Preachers of The Gospel
By Dr. Tom Walker
2 Corinthians 4:5 says, “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”
Being a preacher of the Gospel is not a mere vocation or a job opportunity, it is a calling from Almighty God. In 1 Timothy 1:12 the Apostle Paul said, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry. According to what the Apostle Paul says in that verse, the ministry was not just something he chose, rather it was a calling from the Lord Jesus Christ.” Being called, God counts on His servants to be faithful in preaching the Word, loving the people, while guarding and feeding the flock of God (the local church over which the Lord has assigned Him).
It has been my privilege to preach the Gospel of Christ now for some fifty-one and one-half years. Having experienced a call from God, I will keep on going on in the ministry even when negative experiences are encountered. I have been a pastor in three different Baptist churches over those fifty-one and one-half years, but the good experiences have always dominated over the bad ones.
Preaching is a tremendous responsibility that no man should consider lightly. Many men who are in the ministry have been called by the Lord and some were not beckoned by the Lord to preach. Some take on the ministry on their own without God putting them into the ministry.
Preach with A Born-Again Experience
If a man is to tell others how to be born again, he needs to have a born-again experience for himself (John 3:3). I know of an incident years ago when a pulpit committee was considering calling a certain man to be their pastor. He told this Baptist church search committee something like this: “I do not believe in being born again just like you do, but I have been trained in one of the best seminaries, and if you call me I will make you a good pastor.” The tragedy is that some on the committee wanted to present him to the church for them to vote on him as their shepherd. What ignorance on the part of some!
Preach with A Sense of Responsibility
Romans 14:12 says, “So then every one of us shall give an account of himself to God.” One day we will answer to God for our ministry.” Were we faithful to preach the whole counsel of God without the fear and favor of men? The pastor is accountable to the church, but his greatest accountability is with Almighty God Himself.
If we say we are “accountable” before God, that means we are liable to account for our actions and our attitudes to Him. That should motivate us to do our best for the Master. One day when life is over when the last page of our lives is written, we will stand before the Lord in Heaven.
It is not only what we have done that will come into play on that day, but also the attitudes we had. Did we do what we did in life for the glory of God or did we do it to just further some agenda we had in mind? Did we help someone to advance ourselves or to help them along the way? Not only are our actions important in our accountability to God but our attitudes as well.
Preach with a Clean Life
Isaiah 52:11, “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.” Note the words, “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.”
God’s ministers should be physically clean and maintain the right attire and appearance before others, however, there is more in Isaiah 52:11 than that fact. We are to keep ourselves right spiritually.
What you do in private others may not see, still, God sees everything. Nothing is hidden from His gaze. Hebrews 4:13 tells us, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” We might hide wrong thoughts and deeds to others. In contrast, we cannot hide anything from our all-knowing and all-seeing God.
If God’s servants do not keep themselves clean, they will forfeit God’s power and the fullest of God’s blessings, because the Holy Ghost is grieved in their lives (Eph.4:30). God will not pour the richest of His blessings and the fullness of power into a life that is plagued by personal sins.
If a preacher does not have a clean life it will hinder his effectiveness for Christ.
Preach with Divine Power
Zechariah 4:6 says, ” Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” The way we accomplish things for time and eternity in the work of the Lord is to have the power of Christ upon our lives.
Acts 6:8 declares, “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.” How did Stephen accomplish great wonders and miracles among the people? He did it through faith in God and through the power of God.
In speaking of God’s power, we make reference to His enabling us to be effective in our work for Him. Why preach and not be effective in doing so? We should greatly desire good results from our labor. That is impossible without the power of God moving and carrying us along in God’s work.
In 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 the Apostle Paul wrote, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power; that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
The Apostle depended upon God’s power as he labored in the work of the Lord. Because of that power was successful in his spiritual labors and was one of the greatest men for the cause of Christ that ever lived.
Preach with A Love For the People
Jesus told Peter in John 21:16 and 17 to “Feed my sheep.” It is not enough to love to preach, but beyond that, we should love those to whom we do preach. Love means that you give yourself to take care of them. You seek the good of the congregation and their welfare, not merely your own.
That is why we do all three things Paul told young Timothy to do. We reprove, rebuke and exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2). Exhorting is easy but reproving and rebuking can be difficult to do, but it must be done. A man of God needs a balanced ministry of reproving, rebuking, and exhorting.
Love is tough. That means we do unpleasant things if it will better and further the members of the church. God has not called us to tiptoe through the tulips but to tell the truth.
Preach with a Determination to Keep Going
God has blessed me to pastor the good folks at Zion Hill Baptist Church now for over 25 1/2 years. I do not plan to retire until they no longer need me or until my physical condition would not allow me to pastor any longer. If I do have to someday retire from being a pastor, as long as I have breath, I will continue to preach the Word of God. Don’t let small, annoying matters that come up make you ready to throw in the towel and give up trying to minister.
Preach with a Good Knowledge of the Bible
I will close our study today with a verse out of 2nd Timothy. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15). No man is qualified to lead God’s people if he does not spend the proper time in study. With so many excellent study resources today, there is no excuse for being an unprepared preacher.
May God help us to be all we can for Him!