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Fleshly or spiritual preaching?

Not all preaching is equal because preachers fall all along the spectrum of talent, passion and righteousness. Those who preach aren’t any closer to God in rank than anyone else (Galatians 3:26-28).

While preachers are neither celebrities nor punching bags, they all have a powerful responsibility to truth.

“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2, NKJV).

We stand firm in the Bible because it’s inspired of God and able to save us (2 Timothy 3:16-17; James 1:21). The Word is the very essence of the Lord (John 1:1-2). Therefore, false doctrine is anathema to God and Satan’s playground (Galatians 1:8-9; 2 John 1: 9-11).

The power of the Word transcends our fleshly failings.  However, preaching can be dangerous if it springs from an evil heart. The darkness from our lives can obscure the light of the Lord’s message.

We must be transformed by the gospel (Romans 12:1-2) so the spiritual overrides the fleshly (Galatians 4:16-17). Everything in the Christian life comes from one of those two sources. Preaching is no exception.

A preacher who allows his flesh to dominate his presentation can teach in anger and malice and his words will fall on deaf ears and dead hearts. In fact, it can be more malicious than error because the hearer forever associates truth with evil.

Marvin Vincent said, “Men will not be won to the truth by scolding.”

When Jesus eviscerated the Pharisees in Matthew 23, he did so to clearly separate their teachings from truth of God’s Word. To get the Pharisees from there to salvation, however, would have required gentleness and love (Ephesians 4:15).

We must respect the word and our hearers, remembering that we were once without Christ (Romans 3:23).  The pulpit is about soul conviction instead of revenge, vengeance, alliance-building and a host of other fleshly pursuits. We glorify Christ when we preach (Ephesians 3:20-21).

We must boldly proclaim the Lord’s Word in purity and power. In doing so, we stand strong and humble and allow the Word to live, breathe and rage against sin.

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Richard lives in Florence, Alabama and is married to Deirdre. They have three daughters. He is an avid reader, devoted writer and lover of history and research. He is the author of "The Most Important Question" and is working on more books.

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