Monday, June 23, 2008

THE HOLINESS OF GOD
...preach the Word with fear and trembling and do not treat it as a humorous thing or of your own opinion

When a man of God enters the pulpit and stands behind the sacred desk to preach God's Word, he should do so with humility, brokenness, urgency, and under the charge of heaven to preach the Word, in season and out of season - and nothing but the Word. His aim is not to tickle ears, or appeal to the congregation, to raise the level of their yearly offerings, to increase attendance, or relate to the culture. His duty is God to proclaim His Word cut straight and to call people to live in obedience to its truths.

If a man does not Preach the Word rightly divided (2 Tim. 2:15) and is only offering his opinions on any given passage, then he has not preached the Word. The people do not need to hear a man’s “take” on a given passage, but to actually hear and know the Word itself - to understand the sense of it; what it actually means; and what it says (Neh. 8:8). If a pastor has wrongly divided God’s Word according to only his own proclivities, moorings, and opinions and not according to the consistent truth of Scripture, and has declared his message to be, “thus saith the Lord” - then that man, regardless of the response of the hearers, is under God’s judgment (James 3:1; 2 Peter 3:16).

How awesome the task for any of us who proclaim the gospel and preach God’s Word to rightly divide it as workmen unashamed, approved unto God; not offering our opinions; but declaring it as it is in fact, the very Word of God (1 Thess. 2:13).

When Isaiah saw a right view of the holiness of God in Isaiah 6, he also saw a right view of his own sin and sinfulness. His first response was not to be funny, cute, witty, jovial, culturally relevant, hip, trendy, etc. The Scriptures tell us that he “came undone”; he pronounced eternal damnation on his sin sick soul when he said in agony “woe is me…” He was brought low and trembled with reverence and godly fear before the one true Lord God of all to whom he would (and you and I as well) would give an account. Is it any wonder, when he was given forgiveness for his sins and was restored to ministry, that this same prophet declared these words: “to this one will I look; who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My Word.” (Is. 66:2).

We don’t see much trembling in the pulpit these days do we beloved? We see men of God strutting; wanting to mimic Chris Rock, be culturally relevant, humorous, on the cutting edge, etc. - but void of true heaven sent power in their preaching. They are drawing crowds, these self made prophets, but heaven is as brass to their easy, smooth words (Isaiah 30:10-12).

“Oh Lord, bring revival to the pulpits of our churches once again. Let these men, called by You, charged by heaven to preach the Word in season and out of season. And may they preach not themselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord! Amen.”

Preach the Word
Neh. 8:8 They read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading.

2Tim. 4:1 ¶ I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:
2Tim. 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

Is. 6:1 ¶ In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.
Is. 6:2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
Is. 6:3 And one called out to another and said,
“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory.”
Is. 6:4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.
Is. 6:5 Then I said,
“Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

Is. 66:2 “For My hand made all these things,
Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD.
“But to this one I will look,
To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.

2Cor. 5:11 ¶ Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.

2Cor. 4:5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.
2Cor. 4:6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
2Cor. 4:7 ¶ But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;

19 comments:

pray4m3 said...

WOW, thank you for blogging on this. It has been a burden of my heart for quite a long time to Preach the Word, in season and out. A very Godly man whom was a role model for me growing had a saying that I use to this day. "Be ready to preach, pray or die instantly." This has been a true saying and God has branded it on my heart. Now as I follow his leading to seminary I pray that He anchors my faith in the Gospel ounce and for all delivered to the saints. To God be the Glory forever.

Jerry Venable

Arthur Sido said...

Amen to that Camp,

The sign of a godly preacher is not how entertaining he is, or how sincere he sounds, or how relevant, or how clever his jokes or stories or how many home visits he does. It is marked by his fidelity to the Word of God.

There are plenty of entertainers out there who are far more clever and amusing than any preacher. If I want to be entertained, I will go to a movie or a comedy club. But when I am in the house of the Lord, I want to hear "Thus sayeth the Lord". The world is full of talented entertainers, but faithful preachers of the Word are in woefully short supply.

The Spokesman said...

We don’t see much trembling in the pulpit these days do we beloved? We see men of God strutting; wanting to mimic Chris Rock, be culturally relevant, humorous, on the cutting edge, etc. - but void of true heaven sent power in their preaching. They are drawing crowds, these self made prophets, but heaven is as brass to their easy, smooth words (Isaiah 30:10-12).

The problem lies in a man-centered view of missions and salvation (the happiness of man) rather than a God-centered view of missions and salvation (the holiness of God and His intention to make man holy for His glory). After Isaiah saw God's holiness he was forever changed and from then on spoke of the Holy One of Israel. Also it was then that Isaiah heard God ask not "who will go for them (lost mankind)" but "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" (Isaiah 6:8).

A man-centered approach to ministry will always result in a toned-down God (He's really not so Holy and so far above us), a lifted-up man (he's really not so bad and so far below God), and a watered-down message void of true heaven sent power.

Here is a five minute excerpt from Paris Reidhead's Ten Shekels and a Shirt that powerfully explains the correct philosophy (theology) of missions.

Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

Amen, Steve.

Preachers today just do not realize (or they turn a willfully blind eye to the fact) that they actually take away from God's Word when they do not faithfully proclaim it!

Sermonettes for christianettes will do nothing but further the shallowness of the American church, and make those preachers guilty of the blood of their hearers.

Carla said...

"When a man of God enters the pulpit and stands behind the sacred desk to preach God's Word, he should do so with humility, brokenness, urgency, and under the charge of heaven to preach the Word, in season and out of season - and nothing but the Word."

I am incredibly thankful and grateful that my pastor IS the pastor you've described here. He couldn't care less about being funny, trendy, or in any way culturally relevant. He stands in the pulpit to deliver God's word and does a convicting, challenging and encouraging job of it, week after week.

In our day, I know this is not a common experience that all believers share.

John said...

Great post Steve. I keep my sermon notes in a notebook and before I preach I read the following quotes,
"Sir, we wish to see Jesus." (John 12:21)
"Preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching." (1 Tim 4:2)
"The mantle of preaching is soaked in the blood of Jesus and singed with the fires of hell." (Piper)
And finally, "Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness and the exceeding wonder of grace."

Thanks again for a great post. I'm learning to walk to the pulpit, like Spurgeon, saying, "I believe in the Holy Spirit..." trying to remind myself that without Him anything I say will be useless and void, but with Him everything that I say that comes from His Word will not return void and it will produce fruit for His glory and for His glory alone.

It seems that far too much preaching is done for the glory of self rather than the glory of God and the result is a church full of people living for the glory of self rather than the glory of God.

thanks for a great post,

gigantor1231 said...

S.J.

From MacArthur's 'A Tale of Two Sons';

"And remember, whatever the Bible meant to the people to whom it was written, it means today. Whatever Jesus meant 'to say' to the people to whom He spoke is exactly what His words mean today. And one of the sad realities of our modern world is that we’re in a hurry to read the Bible and apply the Bible without ever interpreting it. And in an effort which is rather relentless, to rather update the Bible we ignore its original context, in a hurry to push it into the twenty-first century.
But if we are to draw out of this what God intended us to know and what He intended to reveal for our edification, it is critical that we understand that we must hear it the way the audience of Jesus heard it."

The word of God needs to be delivered within the context it was delivered then! It does not need to be embellished, added to, tweaked for relevance sake or amped up in any way because it is ***GOD'S WORD*** not yours!!! Present it in all of it's literal, grammatical-historical and cultural context then TRUST the Holy Spirit to do the rest! Preach it in such a way that those that hear it forget who you are but remember exactly what it is that God is saying to them, you decrease that He might increase.

Bible Burgh said...

Excellent post, Steve!

As I check in here from time to time, and on teampyro.blogspot.com, I am curious if any "on the fence" are coming back over into the light. Something to keep in prayer . . .

That is our mission at "Bible Burgh", a weekly radio program on WORD FM 101.5 in Pittsburgh on Sunday nights . . . of which we'd love to have YOU on as a guest for our August focus on "Preaching" (its all pre-taped). . . and if not, at least permission to quote your post here on preaching.

Thanks brother, God bless . . . and may we all remember "He is ALL you need!".

Mike Howard
BIBLE BURGH

SJ Camp said...

To All:
Been busy with all my kiddos this past week or so in a big way and am sorry I couldn't comment as I like here.

I so appreciate these helpful and encouraging thoughts by you all. I will begin here to address each one...

Thanks again for your patience,
Steve
Phil. 1:6

SJ Camp said...

pray4m3
Wonderful. That burden to preach begins as just that - a strong unrelenting desire coupled with the rigorous study that calliing demands.

May the Lord grant you the opportunity and occassion to exercise this gift and to serve Him and His church as one called to declare the whole counsel of God.

You have my prayers,
Steve

SJ Camp said...

arthur siddo
The sign of a godly preacher is not how entertaining he is, or how sincere he sounds, or how relevant, or how clever his jokes or stories or how many home visits he does. It is marked by his fidelity to the Word of God.

Bingo! Paul's words to young Timothy really say it all: "watch your life and doctrine closely."

Thank you my brother.
Steve

SJ Camp said...

the spokesman
A man-centered approach to ministry will always result in a toned-down God (He's really not so Holy and so far above us), a lifted-up man (he's really not so bad and so far below God), and a watered-down message void of true heaven sent power.

Amen!

When a man fears the Lord and has spent time before Him privately on his face in prayer - then his preaching publicly will be to please an Audience of One and not simply people please his hearers.

I always appreciate your words here.
Steve

SJ Camp said...

brian@vos
Sermonettes for christianettes will do nothing but further the shallowness of the American church, and make those preachers guilty of the blood of their hearers.

Quote of the day.

I know that many preachers today think that their congregations want three stories, five illustrations, two points and a verse - and all in a twenty minute little diddy.

When a preacher of God's Word dumbs down the pulpit to that degree then he should come away for a season and wrestle with God as Jacob until he is humbled and limps under His mighty hand so that the people will see that biblical preaching primariloy is all about Him and not about us.

I appreciate your blog as well brother. Keep on.
Campi

SJ Camp said...

Carla:
That has got to be such an encouragement to your pastor and to your whole family and church to have a man of God who faithfully preaches God's Word in that fashion.

May all our churches be as richly blessed as you have shared with us here.

Grace and peace,
Steve

SJ Camp said...

John
I keep my sermon notes in a notebook and before I preach I read the following quotes,

"Sir, we wish to see Jesus." (John 12:21)
"Preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching." (1 Tim 4:2)
"The mantle of preaching is soaked in the blood of Jesus and singed with the fires of hell." (Piper)
And finally, "Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness and the exceeding wonder of grace."


Very powerful brother! Thank you for sharing that with us here. I am going to inscribe that on the inside of my Bible. Good to remind ourselves that as we preach Christ Jesus as Lord, that we hold this treasure in earthen worn vessels. We are frail but He is strong. The power of great ministry is never because of the servant, but only because of the Master.

Well done...
Steve

SJ Camp said...

G:
I love that book by Mac and his powerful sermon series on it. Great quote and thank you for sharing it here.

I think your words really reflect again what preaching the whole counsel of God entails. Not just certain pieces of the gospel or God's Word; but all of it!

Paul's words to the church at Colosse sum this up for me when he said:

"Col. 1:28 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. Col. 1:29 For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me."

VIVIT,
Steve

SJ Camp said...

Bible Burgh:
Thank you for this invitation and I would be honored to be a guest on your program and to also have you use any portion of this article that can help in your broadcast on this theme.

Please email me to set up a time for this to occur.

I also agree that many who are on the fence are slowly coming back as well. The urgency of the hour of the days in which we live is pressing upon us. Serious times demand serious answers. This is not a season to whisper the truth; we need to live it out loud and proclaim it boldly and unashamed.

Grace and peace,
Steve

Bible Burgh said...

Steve:

Thanks for your willingness to be on the show . . . AND for your thoughts about those on the fence.

Our ministry for Bible Burgh was developed with two thoughts in mind . . . ONE . . . to support those who already believe/preach the Word (and to help them stay strong and encouraged) . . . and TWO . . . to encourage the "fencers" to come back before the go "emergent" or otherwise.

I have no way yet of knowing both locally or even across the globe if this is the case as we are too new and not yet well wired. To hear you say that this may be the case is very encouraging!!

I will contact you soon, brother!

Mike Howard
Bible Burgh

Believing Thomas said...

Steve -

I've long loved your music (as I did Keith Green's)as a modern-day prophet, forth-telling the truth that we NEED to hear, rather than the whitewashed drivel that we'd like to comfort ourselves that all is well. It's great for me to find this blog where issues of such gravity are found discussed.

I'd covet the prayers of all as my wife and I struggle to find a church in our area where this concept is embraced. Among many others, we recently attended a church where they teach from whatever the latest book is, rather than teaching from the Word.

The concept of "every wind of doctrine" is alive and well in the modern churh.