Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Preaching Task

The preaching task may be the most daunting of all the tasks that God assigns in the church.  To be called to be mouthpiece of God to His people, to be charged with bringing His word (rightly,forthrightly, boldly, and without apology), to be held accountable for speaking the truth truthfully, to bear the responsibility of bringing the whole counsel of God (the popular and unpopular), to be commanded to preach in season and out of season, to be reminded that we are subject to a more severe judgment, and to bear the burden of this great and monumental task--are all beyond the strength of our merely mortal flesh and beyond the comprehension of our natural mind; and in those moments of honesty with ourselves and the Lord these responsibilities make us cry out as Paul, "Who is adequate for these things?"

Preaching is truly a supernatural task which is beyond the power and ability of the preacher.  In those moments of our sermon preparation each week, when our weakness is so apparent, there are some things to keep in the forefront of our mind.

1. Our gifting is from the Holy Spirit, our ministry is from the Lord, and effects are ordained by God. (I Corinthians 12:4-6) So our preaching is God given, God empowered, and God directed.

2. Our works are ordained beforehand that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).  Preaching is a God-called task and a God-given assignment. Our preaching ministry is not a separate call, but is part of the call of the Lord on our lives to follow Him; and in following Him we walk in the deeds He has ordained beforehand for us to do.

3.  Our gifts and calling are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). God has not changed His mind about His gifting and calling of those who are truly called to preach. We must all go through the rigors of the confirmation of His gifting and calling, just as Abraham went through the rigors of the proof of his faith. For those not weeded out, we stand in the knowledge of the veracity and legitimacy of our call.

4. Our adequacy, or sufficiency for you ESV people, for the task(s) of the ministry comes from God, not ourselves (II Corinthians 3:4-6). As Paul asks the question I quoted in the first paragraph. he answers it just a few verses later. No one in and of themselves is adequate for the task of preaching, but God makes those He has called and gifted adequate. We are not the source, but the means through whom God, the Source, works through; and it is God who makes us adequate for the deeds/ministry that He has prepared beforehand for us to do.

5. Our part in this is twofold:
    a. To abstain from wickedness and cleanse ourselves (confess our sins) so that we will be vessels of honor, sanctified, useful to our Master, and prepared for every good work (II Timothy 2:19-21).
    b. To be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God. We are to be trustworthy with the ministry which the Lord has entrusted to us, not just for the day or the month, but for the length of the race; and having put our hand to the plow of the gospel ministry, to not look back, but keep pressing on. (I Corinthians 4:1-2)

In the end we will be judged and rewarded according to what we have done with what He has given us.  Let us be mindful of our call, confident in His provisions, and faithful to the end.  And may the Lord find great delight in using us all.

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