This is a recent review of something drafted 12 years ago as the opening chapter of Master-Full Preaching – Restoring the Place of Good News Preaching. It is a bit longer than my preferred communication on the blog. However , I’m committed to the idea, “As much as we need revival, we need to consistently preach to the lost! http://truth-publications.com/product/master-full-preaching/
Does it seem that we are sometime locked in a dance of two steps forward and two steps back. Motion, without progress.
North America certainly needs revival! Revival restores, returning things to the way they were, as resuscitation revives one who is without breath. A person is back where he started. Grateful to be alive . . . but any pre-existing condition . . . still exists! Diabetes remains . . . cancer is unrelieved. General health issues are unaffected by the “revival.” They are “revived” to their former condition.
Certainly that principle is applicable to the church. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Yet, revival alone is not the answer! Revival is like a sale at a department store. Customers line up before the doors open. There is an unusual level of advertising, but the main business profit is gained by year-round daily merchandising. Around church, too many people are, “waiting on the sale.” In the New Testament church, the day of Pentecost was great, but the steady growth came as the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Special events make headlines, but when the last day tally is figured, it will be found that the main work was done by the faithful preaching of ordinary pastors on ordinary Sundays. It will be the lifestyle of ordinary Christians, and their ordinary soul‑winning that will have been the most effective.
Imagine being part of a church making daily impact. Not just on the occasion, but every month, every week and every day. One key to what you have imagined being a reality is found . . . in preaching! Although not just “preaching,” in the sense of a rousing sermon that cheers believers to another week of survival. It is “good news preaching.” Targeting a single soul sitting in the audience. How easy to overlook opportunity!
Jack Hyles told about his father:
My father was an alcoholic. He died a drunkard’s death in 1950. My mother was a sweet Christian lady and I’m a product of the Sunday School. I never tasted beer, never smoked a cigarette, never said a curse word. I wanted my Dad saved and as a kid I talked to him about being saved. One night, my Dad said he would go to church. I called the pastor and said, “Would you preach on the second coming; my Dad’s coming to church?” (That was always what moved me and I thought it would move my Dad.) When we got to church, they had a choir cantata. I cried all the way through. Daddy wouldn’t come back. That was the only church service my Daddy ever attended.
The tragedy of missed opportunity.
“Pogo” is a comic strip about a delightful little creature living in a Florida swamp. Some time back Pogo was sitting with his back propped against a fallen log. An animal new to Pogo came along the trail and Pogo stopped him. He demanded the animal give his name and tell what kind of animal he was. As polite as could be, the traveler explained that he was a carrier pigeon.
Pogo was not acquainted with the species, so he asked his new acquaintance what he carried. The pigeon explained that he carried messages. Still somewhat skeptical, Pogo insisted on proof. Nothing would satisfy him but seeing a message. Confronted by Pogo’s demand, the pigeon hung his head. He explained, “I had a message, but I put it in my shoe. Done walked so long I wore a hole in my shoe, an’ lost the message through the hole.”
A messenger without a message. Is this not the plight of the preacher who proclaims no message of hope for even a single hurting heart; a carrier pigeon who has lost his message. Revival needed, but the world “out there” needs more than revival. There needs to be a shift from “event” and “special speaker” evangelism to the consistency of a man with a simple message. Evangelistic preaching . . . consistent evangelistic preaching is vital. If something of significance is to be accomplished, one cannot be as a carrier pigeon who has no message.
Exercise for application
1. Interview several pastors. Ask them about their training and preparation in studying the scripture. Find out if they think their preparation is adequate and what they would like to do to improve this aspect of their ministry.
2. Write out a paragraph expressing your ideas concerning the purpose and place of evangelistic preaching