Posts Tagged ‘courageous preaching’

Several weeks ago, I visited a large church near my home.

The pastor was preaching through Ephesians.  His text for the morning was Ephesians 5:15-21.  Paul says in the famous verse 18, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.  Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”

The pastor stated: “I’m not going to talk about drinking,” and then proceeded to talk about being filled with the Spirit.

But there are two commands in that verse: “Don’t get drunk” and “be filled with the Spirit.”  Why ignore the one and expound the other?

(By the way, I know some people who attend that church, and their families need a clear word from God on the biblical use of alcohol.)

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m seeing a trend among many preachers that can be summed up this way:

“When I teach, I’m only going to deal with what is spiritual and ignore that which challenges people’s personal lives or today’s culture.  If I’m preaching through a passage, and Scripture forbids a practice that many in my congregation are doing, I’m just going to hopscotch over it and not deal with it.”

This makes me wonder: How many times do pastors in our day leapfrog over clear biblical prohibitions because they know that many in their congregations are engaging in that particular sin?

I’ll give you an example.  When is the last time you heard a pastor say that because the Bible teaches that God designed sex exclusively for a heterosexual marriage relationship, premarital sex and living together outside of marriage displease God?

Or when can you recall a pastor teach that Scripture forbids a believer from marrying an unbeliever?

Why is there such reluctance on the part of so many shepherds to preach against the sins that their sheep are actually committing?

My guess is that the pastor is afraid that:

*people won’t like him.

*people will give him critical feedback.

*people will leave the church or stop giving.

*he doesn’t know enough about those sins to say anything insightful.

*he might jeopardize his career and retirement.

But isn’t it part of a pastor’s calling to preach the whole counsel of God by warning people against sins that can destroy their lives, families, and relationships?

The father of the Protestant movement, Martin Luther, once said:

“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point that the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ.  Where the battle rages is where the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is merely flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

We need pastors in our day who preach truth with grace but don’t hopscotch over the tough issues.

And if we had more pastors like that, we’d have healthier families, churches, and communities.

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