Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My One Thing: Save the Lost

Recently several preachers were asked to share their "one thing." This was the one thing that we as preachers who have been around for a few years would share with younger preachers. I submitted my one thing, and I would like to share it with you. I hope you know that this applies not just to preachers, but to all Christians, who are supposed to preach in some capacity (Acts 8:4).

I know a man who started preaching in the late 1940’s. By 1958 he moved with his young family across the world to give people the gospel in a land he had never visited. He can still tell stories about the first converts in several countries during that period and how the church reached them. When he came back to the states his local work consisted of all the things preachers do plus something only a few preachers do anymore – personal evangelism.  This same man retired from doing any pulpit preaching after 63 years because of macular degeneration and the challenges of Alzheimers . He recently moved across the country to be closer to his daughter, and now lives with his wife in their home in a new town and in a new culture. The first thing he did when they moved in was walk down his street to see if he could get anybody in his neighborhood to study the Bible with him.

The one thing every preacher needs to know is that preaching is about soul-winning.  Immaculate sermons and writing articles and books and getting your doctorate will mean very little to the billions of people who will be lost on Judgment Day. Unfortunately, the culture of the 21st century church has migrated from the mission field to the church directory. Programs and keeping supposedly mature Christians happy has replaced the ultimate goal of spreading the precious news of the gospel of Christ.

What occupies your mind on a regular basis? When you are mowing your lawn or taking a shower or when you are anywhere where you are on your own with a chance to think clearly, what concerns do you have? What best qualifies a man to spend his life preaching the gospel is a love for souls.  This is what you should be thinking about. You should be worried about their lost state. You should be brainstorming new angles and ways to reach them. Your contemplations about your actual sermon delivery should be driven by your desire to change eternity.

The pulpit is in trouble. Too many men are hiding behind it. Get out of the building. Get out of the office. Hit the streets and knock on a door! Renew the plea of the church for which you preach. Make the plea the great commission! How many Bible studies have you conducted in the last year? How many people have you baptized who weren’t already in your building first? It does not matter how many people are already attending where you preach. It does not matter how many great works your congregation may have going. What matters is that people are dying every day in your community who are outside of Christ. You cannot save the whole world, but Jesus died trying so you would die trying.

From the elders down the line, the local church needs to understand its mission. You are the preacher, and your job involves giving spiritual direction to your congregation. If the church takes on the personality of the preacher, as some suggest, is the church where you preach evangelistic? If not, either you are not evangelistic or you are not using your influence for the right things.

A love for souls cannot be taught. You can’t take a seminar or read an article that will make you love souls. A love for souls comes when the word of God takes root in your heart. A love for souls happens when you understand the saving power of the blood of Christ. A love for souls overcomes you when you realize that your soul was loved first. Why? Why did somebody love your soul? When you understand who God is you will know why and you will love souls, too.

There was a time in the history of our world when the Bible was literally chained to the pulpit. If we are honest we would admit that many weeks have gone by when we have chained it ourselves. Preachers, rip that Bible from its moorings and take into somebody’s living room. Take it to the church library or a classroom and share it with someone outside of office hours. Go across the world with it for a few weeks and renew your commitment to the greatest story ever told. Do whatever it takes. Remember why you preach!

1 comment:

  1. Great article. Thank you for this much needed emphasis!