Summary: The preaching of the Word of God is and must be at the center of everything a church does. It is our mission and mandate. In this message, Pastor Steve shows "Why We Preach God’s Word."
Preaching is the greatest calling of God. It is the means by which He calls sinners to Himself and the means by which He equips those He calls for service. Preaching has been downplayed in the church. In some churches it’s not only downplayed but has been replaced. Listen to how some churches view preaching. One church advertising their church wrote this: “There is no fire and brimstone here. No Bible-thumping. Just practical, witty message.” Another church in their advertisement wrote: “Services at [the church featured in the article] have an informal feeling. You won’t hear people threatened with hell or referred to as sinners. The goal is to make them feel welcome, not drive them away.” Another one wrote: “The sermons are relevant, upbeat, and best of all, short. You won’t hear a lot of preaching about sin and damnation and hell fire. Preaching here doesn’t sound like preaching. It is sophisticated, urbane, and friendly talk. It breaks all the stereotypes.”
Preaching today has been replaced with being “clever, informal, positive, brief, and friendly” (John MacArthur, Ashamed of the Gospel, 47). The reason why preaching is being downplayed in so many churches is “to make it more appealing to unbelievers” (MacArthur, 45). “The experts are now telling us that pastors and church leaders who want to be successful must concentrate their energies in this new direction. Provide non-Christians with an agreeable, inoffensive environment. Give them freedom, tolerance, and anonymity. Always be positive and benevolent. If you must have a sermon, keep it brief and amusing. Don’t be preachy or authoritative. Above all, keep everyone entertained. Churches following this pattern will see numerical growth, we’re assured; those that ignore it are doomed to decline” (MacArthur, 45). This kind of thinking is at the heart of “the market-driven, user-friendly church.” It’s goal is to give people what they want. George Barna says, “This is what marketing the church is all about: providing our product (relationships) as a solution to people’s felt need” (Marketing the Church, 51). The problem with this kind of thinking is “‘felt needs’...determine the road map for the modern church marketing plan” (MacArthur, 49) instead of the Bible.
“The Bible, not a marketing plan, is supposed to be the sole blueprint and final authority for all church ministry. Ministry should meet people’s real needs, not salve their selfishness. And the Lord of the church is Christ, not some couch potato with the remote control in his hand” (MacArthur, 51). “The real problem—the root of all such troubles—is human depravity, an issue that is carefully skirted (though seldom overtly denied) in the teaching of the typical user-friendly church. No longer are pastors trained to declare to people what God demands of them. Instead, they are counseled to find out what the people’s demands are, then do whatever is necessary to meet them...The effects of such a philosophy is apparent; more and more people-pleasers fill the pulpits of our churches. Moreover, Scripture is overruled by the marketing plan as the authoritative guide for ministry” (MacArthur, 49).