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Training Men to Preach:
A Task of the Church

By Joseph Meador

religion, articles, christianity

For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe" (I Cor. 1:21). Preaching was a potent force of the ancient apostolic church to enlarge the kingdom and to defend the faith. Training men to preach is one duty of the church!

Sadly however, it is a task that seems unimportant to many. In some churches preaching has become meaningless. As our generation becomes more self-centered and less spiritual, preaching is discounted. One modem preacher became very prophetic:

Scrambling for acceptability in the world, the church is embellishing the gospel with anything and everything but the truth. Instead of preaching the Word, the church is foundering in a slump of worldliness and self-indulgence. With its growing infatuation with psychology, show business techniques, and extreme mysticism, the church is giving in to the notion that Christ alone simply is not sufficient to meet people's real needs.

Preaching Jesus Christ

Christianity, in the middle period of the Roman Empire, caused the greatest spiritual upheaval in the history of humans. The life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth altered every aspect of life and thought.

This change was not caused by violent civil disobedience nor by political rebellion. Preaching inspired this godly reform. The message of the Gospel was the energizing force of the primitive Christian community.

The dominant themes of the Gospel message death, burial, resurrection, and, therefore, the living hope of a happy life beyond the grave - made actual by obeying the commands to believe and be baptized, worship in spirit and truth, practice clean living, and give service to others propelled the church into frequent hostile conflict with the Jews and the pagan world. Preaching the Gospel of Christ turned "the world upside down."

Preaching the Gospel

Preaching the Word has had a central place in the system of genuine Christianity since its beginning (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16). Jesus said, "Go, preach, baptize believers, and teach some more." Preaching to the lost, edifying believers, and showing benevolence toward the deserving needy have been characteristics of faithful congregations since the Pentecost of Acts chapter two. These three great tasks form the purpose and mission of the church in every age. It is the preaching of the Gospel that must be at the heart of the church's work. To evangelize the world and strengthen the saved is her primary purpose. The pioneer preacher and scholar, Robert Milligan, in his sermon entitled "The Great Commission" said:

The last commission of Jesus Christ to his twelve apostles is the fundamental law of the kingdom of heaven on earth. In harmony with its principles and sublime enunciations, the apostles went everywhere preaching the Word. ... It seems strange, therefore, that more has not been written on this organic law of the kingdom; and that greater efforts have not been made to make the people understand its bearings, not only on the ministry of the apostles, but also on that of the church through all coming time.

We must be aware of the great prominence Jesus assigned to the work of preaching: "And He said unto them, Let us go into the next town, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth" (Mark 1:38).

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Published May 1993