Jump Start # 2719
Mark 12:37 “David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard Him gladly.”
Our passage today tells us that the common people not only heard Jesus, but they heard Him gladly. Other translations use the expression, they “enjoyed listening to Him.” Now, that’s something. They enjoyed listening to Jesus. I wonder how many would say that these days? Some might say that we need to hear Jesus and we ought to hear Jesus, but gladly? We like listening to music. We like watching our favorite team win. We enjoy good food. We like playing games with the kids or grandkids. But listening to a sermon? For some reason that just doesn’t make the list of enjoyable things to do for some people these days.
A friend of mine was going to speak to a group of young preachers. He had a great outline that he wanted me to look over. As I was reading it, I thought, “What good is preaching?” “Just what does preaching accomplish?” Now, did the audience enjoy listening to Jesus because He told some great jokes? Doubt it. Did Jesus always do shout outs and they hoped He’d call their name? Doubt it. Did Jesus make them feel better? Doubt it. The Lord often said some tough things. On one occasion His disciples said the crowd was offended. Another time, the people walked away from Jesus. The rich young ruler walked away when he didn’t hear what he was hoping for.
What good is preaching? Many are wondering that and you see this illustrated by preachers who no longer preach. They do other things. They tell jokes. They sing songs. They give self-help advice. They do just about anything and everything, except preach. They have moved beyond sermons. Doctrine lies in the dust. They have turned the church from disciples to consumers and the consumer is always right.
So, just what good is preaching these days?
First, it is through the preached word that Jesus becomes real to our eyes and salvation a reality for us. Our hope, our foundation, our future, our anchor rests upon the living word of God. Nothing beats the Bible. Nothing is better than the Bible. The more of the Bible that is in us, the less we fall apart and the greater our faith will be. We need more sermons, not fewer. We need straight forward, crystal clear, very plain preaching that helps us in our walk through this messy world. Encourage your preacher onward.
Second, preaching fortifies a new generation. One generation will hand the keys of this world over to the next generation. Those keys include the church. All it takes is for one generation to fumble spiritually and the domino effect starts. One generation takes one step away from God’s word. The next generation takes just one step away. The next generation takes just one step. In the course of just a few years, a generation will be so far away from truth that they will not even recognize it. And, isn’t that where culture has led us? So, preaching reaffirms that foundation in Christ. Preaching builds faith and hope in your hearts. Preaching shows how the Bible must form our choices and decisions. Future shepherds and leaders need to be cut from the same pattern that God has established and wants. A generation without the word is a generation that will be lost.
Third, preaching gives us real hope for this messy world. Worry, fear and doubt tend to follow us everywhere we go. Disappointment, discouragement and drudgery are not far behind. This world reveals problems but no solutions. We see what’s wrong, but we can’t see how to be right. That’s where preaching comes in. Preaching makes all the difference. It lifts weary hearts. It informs and drives out worry and fear. It motivates and gives us courage to press onward. It builds character and shapes hearts. It explains. It answers. It enlightens. Without Bible preaching, we are left on our own with nothing to hold on to and nothing to look forward to. Our faith is strengthened through Bible preaching. Confidence soars. Hope arises. And, onward we go, facing the giants of today, because of the truths, promises and hope that are established in God’s word. We don’t need a stack of degrees to counter the arguments of the world today. Our hope is in the word of God. And preaching puts that word right before us. Through good preaching words are explained. Contexts are made clear. And principles are identified.
Fourth, the key to growth, strength and the future lie in the preaching of God’s word. People may show up because the church building is close to their house. They may come because a friend invited them. But what’s going to keep them? They are going to find treasure that they can find no where else. The truths within their own Bible becomes real and practical. The differences we can make in our families and our communities comes from lives that are built upon solid Bible preaching. In this age of quick, convenient and easy, we shouldn’t short cut sermons. We don’t need less, we need more. More preaching. More application. More practical. More to the book. It’s lives that are built upon the rock of Christ that will withstand the storms of life. Those storms can be harsh. They can last a long, long time. But, God’s word can cut through the darkest fog and show us exactly what He wants of us.
My best friends are preachers, and they are good, good preachers. Some folks are intimidated and even scared of preachers. We don’t bite. I was on an airplane once. A man sat down beside me. He asked me what I did. I told him I was a preacher. He got up and found another seat. Some will do that. But not us.
Do you remember the first preacher you ever met? Many of us were little kids and the preacher seemed to be about three hundred years old and had a loud, booming voice. Loren Raines, in Indianapolis, is the first preacher I ever knew. I was a little kid. He moved on and has since moved to the next world. I never really got to talk to him. Years later, I was given a couple of books that had his signature in it. And, I realize that I now stand in his shadows. To the little ones that run around our church building, I must seem to be three hundred years old. But I try to talk to all of them. I want them to know my name. I want them to not be afraid.
God didn’t send movies. He didn’t float pictures down from Heaven. He sent preachers. Noah, Moses, the prophets, the apostles and even our Jesus were all preachers. There is something special about that preached word. It can stir the heart and it can lead us to the Lord.
There is a lot of good that comes from preaching.