The Purpose of Preaching
Text: Nehemiah 8:1-8
I. In the past, we have talked about various positions or duties in the church (elders, teachers)
A. Today, I would like to address the purpose of preaching.
B. There seems to be much confusion about what a preacher’s duty is
1. Many denominations refer to their ministers as pastor, but that title is suppose to apply to the eldership.
2. Though, to give them the benefit of doubt, many of their “pastors” do blend the duties of an elder with that of the minister.
C. One article, written by a member of the church, questioned the need for preachers
1. He stated they were too much of a problem to bother with; after all, they often cause division in the church. He even cited I Cor. 1:11-12 as proof.
2. Since denominational congregations revolve around the minister, he thinks there is too much temptation for a preacher to overstep his bounds in the church. Better to avoid the problem completely.
3. He also thought that preachers should evangelize and not be used as a pulpit speaker.
4. Finally, he thinks that ministers are too much of a drain on a local congregation’s budget. They should be self-supporting.
D. This confusion about the duties of a preacher, led one man to write:
1. Read “The Preacher”
II. What is a Preacher
A. The preacher is a duty within the church - Ephesians 4:11-13
1. Notice that preacher serves the local church, along with the elders and teachers, to equip the saints for service.
2. The notion that a preacher’s only duty is to reach the lost is false
a. I Thessalonians 2:9-10 - Paul and his companions proclaimed the gospel to the Thessalonian believers.
b. In Titus 2:1, Paul tells the preacher Titus to speak sound doctrine and then lists the things he is to tell. They all involve members of the church.
c. Titus 3:8 - Speak confidently so that believers may be careful to engage in good deeds.
3. Preachers are also to reach for those who are lost - Romans 10:14-15
B. Timothy was told to pay heed to public reading, exhortation, and teaching - I Timothy 4:6, 11, 13, 16
1. This teaching was a part of the worship of the saints - I Corinthians 14:26
III. The Purpose of Preaching
A. To Explain the Scriptures
1. It is so simple, many forget about the need.
2. In Stephen’s sermon (Acts 7), 1/3 of his sermon was from the Old Testament.
a. His audience knew the passages well.
b. But Stephen explained what they meant and how they applied to them.
3. When Philip approach the Ethiopian Eunuch, the man asked him about a passage he was reading (Acts 8:34).
a. Philip then explained the Scripture to him.
4. Ezra, a priest and scribe of God, read the law of Moses to the people.
a. Neh. 8:7 - Notice that he helped the people understand the law with aid from other Levites.
b. Neh. 8:8 - They gave sense to the Law and helped the people understand the Law.
B. Hold up the Scriptures as a guiding light
1. Men of God simply proclaimed God’s message to mankind.
a. There was no need for appeals to modern theological thought or reason
b. John 8:32 - It is the pure, simple truth that makes us free
2. The appeal was not emotionalism either
a. I Cor 2:6-13 - They presented God’s revealed message.
b. Eph 3:4 - That message gives understanding
C. Disturb people in error
1. Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 did not soften the blow — He accused his audience of killing the Son of God.
a. Acts 2:37 - The people were cut to the heart
b. Cutting a man to the heart is not a pleasant task, but it is necessary to bring the end result of salvation.
2. Unless someone is blunt, a man may never know his condition.
a. They may never cry out, “What must I do to be saved?”
b. Some preachers have neglected their duty to teach the whole gospel, leaving their audience with messages that only make them feel good about themselves.
3. Notice Paul’s instruction to Titus - Titus 2:15
a. Speak - To tell others. All preaching is not two-way dialogue.
b. Exhort - To invite others to hear. A preacher’s goal is to persuade men with the truth.
c. Rebuke - To tell others their fault. A preacher is not doing his job unless he steps on your toes at times.
d. With all authority -
(1) The preacher is delivering the message of God. The message is not optional or suggestive. A preacher must present the commands of God as commandments.
(2) It is not based on the authority of the preacher, but the authority of God.
(3) It should not be surprising that some will not like to be rebuked and they will object to the solid presentation, but that does not change the preacher’s duty.
D. Present Christ as the only hope of the world
1. The first thing Paul did in each city was to lift up Christ and declare him to be their only hope.
2. I Cor 2:2 - He kept his message simple and direct.
3. Salvation does not come from preaching politics or moral platitudes, our only hope is in heaven.
E. Teach about the church
1. A recent catch phrase has been to “preach the man, not the plan.”
2. We cannot preach about the King without mentioning His kingdom. We cannot mention the Groom without talking about His bride.
3. Teaching the gospel brought people into the church
a. Acts 2:47 - men were added daily
b. Philip preached about Jesus, but the eunuch wanted to be baptized
4. Jesus promised to build His church - Matt 16:18
a. Only through the church will people be saved - Eph 5:23
5. Denominations, divisions from the true church, built by men, will be uprooted - Matt 15:12-13
IV. What a preacher is not
A. A preacher is not a professional speaker
1. Society’s idea of a good preacher is a man who can hold an audience’s attention. The content of his message doesn’t matter as long as his voice is soothing and he makes an entertaining presentation.
2. Few would have been impressed with Paul
a. I Cor 2:1-5 - Paul thought smooth words distracted from the wisdom of God.
b. He did not use flattering speech - I Thess 2:5-6
c. The importance was that it was God’s words, not man - I Thess 2:13
B. A preacher is not perfect
1. No one is immune from temptations - I Cor. 10:13
2. Though a preacher must always keep in mind that he is God’s messenger. The things he does reflects on both God and His message.
3. I am frequently amazed what people, who call themselves preachers, think they can get away with - Tit 1:16
C. A preacher is not in it for the money
1. There are many in denominations who make a healthy sum from their work - Tit 1:10-11
2. It is not that a preacher should not be paid - I Cor. 9:4-14
a. And this answers the foolish man’s contention that preachers should not be paid.
3. The point is that a preacher goal, his desire is to preach the gospel. Being supported by the local congregation only frees him to spend more time in that godly pursuit.
4. Even if I received nothing, I would only find a job and continue teaching the blessed word.
V. Preaching is what the preacher makes the job to be. If done correctly, it is a difficult commandment to follow - II Tim 4:1-5
A. Unfortunately, few take up the burden. Pray that more feel the need to spread the wisdom of God through the foolishness called preaching. - Matt 9:37-38