It is not easy to teach the Word of God. It is a heavy burden, actually. Rejection by the world is frustrating and discouraging. But all is gain if a preacher is absolutely convinced that his message is forever the true Word of God. The Lord blesses and rewards those who labor to deliver the message of Scripture accurately and with great care.
I am the father of two young men. As may be true for those of you who have children, I was the only pastor my boys had ever known. As members of our church, my children not only sat under my preaching for their entire lives but were also shepherded in a church dedicated to the truth of Scripture. Eventually, they both went away to college. For the first time, I was not the one feeding them from the pulpit each Lord’s Day. It was new and a little unnerving for all of us!
I remember conversations my wife and I had with them as we helped guide them into a fruitful and truth-based church home. As you may know, college towns offer many church options, but how could I educate my sons to discern which church was best for their spiritual growth?
The responsibility of every preacher, in every sermon, is to communicate the truth. That is the job description. We are not to adjust it, twist it, and certainly not take anything away from it. Each week we stand before a church family that is needy and desperate—although some are not even aware of that reality—and the chief remedy is the preaching of the Word. Scripture binds our wounds, satisfies our souls, and provides a firm foundation amidst the storms of life. As Paul writes to Timothy, the role of the preacher is simply to “Preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season: reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).
When a preacher approaches the pulpit, the most potent tool at his disposal is the truth of the text. Some get it wrong. Charisma can be a great asset to a leader, but can a charming personality pierce a hardened heart? Likewise, it is good to have a clever mind! But is your wit the most significant ammunition you possess? Our sermon content will reflect what we believe about ourselves as pastors.
Sadly, and far too often, this is not the case in today’s American pulpit. By God’s grace, some remain convinced that the most powerful weapon to brandish Sunday after Sunday is the inerrant Word of God. As one pastor rightly stated, “The source of my authority in this pulpit is not—as we shall soon see—my wisdom; nor is it a private revelation granted to me beyond the revelation of Scripture. My words have authority only in so far as they are the repetition, unfolding, and proper application of the words of Scripture. I have authority only when I stand under authority. ”
The Word never leaves us wanting, and it never leads us astray. Simply put, if a preacher does not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, he will continually look beyond the Bible to create a message appealing to his hearers.