Summary: Is preaching foolishness? Believe it or not, that’s what the Bible says. The preaching event seems like foolishness to people. But despite how it might appear, it’s the way that God has ordained to equip His church.
As you know, this past week I went to a pastors’ conference called Basics 2009. Somebody saw the announcement up on the slides last week and jokingly said, “Don’t you think you’ve got the basics down already?” I don’t remember how I answered him, but I should have said, no. No, I don’t have the basics down yet. And until the day the Lord calls me on to glory, I never will. You see, we get into the most trouble when we think we’ve got it down. That’s when pride begins to rear its ugly head. 1 Corinthians 10:12 says, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” In other words, don’t get all puffed up thinking about how tall you’re standing. Because if you do, you’re going to fall down. The very minute we think we’ve got this Christian life all figured out is when we’re going to crash hard. Because we don’t have it all figured out. That’s why we keep reading the Bible over and over again. That’s why we keep praying over and over again. That’s why we come here and listen to me drone on and on from behind this pulpit week after week. We don’t have it down. We don’t even have the basics down. Because the basics are so wonderfully awesome that we can never have them down. The basics of the Gospel are never fully fathomable. God’s grace is incomprehensible. But at the same time that it is incomprehensible, Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:18-19 asks that we, “May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” The basics. The incomprehensible, unfathomable basics of the Gospel is what we must be constantly, continually working to comprehend.
See, the wonderful thing about the conference for me was that it reinforced to me why I am here. It reinforced to me what I am supposed to be doing here. It reinforced to me about what preaching is and why it’s so vitally important. And as I listened and as I thought about it, I realized that I need to reinforce that to you as well. For lack of anything better, I titled the message, “What Are We Doing Here?” I think it’s important for us to ask that question every now and again, don’t you? What are we doing here at Brushfork Baptist Church? Why do we exist? Why has God called us to gather here week after week? What are we supposed to be doing when we get here? I’m sure that you can come up with a number of answers to those questions. And hopefully you know what our mission is. Hopefully you know that our mission is the Great Commission, since we talk about it almost every week as we’ve been going through Nehemiah. But think about that for a minute. If our mission is the Great Commission, where do we do it? How does the Great Commission start in Matthew 28:19? Jesus said, “Go.” Literally, “as you are going.” So if our mission is the Great Commission and we do the Great Commission as we are going… why are we here? Why do we gather together in this place week after week? We find the answer to that question in Romans 10:13-15: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Now, even though this passage uses the word “preacher”, it is talking about all of us. We are all called to carry the Gospel to the world. That’s how God saves people. He saves people through the power of His Word being proclaimed to them. How will people be saved unless they hear the Gospel? And how will they hear the Gospel unless somebody tells them the Gospel. And here’s the key to what we’re talking about. How will people be equipped to proclaim the Gospel unless they are sent. That’s what we’re doing here. We’re sending people to proclaim the Gospel to a lost and dying world. We come together as the church gathered in order to be equipped to be sent. Then we leave as the church scattered—equipped to do our mission. That’s how we’ll see people saved. That’s how we’ll see the baptismal waters stirred every week. That’s how we’ll see this place filled to overflowing. That’s how we’ll see our area changed. That’s how we’ll see the revival that we pray for. Where does it start? In here. How does it start in here? By being equipped. How does the equipping happen? When we gather together under the Holy Spirit anointed preaching and teaching of God’s Word. In verse 12 of our passage, Paul says something to make sure that he’s not misunderstood for what he’s saying. He says, “we commend not ourselves again to you.” In other words, “I’m not defending myself or bragging on myself and what I do here.” This isn’t about me. Then he says, “but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance and not in heart.” Please don’t misunderstand this message tonight. It’s not about defending or justifying or selling what I do up here. It’s about reminding us all about why it’s important. Not just why it’s important, but why it’s critical. Why we can’t do it any other way. There are plenty of ways to grow a crowd. But there is only one God-ordained way to grow a church. And that is with preaching. Tonight we’re going to look at three aspects of preaching that we had better have if we’re going to grow this church the way God calls us to. The first aspect is the message of preaching.