For many in our "IFB" movement a LOUD service equals a powerful service. The preacher will carry his microphone and preach with it half down his throat yelling and hollering and begging for "amens" and "Preach-ons". As long as the preacher and half the congregation leaves hoarse, then 'God was in the service.' Well, volume does not equal power. Changed lives is a fruit of God's power!
The power of God is not found in volume, but rather in the Scriptures. You see, power is a direct product of proper authority.
For instance, the Lord in giving the Great Commission said in Matthew 28:
All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things...The Authority brought the power!
We also see in Acts 1 the following:
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me...The Authority brought power!
The Lord said to a centurion once that He had not ever seen so great a faith as the faith he expressed. Why was that? Well, when the centurion sought to have his servant healed of Christ, he had faith that Christ could do just that; but his words were as follows in Luke 7:8
For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
You will notice that the centurion knew Christ had the power to heal because he too was "a man set under authority." Not just a man with authority, but also under authority. You see, power comes from being under the proper authority.
This is why the power of God is evident in the home when the children are subject to the parents, the wife subject to the husband, and the husband subject to the Lord and His Word. This is why the power of God is evident in ministries done through the local church and under the church's authority (Eph. 3:21). This is why our preaching, if it is to have the power of God, is to be contextual and centered upon the Word of God!
Paul in his final words to Timothy said in chapter 4:
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Paul told Timothy to Preach! Let us examine his thoughts on preaching:
I. The Cause of Preaching (vs. 1)
The word 'charge' there means to testify or bring to remembrance. Paul was reminding Timothy of why he had better take preaching serious...we will give an account before God someday. It would be of great benefit for every preacher to remind himself before taking the pulpit that we will give an account before God for how we use that pulpit. Our duty is the 'perfecting of the saints.' (Eph. 4:11-12). To teach them the Word of God, and we will most definitely give an account (Heb. 13:17). We will not give an account for our jokes, stories, illustrations, or volume; but we will give an account for preaching the Word!
II. The Command to Preach (vs. 2a)
Paul says here to 'Preach the Word!' In this you see a few thoughts:
The word preach there means a 'heralder.' A ruler would have a heralder to make announcements in a clear, loud voice. He was not an ambassador who made negotiations, but a heralder that made proclamations! The idea of a heralder is that he was not THE AUTHORITY, but he proclaimed the message of the Authority!
Paul says "Preach". There is no substitute for preaching! God has ordained preaching as His means of proclaiming the Word (1 Cor. 1:21; Titus 1:3). God did not ordain cantatas, dramas, or social events as His means of proclaiming the Word...it is preaching!
We are to preach 'The Word.' Not the Sword of the Lord, not another man's commentary, not a hobby horse; but preach the Word. Our people and our churches are truly being destroyed from a lack of knowledge of the Word of God!
We are to preach the Word "in season, out of season." A true preacher of the Word of God will not seek excuses to not preach, but will seek for opportunities to preach! He will be ready, willing, and wanting to preach! A fire will be burning!(Jer. 20:9)
III. The Components of Preaching (vs. 2)
Preaching of the Word should consist of three actions according to this Scripture:
1. Reproving-Convicting, exposing, and correcting faults
2. Rebuking-Chiding to raise the value of, purposed to make better
3. Exhorting-Calling to one's side to strengthen and encourage.
I read a quote about preaching that said this:
Preaching is afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted.If we encourage those that need rebuking, we assist in their sin; if we rebuke those that need encouraging, we push them towards sin.
IV. The Composure in Preaching (vs. 2)
When one preaches the Word, it must be done "with all longsuffering." Topical preaching has its place and is a good thing! The draw to topical preaching is that it excites and motivates people to make an instant decision! Preaching the Word and allowing folks to perfect (mature) in their knowledge of the Word of God will not produce immediate excitement or even decisions. We judge every service by 'how many came to the altar;' when we ought to judge a service by 'how many lives were changed in the weeks and months to follow.' Preaching through the Word of God must be done with longsuffering and patience.
V. The Core of Preaching (vs. 2)
Preaching must be, above all else centered on doctrine! Paul even goes on to warn in verse 3 that a time is coming (is it here?) when people will not endure sound doctrine! Preachers must center their preaching times not on telling stories, testimonies, jokes, illustrations, or other fluff; but rather doctrine.
True preaching is the explanation and application of Bible doctrine. Anything else is religious speech making.Oh that we would get back to doctrinal preaching. We have a generation of 'IFB' churches that have been raised on a diet of topical, easy listening preaching that know very little doctrine and as a result are being swept away into false churches and teaching.
VI. The Calamity (vs. 3-4)
Paul warns Timothy in charging him to preach the Word that people "will turn away their ears from truth..." We are living in a day when many folks do not desire the healthy doctrinal preaching of the Word; but rather just have a taste for the carnal weak novelties of easy listening preaching. People would rather be told how much God loves them and how good they are, than to learn doctrine, see truth, and truly see a reflection of ourselves in the mirror of God's Word.
Oh that we would get back to Preaching the Word!