“Preach the Word.” The word for preaching is kayrusso and is rooted in 1st century Rome for occasions when Caesar issued an imperial edict or new policies and a herald went to the perimeters of the Empire, gathered people together, lifted his voice, cupped his hands and then say, “Hear ye, hear ye.” This herald spoke with the dignity and authority of Caesar. That herald was preaching. He was telling the crowd what they needed to hear.
Why preach the Word? Why not fables or a series of illustrations or sagas? Why not personal opinions or editorial comments? Because none of these have authority on their own, because – at best – they come from fallen man (I Corinthian 2:1-5).
The power to change lives remains in God’s Word, not in man’s words. The Bible is the only book or wording that can change the nature of the heart. When the Bible speaks, God speaks. When man preaches His Word, God speaks to man.
Preaching is a serious event (I Timothy 4:1). Paul tells Timothy that when he preaches, he will do it “before God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Actually, it literally reads in the Greek, “before God, and EVEN the Lord Jesus Christ.” It’s as if Paul is saying that “When you preach God’s word, the Father and the Son will be flanking you; they got your back.”
Preaching is a holy event, because when we preach, we are God’s mouthpiece. There is a sense in which our preaching is 1st heard by God and for God – not that He learns or is sanctified by it, but that He is honored by it. Paul knows our preaching is not for man’s approval (Galatians 1:10). Preaching is giving voice to God’s opinions. If preaching is a holy event, then there must be a holy accountability, and there is (James 3:1).
Preaching is always relevant (I Timothy 4:2a). As some have said, there are 2x that we should be preaching: when we want to and when we don’t want to. We should ALWAYS preach because preaching is ALWAYS relevant. And it is ALWAYS relevant because God’s Word is of eternal significance.
Preachers must be earnest. Preaching is not “play time” and it is not time for a stand-up comedy routine. Preaching is a serious event and it is always relevant, even when everyone else might say, “Preaching is boring or a waste of time.”
Preaching is a pastoral event (I Timothy 4:2b). Preaching is convincing. This carries the idea of correcting behavior that is bad or confronting false doctrine (Hebrews 4:12).
Preaching exposes wrong motives and thoughts. R.C. Trench calls preaching “rebuking another with such effectual wielding of the victorious arm of the truth, as to bring him not always to a confession, yet at least to a conviction of his sin.”
Preaching is rebuking. It is calling sin…sin. Preaching aims at bringing someone to repentance. At the end of Peter’s sermon on Pentecost, his sermon pierced the hearts of those hearing it and asked, “What should we do know?” Their sin of killing Christ had been rebuked and they wanted to respond rightly (Acts 2:37-38).
Preaching is exhorting. Preaching encourages another person to change. Preaching is persuasion. It’s like a parent coming alongside their child to encourage them to make the right decision (I Thessalonians 2:5-7, 11-12).
Preaching includes teaching. Preaching is usually thought to be the act where facts are proclaimed for the purpose bending the will; teaching is usually thought as facts explained to bend the mind. But the best preaching includes teaching, even though teaching doesn’t always include preaching.
Preaching is urgent (I Timothy 4:3-4). Some will not want to “endure sound doctrine.” Some will become intolerant or tired of the Word being preached. The idea is that some will begin to view the Word as unhealthy, instead of the spiritual health is promised to bring.
Some will only want to hear things “according to their own desires, because they have itching ears.” In other words, they will look for what they want to hear and not what they need to hear.
Some will “heap up for themselves teachers.” This means they will pile up so-called preachers-of-the-truth. Some people will move from one preacher to another, from one church to another looking for what they think they need.
Others will “turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” People will keep themselves from true biblical preaching and then be susceptible to the wolves. Then, they will listen to anyone who is telling them what they want to hear.
All of us preach something. We are all messengers. We are all sowers. We are all ambassadors calling men and women to be reconciled to God.
Let the Book do the talking! Let the Word do the work! Preach the Word! How will anyone hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14)