Summary: When we preach the Word of God we can expect opposition. Jesus tells us what we must to be remain faithful during these times.
THE PREACHER’S PERIL
CPT- Jesus has warned the disciples in advance about the persecution that will come upon them because of their preaching about Him so they will not stumble (stop faithfully preaching) when it happens.
CPS- We are to proclaim faithfully God’s Word despite opposition and persecution.
What would you do in this situation? You have been the pastor of this church for eight months. Things have been going great. You are still on the honeymoon. The Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is coming up in a couple of weeks. In the other churches you have pastored, it has been your practice to preach a sermon on the sanctity of human life on this Sunday.
The man who was chairman of the pastor search committee that called you eight months earlier tells you Sunday he needs to come by and talk with you next week. He comes in and says, “There is something I need to tell you. I know from our conversations with you during the search committee process, it is your practice to preach a pro-life sermon on the Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. But, I don’t think you should this year. You see, the deacon chairman’s daughter had an abortion last year before you came. You know he is one of the most influential men in the church and one of the major contributors. Although not everyone in the church knows she had the abortion, much of the leadership knows. I think if you preach a pro-life sermon, they will be deeply offended and many of the leaders in the church will take up the offense. So for the sake of peace in the church, I do not think you should preach a pro-life sermon this year.”
What would you do in that situation? Would you preach it or not? That brings us to the message of our text in John 15:26-16:4, THE PREACHER’S PERIL.
Jesus is giving His farewell address to His disciples on the Thursday night before His crucifixion on Friday. This occurs after the Last Supper on their way to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus is talking to them about three relationships. First, their relationship to Him, which He says, is like the relationship between the vine and the branches. Next, He talks to them about their relationship to each other, which is to be one of love and unity. Last, He tells them of their relationship to the world; the world will hate them. It is in the context of their relationship with the world that Jesus warns the disciples in advance about the persecution that will come because of their preaching about Him. He warns them in advance so they will not stumble when it comes. (CPT) He tells them about three things; their proclamation, their persecution, and their preparation. Let’s read our text starting with verse 26.
This warning was not only true for His disciples but it is also true for all faithful preachers of God’s Word. Jesus was not only speaking to His original disciples in this passage but He is also speaking to you and me. Therefore, the purpose of this message is to encourage us to faithfully proclaim the Word of God despite the opposition we will encounter.
First, we see their proclamation, (26-27). These disciples had a message to proclaim. Jesus tells them the key to their preaching will be the Holy Spirit (26). The Holy Spirit will testify to them about Jesus. He will reveal to them truth about Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, ascension, and His coming again. As the Helper He will also empower them in their preaching (Acts 1:8).
“but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
The message they were to preach was Jesus and His kingdom. They were to preach the gospel and the ethics of the kingdom that Jesus had taught. In the early church, this became known as the kergyma and the didache.
We preachers today also have a message to proclaim. The key to our preaching is the Holy Spirit as well. He will illuminate the Scriptures to us and show us God’s particular message for our congregation. The Holy Spirit will empower the message as He ministers the life of Christ through the Word. The message we proclaim is the whole counsel of God—the Bible. We are to systematically expound the Word of God in the power of God to the glory of God. We are not free men when we enter the pulpit. We are bound by the apostolic admonition given by Paul to Timothy, “Preach the word.”