“And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.” — Acts 20:25-27
Preaching. The word along with its verb “preach” are two of the most important in the New Testament, spoken of over 60 times—and as the Apostle Paul reminds us, it should always include “the whole counsel of God.” It literally means to verbally proclaim or to herald a message—a divine message. John the Baptist was a preacher (Matthew 3:1) as was Jesus (Matthew 4:17), and so were His disciples (Matthew 10:7). The message was similar throughout the New Testament and always about “the gospel (good news) of the kingdom has come.”
I suppose the most prolific herald of all besides the Lord Jesus, was the Apostle Paul, as he proclaimed the gospel, not only personally, but throughout the 14 books (including Hebrews), that he authored to the churches.
As a pastor, I will never forget the first message I ever preached that proved a truth to me. My subject was forgiveness that day and in my nervousness I read most of it verbatim. After the sermon a few people, as they left the sanctuary, said the obligatory, “Thank you or nice sermon, Pastor,” but I felt I missed the mark that day as most passed by and said nothing. “Did I touch any hearts?”
However, two weeks later a lady walked up to me after a service and thanked me for the subject I had preached on that day. She said it prompted her to call a former friend of hers and ask for forgiveness for a relationship that had broken up 25 years before. They had not spoken since. She said the first response from her former friend as she made a telephone call to her last known number, was one of tears thankfulness and forgiveness. Reconciliation was achieved that day in both of their hearts!
So what did I learn that has stayed with me all my life that day?
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
God’s Word has a life all of it’s own ad infinitum, to the speaker and to the hearer, and the Apostle Paul proclaimed their importance in these famous verses in his letter to the church at Rome:
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” — Romans 10:14-15
So dear saints, be God’s “preacher” to our fallen world and watch what His living word will do to help change a fallen culture. You don’t have to have a pulpit—anywhere in the world can be your pulpit. Just be who you are as you follow God’s word below of instruction:
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:2-3). — Maranatha!
“God is good all the time. All the time God is good!”