Summary: Preaching is God's method to proclaim and persuade men to Christ.
Jeremiah 1:4-8 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. 6Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. 7But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. 8Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.
John 1:6-8 6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
John 1:15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
John 1: 23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
A young preacher went to Dr. David Swing that great prophetic preacher of Chicago in the 18th century. Swing was said to be even greater than Dwight L. Moody in his preaching. His church was equally greater than the work that Moody begun. That great Presbyterian Cathedral drew thousands to hear Swing Sunday after Sunday. This young preacher came to Dr. Swing and asked him, Dr. Swing, what he could do to get his congregation more consistent in worship and passionate about God? He said, “I am trying everything, I am using history in my sermons in hopes that it resonates with my history buffs in the church. I am using some English literature in my message for those who find that work so inspiring, I have even recited some of the works of the great Poets; I have even taken a risk and infused some aspects of politics in my message. But nothing that I seem to do is getting them passionate about God, nor does it compel them to be consistent in worship. And neither does it create the warmth in worship that I believe we desperately need. So what do you think I can do, that might be helpful?”
Dr. Swing responded in his calm but direct voice, and said: “Maybe you should try preaching the gospel now, and see how that works!!!”
In every era, in every dispensation, in both of the written covenants (the new and the old), there is this theological or biblical mandate that comes from God. There is no substitute for the Gospel. And that is, the Preacher Prophet has been dispatched to the people of God with a key assignment, with a crucial message, with a divine mandate to proclaim the gospel. And I know we draw biblical lines on where the gospel actually begins, and we tend to locate or confine the gospel in the New Testament (which I understand). But when you define the gospel as it is defined in the Greek, it’s the Euangelion (the good news). So the Preacher Prophet is the herald, the one who proclaims the good news as an announcement to others on behalf of some one else. And even if the Prophet proclaimed doom, it also has the news of Deliverance. If he had a word of judgment, there would be the news of justice enroute to them.
Walter Bruggeman calls preaching God’s invention for mankind’s intervention. Preaching was a God idea, designed to speak into the lives of all creatures in hopes that they will be saved. Preaching is the Creator’s invention as a plan of intervention to get man to ultimately be with God in the eternal status of glory.
That is why the gospel in its broadest definition has some relationship and relevance even in the old dispensation. The Prophets of the old covenant brought the good news
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. That’s Good news!!
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. That’s Good news!!
Genesis 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. That’s Good news!!
Isaiah 6:9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.