It’s easy to find great stories, emotional manipulation, and cultural pandering in many pulpits today. It’s harder to find biblical preaching. A dear pastor friend will often exhort younger men to ask themselves this convicting question when assessing their approach to preaching: “Am I using the Bible to preach my message, or is the Bible using me to preach its message?” The bottom line is: the church needs Scripture.
The church needs bold, biblical, unashamed preaching. Though most every church will claim they “preach” and that they preach the Bible, that isn’t necessarily the case.
If there is one thing that a church must excel in prioritizing it is not a building campaign, story-telling, TED talks, pragmatic growth strategies, or more programs. It is preaching. Real, biblically-saturated, passionate, accurate, counter-cultural, Jesus-glorifying preaching. That is the ministry that every other ministry flows out of.
It is through preaching that the stewardship of the gospel — which has been entrusted to the church — is faithfully dispensed to a lost and hurting world (Romans 1:16-17).
It is through preaching that the saints are equipped for the work of service and thus build up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). It is through preaching that faith comes to the one who hears the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). It is through preaching that wayward sinners repent (Luke 15:7). It through preaching — and, preaching the whole counsel of God — that preachers themselves fulfill their call to be faithful “stewards” (Acts 20:27; 2 Timothy 4:1-5).
Catherine Marshall once wisely explained, “The faithfulness of a steward consists in his dispensing to the household exactly what has been committed to him; the faithfulness of a witness lies in his declaring with honesty and candour exactly what he knows, neither concealing part of the truth, nor distorting it, nor embellishing it.”
When such an explanation of stewardship is applied to preaching, how can we not conclude that any church and its preacher is required to preach exactly what the Bible declares if it is to be defined as “faithful?”