America is a nation which loves arrogant personalities with shock jock and intimidating communication traits. We see this in sports, news commentaries and politics. Sad to say, we also see this in preaching. In spite of the instructions from God’s Word, we constantly observe preachers, who are supposed to represent the “Lamb of God,” spouting insulting and obnoxious antics and statements…their speech betrays their own claims. It is the Shibboleth of our generation. (Judges 12:5-6)
Truth, as beautiful and liberating as it is, has baggage which comes with it. That baggage is the ability to make us arrogant and high-minded, as if we invented it and are the source. Nothing wrong about proclaiming truth, however, when we declare it in an coercive and arrogant fashion, we contradict the very spirit and character of truth…which is the spirit and character of Jesus. He is the Truth! (John 14:6)
If we keep ourselves upon the altar of prayer, repenting and dealing with our inclinations toward self reliance and pride, the Holy Spirit will work through us by making us broken vessels which reveal the glory of Christ. Satan and his imps are constantly waiting to pounce upon our lack of brokenness and humility, and to entice us to move into a disrespectful and graceless mode of communication. Let us be careful to preach from our knees!
If we Pastors, who are entrusted with communicating the life changing message of Jesus, will take serious the Word’s instructions for us, we will never justify the lack of humility or respect in our presentation of the Gospel. Respect is not just for our friends or fellow believers. It is also for our enemies and those hostile toward Christianity.
Let us pray through this list with confession and repentance before our Lord and it will be amazing what His Spirit will show us.
- Speak Truth in Love (Eph. 4:15)
- Avoid foolish and ignorant controversies (2Tim. 2:23)
- Kind to everyone (2Tim. 2:24)
- Patiently enduring evil (2Tim. 2:24)
- Correcting our opponents with gentleness (2Tim. 2:24)
- Speak evil of no one (Tit. 3:2)
- Avoiding quarreling (Tit. 3:2)
- Show courtesy (Tit. 3:2)
- Remember our past (Tit. 3:3)
- Remember God’s Grace to redeem us from our sin (Tit. 3:4-7)
What kind of testimony would the church have in our communities if our leaders pursued the character traits listed above? Yes, we would still have those who hate us because of the truth of God’s Word. However, at least their personal accusations against us would be recognized as false by anyone who is honest.
With few exceptions, what we see in the pulpits of America, especially among young church planters, is not the sharing of the Gospel with the Spirit of humility taught by the Apostle Paul. Instead, we are faced with peach fuzz prophets and worldly pastors who seem more concerned about being hip with the language and attitudes of the latest generation. Our pastors and church planters, for the sake of riches and popularity, are adapting a shock and awe methodology, obsessed with writing books and sermons on sex or any other socially controversial topic.
The preaching of God’s Word from a broken and respectful leader is the greatest threat to the kingdom of darkness. It carries not only the innate anointing of the Scriptures, but also a personal anointing from the messenger. (1Cor. 2:1-5; 1Thess. 1:5; 2:10) Fads will come and go. Hot shot yuppies will come and go. And those converted through these foolish tactics will also disappear and become disillusioned. Some of us are old enough to have seen and witnessed this. However, when our focus is upon lifting Jesus before the people with the simplicity of the Gospel, and equally seeking to hide our talents and communication in the shadow of Calvary’s Cross, then the message of redemption shines with force and life changing power.
When we abandon our knees in prayer and confession, we quickly ride upon the horse of pride and intimidation. Oh, Lord, help all of us whom you have called into ministry to preach from our knees, and start with me…