Africa-Press – Malawi. Preaching is quickly deteriorating into a circus of theatrical antics. What used to be a holy platform for the gospel has been degenerated into a podium of rhetoric performance.
From irrelevant entertainment stories, to unprepared sermons, to heretical exposition of God’s word the pulpit has metamorphosed. What we do not know is that the pulpit is holy ground.
A place where God’s word is spoken to people. A place consecrated for one purpose and one purpose only – the edification of the church through God’s Holy Word. The pulpit is a place of serious business.
A sermon delivered with God’s power can be the whole difference between life and death for the person sitting in the pew of the church or listening through the airwaves of radio and television.
Acts 2 verse 37: “Peter’s words pierced their hearts and they said to him and to the other apostles, brothers, what should we do?” This was the beginning of pulpit ministry after the ascension of Jesus.
His disciples took up the mantle of preaching from their master and began to address crowds about the gospel. The passage in Acts 2 is very clear that Peter’s words pierced their hearts.
When was the last time you felt pierced by your pastor’s sermons? It does not matter how a preacher screams from the pulpit, if God’s power is not with him, people’s hearts will not get pierced.
The power to pierce, rebuke and convict a sinner’s heart lies in the hands of God himself through the person of the Holy Spirit. Preaching is expository. Exposition is simply the unpacking of what is there.
If we expect God to re-reveal Himself by His own words, then our expositions must reflect as faithfully as possible what God actually said when the words were given to us in scripture.
Preaching is heraldic. As ambassadors, we are tasked with making known the stance and intentions of our Sovereign God. However, He has not given us authority to tamper with His position.
Preaching is not an end in itself. The faithful preacher will care little what the folk think of his oratorical skills; he will care a great deal about whether he has faithfully represented the master and His message.
This includes a passionate commitment to make the word wound and heal, sing and sting. Preaching is contextual. We must study our own people, the culture of the people to whom we minister….
To communicate effectively, we must address the people of the time and place where God has placed us. All these attributes of a good sermon cannot happen if a preacher is not willing to invest in prayer time, study and quiet time of personal reflection with God before climbing the pulpit.
One of the biggest challenges about preaching is that preachers become very defensive when you assess them. They use the Holy Spirit as a convenient scapegoat.
As the spirit leads, they say. What they often forget is that the Holy Spirit is part of a triune God of order. How can an orderly God make you preach continuously for hours, completely boring people off their benches?
Lack of time management on the pulpit should not be lamped on the Holy Spirit. And then there are preachers who use the pulpit to attack their enemies.
When you climb the pulpit, fight one enemy; the devil. Attacking people from the pulpit is an abuse of the pulpit. The word of God is enough to convey rebuke to your enemies.
Besides, God commands us to love our enemies – meaning if you are a preacher, you should be more concerned that your enemies should come to Christ than perish in hell. When the pulpit is not used accordingly, it becomes abuse. Pulpit abuse does not edify the church. It destroys it.