“A Clear Purpose”
Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
Periodically, I take some time to reflect on the work to which God has called me and the church has sent me. God has revealed the purpose. “… Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience and teaching.” 2Timothy 4:1-2
There are many tasks with which I can “busy” myself. Yet, I am accountable to God to Preach His Word! I am to preach when it is convenient and inconvenient; when I feel like it and when I “feel” like I’d rather do something else. My task is not to attract or motivate people. I am not about building a large congregation or overseeing the building of large facilities. My God-given task is His word. That is, in every setting, I must declare the truth that He has revealed.
Every activity in which I take part is centered on this singular task, the word of God. In writing these articles, I am moved at certain times to speak on current issues. I am very interested in politics. I enjoy reading and listening to political banter. I would encourage all who read this to do the same. We are not called by God to isolate ourselves from the public square. Rather, we are to engage with the world. Jesus said that His people are not of the world but are in the world, John 17:14-16 Christians are to be lights in this dark world. Those who are in Christ are new creations, 2Corinthians 5:17. Christians are to declare the message that God has reconciled the world to Himself in Christ, 2Corinthians 5:19-20.
Preaching the word does not mean that the preacher must tell people how to live or how to raise their children or who to marry or how to deal with divorce, etc. There are as many issues of life as there are people reading this article. There is a never ending array of life situations or stages in which Christians find themselves. We live in a sinful world. The whole world was impacted by the fall of Adam. Also, Christians desire to obey God and not sin, yet they do, 1John 1:8. The circumstances in which we find ourselves are consequences of the fall and/or our own sin. The promise that God has made to all who call upon the name of Jesus is that He will change us from the inside out. We work out our salvation with fear and trembling because God is at work in us to change us and make us more like Christ, Philippians 2:12-13. When we pass from this life to the next we will be perfect. And when Christ returns we will receive glorified bodies like His. We will see Him as He is and we will be like Him, 1John 3:2.
So then, if preaching the word is not about giving the people of God a list of “how to’s,” what is the essence of preaching the word? When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he declared the essence of preaching. “And I when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” 1Corinthians 2:1-2
First, Paul was not declaring his ignorance. He was ordained as a Pharisee before God broke into his life and made him a new creation. No, Paul was fluent in the Old Testament. He likely had most, if not all committed to memory. The only Bible that the Apostle Paul had was the Old Testament, which foreshadowed Christ. Therefore, Paul decided to know nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified! The ministry to which God had set Paul apart was to declare the Person and the Work of Jesus Christ.
To preach the word is to preach Jesus Christ. To preach the word the minister of the gospel must declare who Jesus Christ is and what He accomplished! Jesus is the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity. He is the God-Man, who gave His life as a “ransom for many.” He was raised bodily from the grave and rules all things. He is coming back in glory to judge the living and the dead! May God use my imperfect words expositing His to change lives for eternity.