In addition, the preacher should demonstrate how God has penetrated his own heart with the truths He presents. His interpretation not only has been defended in the sermon, but it has been digested. The congregation sees this Word after it has been made flesh, and this heightens their interest, as well as his credibility. He handles the Word with precision.
4. The faithful preacher should teach all parts of the Bible and show how unique and wonderful each section truly is.
Personally, I could camp out in James for a decade. I love that book. It is short, fast-paced and practical for everyday life. However, the Book of Malachi was inspired by God too and was placed in the Bible because it contains essential truth for spiritual growth.
The preacher should deliver a well-rounded meal throughout the calendar year and proclaim all parts of the Bible, not just his or her particular bread and butter passages. The best preachers make themselves servants of the Word and handle it all with reverence.
5. The faithful preacher should challenge people to own the truth by responding to the message.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22-27)
What good is knowledge if it does not lead to life change? Every person who went to school can recall a particular math or science lecture that left students wondering, “What good will that do me?” Unlike that moment, church attendees should leave on Sunday knowing the message they just heard demands a real and practical response. That reaction will vary from person to person and might include an inward decision to trust God with this week’s electric bill, it might be an act of humility demonstrated through a heartfelt apology, or it might be an act of generosity as one writes a check to a specific ministry. There must be some reaction when the Word is preached. Faithful preachers do not hesitate to bring the challenge.
6. The faithful preacher should prove that the Bible is ancient. Yet, it speaks to us today.
“Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day… They are not just idle words for you—they are your life.” (Deut. 32:46-47)
Flip through the Bible for five minutes, and you will find this book contains all kinds of bizarre history. There are golden cows, weird temple furnishings and visions of wheels in the sky. The preacher must do more than prove he or she has studied all week. The preacher must show how this study of history impacts the present and the future.
It was Harry Emerson Fosdick who declared, “Only the preacher proceeds still upon the idea that folks come to church desperately anxious to discover what happened to the Jebusites.” That is so true! Pastors must work hard at the task of application and contextualization. What does this passage have to do with his or her life on Monday? Effective preachers answer that question carefully. The bottom line is that just because you appear on television or have your face pasted on a billboard does not mean you are an effective, faithful preacher of the Word. Pastor, be true to your call, and be sure you are fulfilling your God given role as proclaimer of the Word.