Monday, August 26, 2013

What Will They Hear? A Reminder for God's Messengers

What will people hear when they come to your church?  What should people hear when they come to your church?  What do people need to hear when they come to church, any church?  The answer is simple, really, and it is....."The Truth."  What people should hear, and need to hear is "The Truth," yes, with a capital "T".

They don't need stories, they don't need therapy, they don't need moralism, they don't need movie clips or skits, they don't need placating, they don't need pandering, they don't need platitudes, they don't need entertainment, they don't need titillation, they don't need warm fuzzies, they don't need their self-esteem boosted or their ego stroked, they don't need to be manipulated, they don't need to be sold, they don't need vision, they don't need wit or comedy, they don't need a slickly produced event, they don't even need the pastor to be a great communicator.  Plain and simply they need the pastor to be a truth-teller; and they need the pastor to tell the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help him God.

They need to hear the truth throughout the service, in the praying and the praising and the preaching. The entire service should carpet bomb them with the truth.  In our post-modern age, truth is the great need of the hour; but that is no different than it has ever been, as man has always had an aversion to the truth, which is why people will pile in heaps those who will tickle their ears with what they want to hear, and pile on those who don't.  But just because men and women are averse to the truth, doesn't mean they don't need the truth. In reality it is their very aversion to the truth that causes them to be in such great need of the truth.

Fortunately we have the great repository of the truth, the Bible, which is the very truth of God who cannot lie; and we have the Living Word, the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, who is truth incarnate and personified and the locus of the truth (Ephesian 4:21, John 14:6).  So if we are to give the people the truth, we should preach and teach the infallible word of God, and tell them of His Son who spoke truth and lived the truth (Ephesians 1:13a, John 8:40).

In Acts 20:26 Paul testifies that he is innocent of the blood of all men.  How could he make such a bold and powerful statement?  Because he knew that He preached the truth, he knew that he declared the whole counsel of God.  It wasn't platitudes that caused him to be stoned, but the truth.  It wasn't a therapeutic sermon that caused him to be beaten with a rod, but the truth.  It wasn't entertainment and titillation that caused him to be imprisoned, but the truth.  It wasn't self-esteem, make them feel good about themselves, tell them God loves them just like they are sermons that caused him to be run out of several towns, but the truth.

Man's great need is the thing he hates to hear the most, the truth.  If we are called to preach, then we are called to declare the truth.  Anything else, really anything less, is a betrayal of our calling.  Let's remember James 4:17, and don't give lip-service to preaching the truth; but preach the truth to the best of our God-given ability, asking Him for His grace and empowerment, trusting in His truth to do what only it can do and trusting in Him for the effects.  This is what makes us worthy watchmen (Ezekiel 33:1-9).

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