5 Things We Do Today Instead of Preaching the Word

3. Wooing

“Careful, careful, don’t offend, always comfortable, never pressured, just a pinch of truth, when they’re ready to handle it.”

The preaching of the gospel has become so watered down that the non-elect can’t even reject it.

If you don’t have people walking away from your ministry saying, “This is a hard word, who can accept it?” then you don’t have a ministry like Jesus had.

I just hate this notion that we can be so clever and sophisticated that we can remove the offense from the gospel. It is foolishness to those who are perishing; it is the power of God to those who are being saved. It is the aroma of death to those who are perishing; it is the aroma of life to those who are being saved.

Listen, preacher: If you don’t want to be the aroma of death to those who are perishing, you can never be the aroma of life to those who are being saved. That’s why preaching is hard work.

4. Intellectualizing

“I’ve been thinking and researching this in the original languages…”

We’re supposed to love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength. And preaching that stops at the shoulders is defective preaching. It has to move me—it has to call me to action—mind, emotions and will. If you’re just preaching your theological construct, you’re blowing it.

Stop preaching the scaffolding around the Bible and preach the Word—what God actually says.

John Calvin said, “God deigns [considers it proper] to consecrate to himself the mouths and tongues of men in order that his voice may resound in them.” Your preaching is at its best when your people have forgotten that you’re even standing there, and God’s Spirit is moving through you. I am afraid that we’ve lost sight of this.

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James MacDonald
James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is the founding senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, leads the church planting ministry of Harvest Bible Fellowship, teaches the practical application of God's Word on the Walk in the Word radio broadcast, and is a gifted author and speaker.