pull them out of the water, but we leave them unprepared and they will only die and great will be the stink thereof.
Success is found in faithfulness not in numbers. Success is found in obedience not in numbers. Success is found in the right teaching of the Word and not in buildings. Success is following Christ and not in fresh innovations or versions. If He is the same, today, yesterday, and forever so is the truth that leads to Him. That truth will not be popular if it is given straightforward without candy coatings or cultural slants for appeal.
All you need to do is check Acts for confirmation of what I have just said. All through the book, they gave the same message. Yes, they would take the people where they were and use illustrations and even some quotes from their culture to set up the message, but the message never changed. There is a God. Man is a sinner. Man deserves Hell. God loved man. God sent His son, Jesus. Jesus was God in the flesh. Man killed Jesus. God raised Him from the dead. He ascended. Repent and live. Reject and suffer eternal judgment.
Eleven short statements tell it all. At various places, different points of these sentences were expounded upon depending on the understanding of the hearer, but none of them were ever changed to make them more appealing to the hearer. As the message was consistent, so also was the response. As in the passages above folks believed, rejoiced, and were saved or folks rejected and got angry. What were the consistent results for the apostles? They were accepted and loved or jailed, stoned or banished.
John Wesley would ask his preacher boys two questions when they returned from a preaching engagement. Was any one saved? If they answered no, he asked if anyone got mad. If they said no to this, he told them that they were not called to preach because faithful preaching of the Word will either result in people being saved or getting mad.
How is your ministry? Do people not believe but like you anyway? Then something is wrong. Your preaching is not in accordance to the Word’s testimony of preachers doing it the right way? Do you preach and no one is saved, but they do get mad? If you are not being obnoxious personally then keep preaching. One day, you will see the salvation of souls. Your church may not be ever become large but you will have been faithful to the One who called you and you are a success in His eyes though your peers mock you. Since He is giving out the final rewards, I prefer His perception of success to that of my peers or the World. Preach the Word!