PASTORAL ADVICE: If you preach The Word, people will come.
ME: When The Word came, people crucified Him.
I had a guy tell me “Preach the Word and people will come.” I preached on a passage of Scripture that contradicted one of his favorite doctrines and he left the church. I love the irony.
If you preach the Word, one thing you will never preach is “If you preach the word people will come,” because the Word never says that.
What the Word says is stuff like: God’s wisdom is foolishness with man. Men hate the light and love the darkness. They will not endure sound doctrine but will heap to themselves teachers who will scratch their ears. And, of course, the chief example is when the Word Himself became flesh and dwelt among us–He came unto His own and His own received Him not.
Are we aware of what that means? It means people who think they wanted the Messiah didn’t really want Him once He showed up.
John describes Jesus as being the Word of God made flesh. There is much depth to that statement and I don’t pretend to be plumbing its depths here, but at least it means Jesus Christ is as much a revelation of God’s righteousness as the Scripture is, if not more. If people didn’t like Christ, what makes us think they will like His Word?
Try it sometime. You know the passages people in your church have agreed to ignore. You know the ones that will get you in trouble.
Maybe it’s Paul telling women to be silent in church, or wives to submit to husbands. Maybe it’s stuff about repentance and the necessity of good works in faith in James 2. Maybe it’s the Sermon on the Mount or the book of Revelation. I don’t know what it is for your church, but you do (if you don’t know your church’s weirdness, ask people outside your church that are familiar with people in your church! They know!).
What you’ll find is that people, in general, are not at all interested in what the Bible says. That’s why we defend our accepted niche of church tradition. As long as I can quote old, dead guys it doesn’t matter what the Bibles says. And they are OUR old, dead guys! They can’t be wrong!
Preach the Word, in season and out. Do it all the time and watch the people leave. Be prepared to take a pay cut, maybe even be prepared to eventually shut the doors of your church.
It’s not sad to shut for good the doors of a church that promotes terrible doctrine, this might actually be the best thing you’ve ever done for the Body of Christ!
There are way too many churches today and way too many pastors and way too many people pretending at Christianity. Start preaching the Word and weed out the pretenders. Stake your career on it. Go a Sunday without getting paid because there’s no money. See the embarrassment on the treasurer’s face when he tells you not to cash your paycheck. I’ve seen it.
If you preach the Word, I guarantee you your church will shrink. Guaranteed to happen every single time it’s tried. Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you. Do you have the faith and the guts to do it?
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness
–1 Corinthians 1:23