Preaching it all wrong

Since I have given you the “Scriptural Challenge” which dealt with those who can speak at a gathering of believers (Church), I though it would be prudent to address other issues of the church as well.  I would like to thank Jason for the prompting.  Before I begin, I would like to review who it was that Paul said could speak on “Sunday go to meeting”.  They are people who give a word in tongues, interpreted the message of tongues, prophesy or have a special revelation.  And that was the end of the list.

For clarification, scripture makes a distinction from preaching and teaching.  Preaching at best appears to be a public proclamation of the gospel while teaching is the instructions to live by and doctrine of righteousness.

So let us look at the subject of preaching.  Scripture reveals that John the Baptist preached and so did Jesus, Paul, false teachers etc.  So there are many who can preach any kind of message.  But what about us who attend the local body, who is to do the preaching and how is it done?

How is preaching done?

By answering how it is done, will impact who is to do the preaching.  Preaching is to be done as we do it today, persuasively with well thought out sermons so that men might grasp the message of the gospel, so their faith will be anchored in solid teaching.  This may be what we have come to expect and believe, but this is not what we have as our example to follow.

Instead as men who have been entrusted with the gospel and given the Holy Spirit upon conversion, we are to preach not with wise words, but with a demonstration of God’s power.  Men are to have their faith rest not in our clever sermons but in God’s power.  Now if we fail to do this, whose fault is it but our own?

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.[1]

Who is to be responsible to preach?

Elders are those who could possible preach, for they are worthy of double honor.  In particular those who preach, but even those who do not.  So not all elders preach, but they can.

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.[2]

Timothy was instructed by Paul to preach.  Being he was now without Paul in ministry, I suppose he would be the elder of that church and Paul wanted that particular elder to preach.

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.[3]

We also have a hint those who evangelize are to preach the gospel.  For how can anyone believe what they have not heard?  Preaching (the proclamation of the gospel) is how the lost are able to hear and believe.

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?[4]

So scripturally speaking elders can preach if they want, but everyone who wants to share Christ has to.  So if you are a believe who wants to obey Christ and preach His message, then every believer is a preacher.

Where is preaching to take place?

Where is the preaching to take place?  Only is church?  Preaching is to be done not only publically but from house to house.  Paul didn’t think it beneath him to go preach in small groups that met in homes.  He also didn’t think it was a bad idea to preach on the street corner either.  Yes he preached in churches (Synagogues) too.  Anywhere he could persuade men by the power of God.

You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house.[5]

What is to be preached?

Now with the power of God behind us in our preaching, what is it we should preach?  How about preaching what Paul preached?  That seems good enough.  In fact it is so good, He said that if anyone came preaching other that what he and the other who worked with him preached, those people are to be condemned to hell.  So let’s stick with the doctrine of Paul and all that agrees with it.  Hint, this would be all of scripture.  But not all of our current doctrine and understanding of scripture.

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!  As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned![6]

What type of compensation for preaching?

Those who preach are to make their living at it, not their fortunes.

In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.[7]

When to preach?

Preaching is something that needs to take place at all times.  Anytime we wish to share Christ to the lost or give an answer for the hope in us we are to be ready to preach.  Not just Sunday morning to the already enlightened.

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.[8]

Conclusion

Remember I said Paul taught that in the local body one who gives a word in tongues, he who interpret it, he who prophesies and he who has a word of revelation can speak in the “Sunday service” (meeting of believers).  We also learned that elders can preach, but this in not meant to br taken as a Sunday morning event.  The preaching of the elder in many ways means evangelism, just as much as it means meeting house to house in small groups.  But did you notice what was not mentioned, hinted at or left to guessing?  Exactly what we have in our churches today.  A man who holds the office of the pastor is the one who has taken it upon himself to preach and this mainly to the Saints?  To the lost yes, for we are all to share Christ, but where is it said the pastor is the one who preaches to the saints, let alone every Sabbath?  Where is it said the pastor, because he is the pastor, is to speak outside of speaking in tongues, interpreting tongues, prophesying or giving a word of revelation?

And you think I am off my rocker for saying the church has left the teachings in scriptures.  Who is obeying the Lord here in His word and who is not?  Some say yes to God and do not do as His word says.  They replace what we have been instructed to do, with that we have never been instructed to do.

Yet we will justify the existence of what we do to reach the lost for Christ.  This we do by ignoring those who Paul instructs should speak at the local gathering for the Pastor to preach.  And this we say to reach the lost.  If we were serious about reaching the lost wouldn’t we do it in the power that Paul preached?

But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”[9]


[1] 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

[2] 1Timothy 5:17

[3] 1 Timothy 4:13

[4] Romans 10:14

[5] Acts 20:20

[6] Galatians 1:8-9

[7] 1 Corinthians 9:14

[8] 2 Timothy 4:2

[9] 1 Corinthians 14:24-25

I can’t do it alone, can you?

Here on the internet we would be scholars and teachers of men spend much time and effort to be the most impressive with our understanding of scripture.  We volley back and forth with our ideas of spiritual understanding and enlightenment.  We give off the impression that our walk with the Lord has brought us to a place of spiritual maturity if not perfection, for personal imperfection is taboo when we are trying to gain a following of what we advocate.

Let me be the first to say that I am not what I should be in the Lord.  I have not arrived and at times I feel like I lose ground.  I am aware that I am in a spiritual battle.  All is not quiet on the western front for me.  As Carmen says in one of his song, “My flesh and spirit had a race and Satan went full throttle.”  But with this confession how, can I become what I need to be in Christ.

I looked for it in the local church and I did not see what I was promised.  I have looked for it here on the net and saw no evidence of it here either.  Where do I go to be part of what every believer needs?

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.[1]

When I go to the local body all I see is the pastor, worship leader, Sunday school teacher and the guy who gives announcements, church administrator, sound ministry etc.  I can find all kinds of titles and positions in church except for what God has ordained for us, to benefit us in our walk with our God. Where are the prophets that speak into our lives and keep us on the path with God?  Where is the Apostles and the evangelist with their leadership and spiritual gifts to build up the body of Christ?

On line we are like players of Monopoly trying to gain as much following as possible to be that which we desire to be.  Yet where is the Spirit of the Lord?  We on line are no better off than what we are at the local level, maybe even worse. 

How does one get past what is so glaringly lacking in what God Himself has given the church, so we can become mature?  I know for me that I do not want to be full of head knowledge and yet miss what I could have been in Christ, because I never became mature in my walk.

Who else is with me in acknowledging we can’t do it ourselves.  Who will acknowledge with me we need the prophet too?  Who will admit with me we need more than just the pastor, but the apostle and evangelist too? 

Is there any hope for a people who are denied the existence of every office God has ordained for our benefit excluding the office of the pastor?  Is there any hope for a people who have been so sheep herded, that we think only one kind of bleating sheep (the pastor) is good enough for us.  Most of us can’t even recognize God not only wants, but needs us to bleat out his message in all the offices and gifts of the Spirit as He has ordained for us.  For those of who think we have arrived and are a light to men, what office of the Spirit are you, another pastor?

I need you to help me become what I desire to be in Christ.  I need your accountability, wisdom, prayers, spiritual understanding, spoken word of knowledge, timely rebuke and correction.  And somehow have this in the biblical context of what Paul preached, the testimony of the Law and the prophets.  Not something close to the real thing, but the real thing.

In the natural I feel this is hopeless, but with the Spirit I have hope.


[1] Ephesians 4:11-13

Forsake the failed fellowship

In the last two posts we have learned that there is more to the phrase “forsake not the fellowship” then a simple incrimination of those who do not attend church.  We have discovered that scriptural fellowship is when two or at times three are gathered together.  We have also learned that the Father will move heaven and earth to answer the prayers of that small fellowship.  It isn’t the purpose of scripture to place the small gathering of believers under scrutiny of the local church.  Instead we find scripture admonishing the small group to do and be what Christ has called us to be and do.  So we can quit looking down on those who fellowship in smaller circles.

We have learned it is more than a head count.  It isn’t a simple role call of attendance, there is something for every believer to be accountable to, if we are going to qualify any group as fellowshipping.  Scripture teaches that in order to qualify as fellowship, every believer is to encourage one another.  We are to encourage each other to be obedient and strengthen each other with the word of God and hope of His return.

So with the size (two or three) and the responsibilities (everyone) laid out in biblical fellowship, lets look at the purpose of this fellowship.  Scripture is looking for the end result of this fellowship.  There is something that God wants to happen in His people as a result of fellowship.  Remember this result needs to come through the encouragement of every believer in each others lives when we get together.

Right on the heals of the responsibilities of all believers we have scripture teaching we need to quit deliberately sinning.  This is the goal of what the Lord wants to do in our fellowships.  He wants us to mature in all things and in righteousness.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approachingIf we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.[1]

Why should this purpose of our fellowship be strange to us?  It shouldn’t, since we have scripture in another place letting us know that the spiritually immature are not acquainted with righteousness.  So again the goal of our fellowshipping one with another, whether in a large group of small, is holiness in the life of the believer.

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.[2]

If your fellowship with other believers is not helping you to mature and train yourself to live righteously then you are immature. If you have received the knowledge of the truth and do not train yourselves to leave deliberate sin, then you who have received the truth have no more sacrifice for sins left.  God help us all.  We all need to participate in real fellowship for our own sakes and that of those we call brothers and sisters in the Lord, no matter where we find ourselves.  We need to recognize it is all of us who have forsaken the fellowship or we will suffer for our arrogance and pride.

We can not sit back and point the finger at those who worship in very small gatherings rather than the local body.  If you in the local body are not nurturing the environment where every individual is encouraged to strengthen his brothers in the Lord, then your fellowship has failed. If you in the local body do have members encouraging members, yet it does not produce mature believers who live righteously before the Lord, then again your fellowship had failed.  If all your local body has is a role call when they assemble together, then your fellowship has failed, you are not obeying scripture that teaches us to not forsake the fellowship.  If your fellowship has failed and you want true biblical fellowship, then maybe you should leave the local body and seek out a small group of practicing believers of the word and not those who spout quotes only.


[1] Hebrews 10:25-27

[2] Hebrews 5:13-14

Forsake not the fellowship

Have I forsaken the fellowship? I have a confession.  I have not attended a local church for about seven years now.  Before this I was a youth pastor for about four years and helped in youth ministry for about another three years.  This doesn’t include my own time spent in my own youth group from the age of sixteen and my two years at Bible College.

Yet with this background I have not even the slightest desire to attend a local church.  So, have I forsake the fellowship?  Have I not kept the instruction from scripture that says we are not to forsake coming together as believers?

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,[1]

I can not tell you how many times I have had this quoted to me or something very similar to it since I have stopped going to the local church.  But the question still remains, have I violated this instruction?  Have I stopped coming together with believers, since I do not do it at a local church?

Even though I meet with my family and other believers for worship and the study of scripture, I am sure there are those who think this is insufficient to count as meeting together with other believers.

It is assumed by those that tell me to get back into fellowship with other believers, that it needs to happen within a church.  Mostly because they feel that is where the believers gather.  The more believers that gather, the more fellowship can happen, the more I keep this instruction in scripture.

But if this is true, that the larger the gathering the more the command is kept to keep the fellowship, then are not those in small churches not as obedient to keep the instruction as those in larger churches.  How about those in mega churches, are they the ones who uphold this instruction better than all of us?  If after all, the larger the gathering of believers the more fellowship can take place, right?

I know I have taken it too far.  The point to be made is, I need to get involved in a local body of believers, in the minds of many, in order to keep the instruction of not forsaking the fellowship.

But is it I who has taken it too far or is it those who preach not forsaken the fellowship who have taken it too far?  I can not find in scripture where I am instructed that the local church is the fellowship I need to seek out.  Nor is it the mega church.  I can find nothing in scripture that speaks of what I am to consider fellowship, oh except for this one.

For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”[2]

Well, well, well I guess the minimal number of keeping the instruction of not forsaking the fellowship would be two.  Whew, was I getting worried.  I guess all those who run around telling individuals like me to quit forsaking the fellowship, have not considered what Jesus has said.  It takes two and even up to three sometimes to come together for Jesus to be in their midst.

You have heard it said.

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.[3]

But we say.

“Again, I tell you that if the local church on earth agrees about anything it ask for, it will be done for it by my Father in heaven.

Apparently the Father does not consider the local body any more affective in fellowship, prayer and impacting this old world, as he does the two or three that have Christ in their midst.

How about this for a turn around?  We the groups of two or three have just as much calling and ear of the Father to change the world let alone to have our lives impacted by Christ. 

Step aside big boys and let the little guys change the world.  WE HAVE WASTED ENOUGH TIME BEING MANIPULATED BY YOU ALREADY!


[1] Hebrews 10:25a

[2] Mathew 18:20

[3] Matthew 18:19