For the word of God is living 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. – Heb 4:12
Whether the hearer believes it or not, the word of God is living… active… sharp… and penetrating.. This verse is equally true in religious or atheistic cultures, modern or post-modern cultures.
I fear that many preachers today have forgotten the power of simply preaching the word of God. Many have forgotten that the word of God brings conviction and change.
This blog is not about bashing modern preaching styles. It is about the power of preaching the word. I agree that there are many communication styles that are valid in the “pulpit”. (Whether or not there is an actual pulpit used – I prefer a music stand.) But, it is disturbingly common to hear pastors/preachers today who, in their desire to be clear, cool and clever to their “post-modern” audience, have traded substance for style.
Many have learned new communication methods, but have forgotten the message. They have stage presence, but no power – elaborate props, but little passion – video clips, but no vision – humor but no humility.
No, you don’t have to sweat, point your finger, pound your fist, wear a cheap suit or speak with a pentecostal accent – but you do have to preach the word of God – that is if you want God to be honored and people to be convicted and changed. But maybe that’s not the point any more.
The apostles gave their attention to prayer and the ministry of the word, (Acts 6:4) even though many of the cultures they ministered in did not necessarily accept the word as final, relevant or authoritative. That didn’t matter to those stubborn apostles. They preached the word anyway, unlike many modern preachers who seem to hide or downplay the word just because contemporary culture rejects and mocks it.
Consider what happened as the apostles preached the word in the pagan city of Ephesus:
Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds.
A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly…
In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power. – Acts 19:18-20
Notice the results:
– open confession of sin
– public repentance
What happened when the word was preached in the religious city of Jerusalem?
So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. – Acts 6:7
Pretty good results that I think could still happen in today’s pagan or religious communities, if preachers will faithfully preach the word of God, no matter what style they choose.
More blogs on preaching later.