“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.” 1 Pet 4:11.a NIV.
As a Preacher I am constantly reminded that what I say from the pulpit or the study chair will be judged by God, and I will give account to Him if I have mishandled His word, misrepresented Him, or held back from proclaiming certain truths of scripture. It would seem as a Preacher we can fall into two realms of error in our gospel, disciple making commission. We can commit the sin of omission, omitting certain truths that aren’t popular. Or the sin of addition, adding to the message of God.
We have to remember that our position isn’t a popularity contest, an easy trap fall into, when you want to see the church grow. But our position is first and foremost one of faithfulness. We are to faithfully proclaim the word of God in all its aspects, regardless of whether it is received or not. There will be times when you preach Gods word, that people may grow angry and walk away. This shouldn’t surprise us, for the word of God is as a sharp two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, and discerns the thoughts and intents of a persons heart.
I think I can relate to Timothy, and the struggle he had within himself and his own weaknesses, where Paul had to remind him that God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 2 Tim 1:7 NAS. I’ve found in my own ministry, the best way to overcome the fear of man is to preach the word of God. There is a certain boldness and a certain confidence that enters ones soul, when you have chapter and verse to support you. Then if what you say is rejected, you can have the assurance, that it is not you they are rejecting, but Gods word.
The Preacher has no authority of his own, his only authority is the word of God. There have been times in my preaching where mistakes have been made. Some of the traditions I have picked up along the way are hard to shake off. I often examine my sermons after the fact and there are times I may say to myself, “I shouldn’t have said that!” We need to learn from our mistakes and grow from them. I’m thankful that I have an understanding congregation, who accept the fact I’m human, but at the same time wont let me off the hook if I preach something that’s questionable. This is healthy and we encourage this, as it would be extremely unhelpful, or blindly flattering if we just always accept everything a Pastor says without question, maintaining our respect for one another in gentleness and meekness of spirit. I want the congregation I serve to be competent in their understanding of the word of God. It means I’m challenged to preach richer sermons, in order to feed them. To grow in our love for God as we increase in the knowledge of God, and in our love for one another. Though as a church we may lack in many areas, we’ve made it our number 1 objective to preach faithfully the word of God. To be lovers of Gods word.
At the end of the day, when I stand before God, He wont ask me how well I sang, or how highly I jumped, He will judge me on how I received and applied Gods word in my life. Was I faithful? Was I obedient? I pray by Gods grace, that it would be so!