• The Holy Bible is God’s Holy Word

  • June 2020
    S M T W T F S
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    282930  
  • ILC Worship Services

  • Recent Posts

  • Sermon Audio

  • Post Categories

  • Podcast, Coming Soon…

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 377 other followers

  • Blog Stats

    • 42,044 hits

Preaching and Hearing the Word of God

The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?” says the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:28

Faithfulness to the Lord in preaching is a hard thing!  It is a hard thing because many will grumble.  Many will complain.  Many will grow tired and turn away from that which gives life.  The many do this because the Word of God does not “fit” them.  The Word of the Lord does not “do” for them what they think it should.  The Word of the Lord, essentially, is not to their own liking, independent of the outer dressing in which it is delivered.  It does not scratch the itchy conscience as it wants to be scratched.  It does not tell one troubled by sin that things are not that bad, that things will only get better, and that happiness is just around the corner.

The Word of the Lord preached faithfully speaks the reality of how things really are.  The Law of God does not mince words.  It does not pull back the punches.  Like the doctor who speaks the truth about one’s condition, so the Law reveals the hopelessness of our situation.  The Law says that you are a poor miserable sinner, deserving nothing but death and eternal condemnation.

Such a message does not sit well with one who wants to be his/her own savior.  Such a message does not parallel the false hope preached so often today, that all you have to do is try harder, or “give your life to Jesus.”  The Word of God contrasts the “it is not so bad” mentality of today’s church, for faithful preaching consists in addressing the condition and not only the symptoms of sinners.  Only by doing so is the true proclamation of the Gospel clearly heard and believed.

Jesus came to save real sinners, not partial sinners (Luke 5:32; 1 Timothy 1:15)! Jesus died in order to save real sinners from real condemnation and hell.  And this is just what Jesus did, not to make the world a better place, but to give eternal life.

While many go on proclaiming a false gospel of earthly hope and worldly utopia, true preachers of Christ preach the sure and certain hope of heaven.  They teach the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), for the very purpose of leading the hearers to Christ and to heaven.  They call sinners to turn from their evil ways and to believe the Good News of sins forgiven through faith in Christ Jesus.

Not all who hear this message appreciate it.  Many turn away from it.  Most reject it.  Such is the world in which we live.  But by God’s grace, there are also most certainly those who do hear, who do believe, and who do confess Jesus Christ to be Savior.  They know God’s Word when they hear it, for they are of God (John 8:47).  They hear Christ’s voice and follow Him (John 10:16, 27).  And they seek none other than the true doctrine, for in this true doctrine is true and everlasting life.  And of this doctrine they are not ashamed, for it is not their own, but God’s.  Thus do they boldly declare it, and of it are most sure!

Luther

“With Paul, therefore, we boldly and confidently pronounce a curse upon any doctrine that does not agree with ours.  We, too, seek by our preaching, not the praise of men or the favor of princes or of bishops but only the favor of God.  We preach His grace and gift alone, treading underfoot and condemning whatever is our own.  Therefore anyone who teaches something different or something contrary – we confidently declare that he was sent from the devil.” (Luther’s Lectures on Galatians, LW 26, p59).

Prayer: Gracious Father, you have given us Your holy Word that we believe it and boldly confess it.  Grant us not to be ashamed of what you say, nor to depart from it all of our days.  Forgive us our weaknesses, and bring us to firm confidence in Your doctrine and eternal life.  Amen.

Comment on an advertisement for the movie “The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry”

An advertisement for the movie, “The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry” reads, “There have already been hundreds of decisions for Christ as a direct result of watching this movie.”  This could actually be a sad commentary on the movie.  I haven’t seen the movie, but such an ad is reason for caution.

That phrase, “decision for Christ,” carries the baggage of a false theology of conversion.  It advances the belief that we ourselves can “make a decision.”  Though few might believe this, the phrase itself cannot but lead to such conclusions.

The Bible says that “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23) and that there are none righteous, “no, not one” (Romans 3:10).  The Psalmist states, “There is none who does good” (Psalm 14:1).  Isaiah writes, “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6).

Since the Fall of Adam and Eve in the garden, just as recorded in the book of Genesis, man is unable to “decide” for God or for Christ.  Since the fall, man doesn’t have the “free will” that so many dream he has.  The sinner in his inherited sinful state hates God and doesn’t “fear, love, and trust” in Him above all things.

The only remedy for such a predicament is not “making a decision,” but Christ Himself, who through His Word creates faith in the heart (Romans 10:17).

Instead of “making a decision for Christ,” rather hear His Word preached, and there you will hear God’s goodness and kindness towards you in Christ—sins forgiven.

%d bloggers like this: