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Why You Need to Preach Through Blood

Notice, when Paul talks about suffering, he’s not talking about getting the flu. He’s not talking about his grandma passing away.

He’s talking about “Christ’s sufferings,” specifically those he had endured in Asia for spreading and proclaiming the gospel. And while it’s true that we can comfort others when we’ve experienced non-gospel-related sufferings, that’s certainly not the MAJOR point of this passage.

The major point is this:

“Missional pastors preach through blood wrung on the front lines.”

The reason for bloody preaching.

Why is this true? Paul makes it explicit in verses 5-6: because preachers who suffer for proclaiming the gospel encourage their flock that Christ is sufficient.

If we tell our flock to be on mission without ourselves being on the front lines, we’re sending a mixed message: “Christ is sufficient for YOU to be on mission, but not for ME.”

I wonder how many pastors, like me, proclaim a mixed message to our congregations. I wonder how many of us set up programs and pamphlets and professionalize our pulpits without ever moving to the front of the line and winning our sermons through blood.

I’ll admit that, for me, this little passage is extremely convicting. I have a difficult time connecting with the lost when I’m balancing seminary and ministry, along with two boys and a writing career.

But so long as that’s my excuse, I can’t be upset with my flock for thinking the same way.

Are you preaching through blood?

Here are some questions I’m asking myself in light of this passage. Let me invite you to join me:

  • Can I honestly say I’ve suffered for Christ this week for sharing the gospel?
  • Do I strategically say “no” to activities that further hole me into my Christian bubble so that I can have more opportunities to be on the front lines?
  • Do I understand the kinds of objections and criticisms congregants will receive by my interaction with the lost in my community?
  • Have I shown the people I minister to what it looks like to be on the front lines through one-on-one or small group interactions?
  • Do I really believe Christ is sufficient to comfort me in my suffering for the sake of the gospel? Is my justification enough, or am I still trying to please men rather than God?


Lord Jesus, make me a missionary pastor. Let my sermons be wrung through the blood of the front lines. Give me faith that through Calvary you have united yourself to me, and through that union I have access to the comfort of the Spirit in suffering. Give me a heart that beats for the lost, as your heart beats for me. Amen.