Daily Archives: 6 Feb 2018
The aim of preaching is speaking God’s word, not pleasing the crowd. Two passages of Scripture make this crystal clear:
In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came from the LORD, saying, “Thus says the LORD:`Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak to all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command you to speak to them. Do not diminish a word. `Perhaps everyone will listen and turn from his evil way, that I may relent concerning the calamity which I purpose to bring on them because of the evil of their doings.’ “And you shall say to them,`Thus says the LORD: “If you will not listen to Me, to walk in My law which I have set before you, “to heed the words of My servants the prophets whom I sent to you, both rising up early and sending them (but you have not heeded),”then I will make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.”‘”
So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD. Now it happened, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak to all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people seized him, saying, “You will surely die!” (Jer. 26:1-8)
So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me,`Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.'” Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. “But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; “but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. “And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. (Lk. 4:16-29)
Preaching sermons people like isn’t the preacher’s calling. Preaching God’s word to the assembly is, no matter what the assembly thinks it should be. The standard for preaching isn’t the sermon’s reception; it’s faithfulness to the one who gives it to the Preacher.
Then Elisha went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths. Then he went from there to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria. (2 Ki. 2:23-25)
So, remember the words of Jesus-
“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, “so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. (Matt. 6:16-18)
When they smear the ashes on your face to disfigure it, wash them right off because the last thing you want is anyone having any hint that you’re giving something up. That’s just piety for show. Let your pious deeds be private deeds so that they’re really done for God and neighbor and not so you can be seen doing them.
Be killed be the godless than be applauded by them.
Any pastor that makes theological decisions based on whether or not people will like or dislike those decisions is not fit to be a pastor. Pastors must keep their eyes on Scripture and their hearts in God, or get out of ministry immediately. They care only for the opinion of the crowd and not the opinion of God.
That’s why ‘Religion reporters’ are, by and large, really quite useless. If they don’t know the subject, they really shouldn’t talk about it.
You can always spot the churches that aspire to be corporations and not congregations. They use terms like ‘lead pastor’ and ‘pastor of children’s ministries’ and the like- because in corporations it’s titles that matter and in congregations they don’t at all.
If the place you go to worship has a lot of people with a lot of titles, you’re attending a corporation, not a congregation.
Jesus and American ‘Evangelicalism’: The Pharisees Are Alive and Well and Calling Themselves Evangelicals
“So the Pharisees questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites: This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” — Jesus
My boast is that I have injured no one’s life or reputation, but only sharply reproached, as godless and sacrilegious, those assertions, inventions, and doctrines which are against the Word of God. I do not apologize for this, for I have good precedents.
John the Baptist [Luke 3:7] and Christ after him [Matt. 23:33] called the Pharisees the “offspring of vipers.” So excessive and outrageous was this abuse of such learned, holy, powerful, and honored men that they said in reply that He had a demon [John 7:20]. If in this instance Latomus had been judge, I wonder what the verdict would have been!
Elsewhere Christ calls them “blind” [Matt. 23:16], “crooked,” “liars,” “sons of the devil” [John 8:44, 55].
Good God, even Paul lacked “evangelical modesty” when he anathematized the teachers of the Galatians [Gal. 1:8] who were, I suppose, great men. Others he calls “dogs” [Phil. 3:2], “empty talkers” [Tit. 1:10], “deceivers” [Col. 2:4, 8]. Further, he accused to his face the magician Elymas with being a “son of the devil, full of all deceit and villainy” [Acts 13:10].*
The gentle flowers in academic towers perched on soft comfy chairs and surrounded by pillows of ease these days find Luther too harsh and unpleasant only because, like the Princess, anything so rough as a single pea buried under multiple mattresses is too much for them to endure. To them I have the feeling Luther would say, “toughen up, Princess. There’s a war against falsehood to be waged”.
*Luther, ‘Against Latomus‘, Preface.