“preach the word”
(2 Timothy 4:2)
Paul’s encouragement to Timothy is brief but packed with power. Oh that men would heed that simple call today! Behind the scenes at this blog, I get to see the search engine terms that people use to find us on the internet. This week, someone typed in the term “becoming a baptist preacher.” For some reason, that term intriqued me. Truthfully it could just as easily say becoming a Methodist preacher, or Lutheran preacher or even becoming a church of Christ preacher. I suspect the person behind the search was a member of that denomination and desired to preach for them. But I think his terminology suggests a problem.
Like churches, preachers were never denominated in the New Testament. They simply preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus, in Mark 2:2 is said to have spoken “the word” to the people in the house at Capernaum. At least 8 times in the Acts, the disciples were said to “preach the word” to people (c.f. Acts 8:4, 25; 11:19; 13:5; 14:25; 15:35, 36; 16:6). Notably, they did not preach Baptist doctrine, they did not preach Methodist doctrine, they did not preach Catholic doctrine. They simply preached the word of God.
We may even go so far as to say that they did not preach “church of Christ” doctrine except insofar as that doctrine was the word of God. While one may call himself a “church of Christ” preacher and may fill a pulpit in a building with “church of Christ” on the sign, there is no automatic gurantee that the man is preaching the word of God.
Good and faithful men have written volumes on every possible spiritual topic. Yet, for all their wisdom and soundness they are not appropriate sources for our sermons. Our source must be the word of God that flows to us from the Holy Spirit and through the inspired pens of holy men (2 Peter 1:21).
As we preach, let our words and thoughts originate in God’s text and not the meandering thoughts of men. Let us stand in the Scriptures alone and truely preach from the wealth of God goodness and richness. Our brethren will be blessed and the church will grow.