What do the churches of America need? While it is obvious we are in need of something, it seems that multitudes are neglecting what we need the most. The hope for America is Spirit-filled men of God preaching the Word of God. I Corinthians 1:21 tells us, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Paul, as a veteran preacher, instructs Timothy the young preacher, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (II Timothy 4:1-2) During his earthly ministry, Jesus was a preacher! The gospel of Luke tells us, “And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him.” (Luke 8:1) If we are going to see revival in America, it will be when the pulpits of America return to preaching the Word of God.
As Jeremiah the prophet laments the state of his nation, he delivers a message from God to the pastors. This message starts with a sobering and grievous rebuke, “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:1) In the middle of this message from God to the pastors, the book of Jeremiah records something that should be a flashing warning to us today. Jeremiah 23:22 powerfully states, “But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.” —WOW! What a warning to us today. If the pastors had been spending time with God and been faithful to deliver a message from God, it would have changed their nation.
The problems our nation faces today could be fixed if the pulpits of America were fixed. Men of God need to see again the importance of having a message from God. Christians need to realize their need for Bible preaching. While it may seem that America is too far gone; with the power of the Word of God there is still hope, but the Word of God must be preached.
Let me share with you several observations about Bible preaching found in the book of Jeremiah.
1. Bible preaching preaches the whole councel of God
In many cases it is not what is being preached that is the problem, but rather what is not being preached any more. The Lord instructs us in Jeremiah 26:2, “Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word.” We are not to leave anything out of God’s message. We are not even to water it down —“diminish not a word.”
The Bible is God’s love letter to man and is the most encouraging and inspiring book written. However, God’s love also includes some strong warnings and commandments that cannot be left out of our message. We are doing people an injustice when we only preach the “positive” and never deliver what many would deem the “negative.” Bible preaching must deliver the whole councel of God.
2. Bible preaching looks to God for its message and approval
The ministry of Jeremiah was not one of popularity. In fact the opposite was true. Jeremiah was a very unpopular preacher. Jeremiah though, was not concerned about what the crowd thought of his message. He looked only to God for the message and approval he needed. Jeremiah 26:12 tells us this, “Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard.” When we begin to look for man’s approval on our message we are entering a dangerous place. We need to go to God for our message and be satisfied with His approval alone.
3. Bible Preaching is rarely popular with the “religious crowd”
Jeremiah’s ministry was not an easy work; he was rejected by most and spent many of his days in prison. As you read through the accounts of his life and ministry you find that most of the time the trouble he faced over his message was from the religious rulers of the day. Jeremiah’s preaching contradicted their worldly agenda and message of false peace. Jeremiah’s message put a spotlight on their sins and faults. They said he was just being obstinate and he was unable to get along with those around him. They hated his message so much there were many times they tried to kill him. Jeremiah 26:8, “Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die.”
I find the same thing is true of biblical preaching today. Often it is the so called religious crowd that is against Bible preaching the most. They don’t like preaching that shines a light on their sins and worldly ways. They are happy as long as you are crying peace, peace. However, the second you preach the whole councel of God they will declare you a divisive instigator that is just trying to cause trouble. The goal of biblical preaching has always been and always will be truth and not unity.
4. Bible preaching never loses hope
The most amazing thing about Jeremiah’s preaching is that even after years of people rejecting his message he never lost hope in the power of the message! He knew that the message he had was from God and that in the end, God’s message would prevail. It was that fact that kept him preaching with hope for those he was preaching to — he had faith in the message.
In chapter 36 you find Jeremiah shut up in prison, so he sends the message to the people by a messenger. As he is instructing the messenger to read the message to the people he says this in verse seven, “It may be they will present their supplication before the LORD, and will return every one from his evil way.” Even as he is shut up in prison for his message he still has faith in the message he was called to preach.
If we are called men of God, preaching the Word of God, we have God’s promise that His Word will not return void. There is power in the Bible if we will be faithful to just preach the Bible. As you stand to preach a message you know is from God, you can have hope in the message you preach.
5. Bible preaching needs to be delivered from a tender heart
After years of being mocked and rejected, Jeremiah preaches on and somehow keeps a soft and tender heart towards the hard people he is preaching to. Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet. Jeremiah was used of God to pen the book of Lamentations, and it is in this book you read of the tender heart this preacher had for those he was preaching to.
While our message may not always be popular and received it can always be delivered out of love. As we stand up and boldly proclaim “thus saith the LORD,” we must proclaim it with the love of God in our hearts. While we “cry aloud and spare not” (Isaiah 58:1) it will be the tear in our eye that engrains the message into the heart of those listening.
If America will be saved she will be saved when the pulpits of America return to Bible preaching.
Jeremiah 23:22, “But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.”