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PREACHING WITH A Problem
A Guidebook for Religious Leaders
By AARON MCNAIR SR.
iUniverse LLCCopyright © 2013 Dr. Aaron McNair Sr.
All rights reserved.
The Assignment of Preaching: Ezekiel 37:1-10
Let's begin with the Command to Preach. It is vital to understand that preaching is not voluntary. It is not a career choice, nor is it something that Mom or Dad or family members convince you that you ought to be doing. True preachers are sent from God. Romans 10:15 says, "how shall they preach except they are sent?" Now this "sent" does not mean sent by any earthly human, but it refers strictly to the true and living God. Only God can call, appoint, and ordain, and heaven knows only God can anoint a person to preach the gospel. Only God can put in preachers what it takes to be a preacher.
Now let's talk about the preacher and the preaching. The preacher proclaims the gospel, God's saving work through Jesus Christ. The Old testament mentions several prominent preachers. Noah, who was warned of the impending flood and proclaimed God's ark of safety, was called "a preacher of righteousness." Solomon described himself as a preacher who taught "words of truth." At God's direction, Jonah made a preaching mission to Nineveh, declaring God's judgment and mercy. And just like Jonah, all the prophets of the Old testament were regarded as preachers, particularly Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, and Micah.
In the New testament, the gospel advanced on the wings of preaching. The zeal generated by Pentecost, coupled with the growing persecution of the young church, led the disciples to preach everywhere in the known world. With a sense of urgency, Jesus and the apostles preached in homes, by the seaside, on the temple steps, and in the synagogues. Wherever you can get people together, remember there is an urgency to preach.
Jesus connected his ministry with that of the prophets and identified his mission as one of proclaiming deliverance (Luke 4:18-19).
Jesus was under a divine order to spread the gospel by means of preaching (Luke 4:43-44). Phillip, the preaching deacon, "preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ." In sending out the twelve, Jesus commanded them, "as you go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand." The apostle Paul proudly declared his credentials as one whom God "appointed a preacher and apostle." Virtually all New testament preaching carries an evangelistic thrust. Paul declared, "it pleased God through the foolishness of preaching that man can be saved."
The distinction between preaching and teaching made in the church today is not evident in the New Testament. Some people today say, "It's time out for preaching and the minister just needs to stick to teaching," but both Jesus and Paul regarded themselves as preachers and teachers. Luke reports that Jesus was appointed "a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles" (2 Timothy 1:11). The best New Testament preaching, while aimed at motivating sinners to receive Christ, had a strong element of teaching. Paul charged young Timothy to preach the Word! Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching, teach if you have to sometimes, but remember the command is to preach.
Now, when God calls and commands us to preach, we may run like Jonah, but when God gets through with us, we have to do what he says. Many think the running will be over after we accept the calling, but some pastors still run every now and then. It is important to understand that we're not always running by choice. Sometimes the members, deacons, and trustees cause us to run.
Some may ask, "Run from what, Reverend?" Run from hard, piercing, and cutting messages that God sends to the church, but we're not always free to preach to them because of the repercussions we may have to suffer. So we run from that message for the people in fear of what may happen to us, just like Jonah. We don't always realize that when we run, God will deal with us, just like he dealt with Jonah when he ran.
So, Reverend, always preach the word that God gives you, even if you have to preach it in tears on your way out the door!
You know, I've always found it strange how church folks can give preachers so much trouble, not realizing or caring that they have got it hard enough just doing what God wants them to do. You see, the problem is that people don't know everything the pastor preacher has gone through. They see the glamorous side of preaching, the monetary gifts, hugs, scattered love, recognition, and the elevation in ministry. Yes, they know about the glamour, but they don't know about the sleepless nights, the toiling and labor, the wet pillows at night, the loss of family time, the criticism and insults they have to endure, all the hindering spirits they have to fight, the days and nights traveling with no money in their pockets. Few people know what preachers have to go through. And in spite of all of this on Sunday morning, guess what? they have to push all of that aside and preach to a dying world.
Why? It's because preaching is above all. It's sad to say but preaching is more important than what they go through. Preaching is more important than how they feel. Preaching is so important that John lost his head. It's so important that Peter and the apostles kept doing it even though they were threatened and ended up in jail. It's so important that Paul decided, even in the face of death, to preach Jesus.
Preaching is so important that God told the prophet, "Your wife is going to die in the morning; bury her and in the evening PREACH to my people."
Preaching is so important that the Bible states that during one of Paul's long sermons, a man sitting in a high window fell asleep and dropped to the ground, but that didn't stop Paul. It had nothing to do with the preacher; preaching is so important because of the peril of the soul. Preachers continue to do what they do. And that's why preaching is a command. There is no choice. Pastors, you have to preach.
Tertullian said it best: "there is no other way to convert the world other than by the preaching of the gospel." There may be many ways to teach us how to succeed in life. There may be many ways that we are taught to preserve the economy and to enhance the temporal things in life. But there is only one way to turn man away from his sins, and that is what the apostle Paul calls the foolishness of preaching.
It has been said that the most effective way to diffuse religion is by preaching; not by the rituals of the church, and not by the human doctrines, because we can have a doctrine with no preaching. We can have laws with no preaching, but in order to convert folks from their sins, there must be preaching.
We cannot ignore the fact that Christianity owes its origin, its continuation, and its progress as it is to the act of preaching. It is preaching that has caused the cathedrals and synagogues to be built on millions of dollars. It is not the choir. It is not the church doctrine, it is the preaching of the gospel. It is preaching that caused the winos to lay down their liquor bottles. It is preaching that caused drug addicts to lay down their needles and crack pipes. It is preaching that pulls you up out of the muck and mire. It is biblical preaching that people need to hear on Sunday morning. People need to hear what God has done for them. They need to hear that God will open doors for them. They need to hear that God can heal their bodies. They need to hear that God can deliver them. They need to hear that God will touch them. They need to hear that God loves them. They need to hear that God cares for them, and most of all, they need to know that Jesus died just for them.
There is power in preaching. When Paul preached in Athens, they said, "His preaching turned the city upside down." Preaching gives life to any dead situation. When it looks like there is no hope, when it looks like there is nothing that can be done, preaching does strange things. Preachers must understand that there is power in the preached Word. Therefore, they must keep themselves protected by the Word of God. Preachers must keep themselves emerged in prayer, and every now and then, preachers need to be anointed so that the grace of God may rest upon them.
I want you to know that no preacher will be successful if they do not allow the Word of God to percolate their heart. If preachers don't study and seek higher learning through biblical training in this new age, they will have an unrelated message; their gospel will fall on deaf ears. They must remember that their calling is the highest calling in the world. It is the highest level in life: moral, social, and professional. To be one of God's chosen is indeed an honorable profession, even though some may object to the class and say, "He's just a preacher or he's just the pastor." God puts the highest regard on preachers because so much has been invested in them.
I want to remind you of the fact that doctors have been given a talent, but you can't find where God called the doctor. Lawyers practice the law, but you can't find where God called the lawyer. Magistrates judge the affairs of man, both right and wrong, but you can't find where God called the judge. But if you read the Bible, it tells you that God called Moses and said, "Moses, stop what you're doing, turn from where you're going, and come here. I've got a job for you. I've got work for you. I want you to go down to Egypt and tell Ol' Pharaoh to let my people go."
Preachers are emancipators. They are deliverers, and they have a message from God. They may not look like much to you, but their lips have been touched with tongues from the altar. Just like Aaron, they've had the oil poured on their head. Like Jeremiah, they've got the fire burning in their soul. Like Ezekiel, they have seen the vision of a dying people; they heard God say, "Ezekiel, can these bones live?" And Ezekiel said, "Lord, you know," and God said, "Ezekiel, preach until the graves come open, preach until the bones come out of the grave, preach until the head bone, the neck bone, the shoulder bone, the arm bone, the backbone, the hip bone, the thigh bone, the leg bone, the foot bone, the toe bone, all get together. Preach until the wind blows. Preach until hell trembles. Preach until the storm rises."
Someone may be asking, "How shall I preach?" Preach in the name of the Lord. Preach in the strength of the Lord. Preach on the power of the Lord. The world is a valley of dry bones, but these dry bones can live if you preach. Every sinner can be saved and every drunk can be saved. If anybody ask you who told you to preach, if anybody asks you what you are doing, tell them, "I AM told me to preach! I AM told me to go! I AM told me to say it!" and no matter who comes or goes, PREACH!
Preachers have been called to do many things and to be many things to their people and their community. Preachers must understand that they are called to be a light and a leader, not only in the church but also in their community. The tragedy of the church today is that pastors have become selfish in the ministry and with the ministry. But the ministry that they are in is first of all not theirs. They are in the Lord's ministry, and it's a ministry of unity. Preachers should do the best that they can to bond with other ministries in the area, while at the same time maintaining their integrity.
It is together that we can tear down Satan's kingdom. They have been called to be at this place in the ministry known as pastor-ship, and above all they seek to do, they should never, ever forget that they have been given the command that God gave to Ezekiel. God commanded him to prophesy and preach.
A Dual Responsibility Who Is on Your Left and Who Is on Your Right?
This chapter deals with the responsibility of the preacher to the people and the responsibility of the people to the preacher. It will be disturbing to those laypeople whose proclivity is not to honor the pastor, which is birthed out of ungodly teachings or their own analysis of the unworthiness of the preacher.
Many people do not understand when a day has been set aside to biblically honor the pastor. Many people do not understand why churches take time to honor their pastors. The real truth is some people do not even have a desire to honor the pastor of God's choosing. Churches suffer and many times perish because of the lack of the people's acceptance of knowledge. Sister Salle Mae Dew still engages in good old tongue speaking, crossover foot dancing, head shaking, body jerking, and long dress wearing; she is said to be saved, sanctified, holy Ghost filled, and fire baptized, but she still raises the most hell. She refuses to give during any type of celebration (or honoring) for her pastor of fifteen years. We need to understand that it is God's will according to 1 Timothy 5:17 and also Hebrews 13:7:
Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.
1 Timothy 5:17 (KJV)
Elders who do their work well should be paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching.
1 Timothy 5:17 (NLT)
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: Whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
Hebrews 13:7 (KJV)
Remember your leaders who first taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and trust the Lord as they do.
Hebrews 13:7 (NLT)
I am convinced that due to ignorance, the local church often misses the time God sets to honor and take care of the man of God. The tragedy of the church, the downfall of vision, and the stunted growth of ministry can be largely attributed to the church losing sight of the spiritual identity of its leaders.
As you sit and read this book, i only ask that you picture in your mind the face of your pastor and ask yourself, Who is this man? Not according to what you think, what you feel, or that which might be preprogrammed by disgruntled members along with what you heard about him, but according to what God says he is. Do you know in full revelation who your pastor is? For too long we have responded to pastors according to how we feel about them and what we think about them, and in response to the pastor's decision on matters or the aim of his messages.
At one time the children of Israel got upset about the way Moses was treating them, and they said that he was a hard task master; they thought it seemed right to respond to Moses according to the way he treated them.
We treat pastors accordingly because we feel it seems right. Yes, it may very well seem to us that we are right in the way we handle God's anointed; however, it would be wise to recall the words of Proverbs 14:12: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man. But the end thereof is the ways of death." Just because we feel something to be right in our spirit does not make it right. Proverbs 12:15 says, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he that harkeneth unto counsel is wise." Just because something is in your spirit does not mean that God put in there. 1 John 4:1 says, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God." We cannot respond to pastors like we handle ordinary men. In a spiritual sense, they are not ordinary.
This was something that Miriam had to find out the hard way. Miriam had the gall to rebuke and verbally scorn Moses because he married a Negro woman, a Cushite. In Numbers 12:1-5, you see that Aaron and Miriam were older than Moses, so Moses should have been subject to their authority. However, after the calling and work of God in the life of Moses, they ought to subject themselves to Moses' authority. They were not happy with the man of God's decision, so they thought it seemed_right to speak out against the leader, saying, "hath Jehovah indeed spoken only with Moses? Hath he not also spoken with us?"
Now, what I'm trying to show you is that he was not an ordinary man. As his older sister, Miriam could have reprimanded her brother on the basis of their family relationship. But when she opened her mouth to slander him, she touched upon the work of God, challenging the position of Moses.
Excerpted from PREACHING WITH A Problem by AARON MCNAIR SR.. Copyright © 2013 Dr. Aaron McNair Sr.. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse LLC.
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