How to Become a Better Preacher in 2019
We were honored to host the North American Roundtable on Preaching last week. I am an honored to report that at least 50% signed up for our next roundtable in 2021 (If our Lord tarries His coming).
A message may be constructed after the best models; it may conform to all the rules of homiletics; the text may be suitable and fruitful; the plan may be faultless; the execution may discover genius and judgment; there may be accurate analysis and strong reasoning, proof and motive, solidarity and beauty, logic and persuasion, argument direct and indirect, perspicuity, purity, correctness, propriety, precision, description, antithesis, metaphor, allegory, comparison; motives from goodness, motives from happiness, motives from self-love, appeals to the sense of the beautiful, the sense of right, to the affections, the passions, the emotions; a sermon may be all this, and yet that very message, even though it fell from the lips of a prince of pulpit oratory, is as powerless in the renewal of a soul as in raising the dead, if unaccompanied by the omnipotent energy of the Holy Spirit.
The Global Church Network desires to raise up tens of thousands of Bible-based pastors and Christian leaders worldwide.
In 1 Timothy 6: 9-14, we find the phrase, “You man of God.” That is the one two times that this phrase appears in the New Testament. They are both directed at Timothy. “Man of God” means a man that personally belongs to God. This is an official title. It appears seventy times in the Old Testament. Every time this phrase is used it represents the person who was uniquely the spokesman for God.
“Man of God” was first used of Moses who spoke for God. Then it was used of an angelic messenger from God who announced the birth of Samson. It was used of a prophet who spoke to Eli, the high priest, about the coming judgment upon his wicked family. It was used of Samuel who spoke divine truth. It was said of Elijah, Elisha, David, and many others. Every time the phrase, “Man of God” is used it designated an official messenger who came from God to proclaim His Word. Men of God are an elite line of men. Their lives are lifted above the worldly enterprises and devoted exclusively to divine and eternal matters. Any person who is called to preach the divine Word of God is a Man of God.
The Man Of God Is Known By What He Flees From
If we are going communicate the Gospel effectively we have to know who we are to be and what are assignment is to be during our lifetime. First, the Man of God is known by what he flees from (1 Timothy 6:11). “Flegei” means a “fugitive who keeps on continually fleeing.” We are fugitives of a sort. We are running men. We are fleeing from certain things. These things are highlighted in verse nine of our passage. The Man of God flees from the vices and evils associated with the love of money. Greed is our enemy. The love of money will destroy the Man of God.
The love of money is characterized by false teachers who preach for money. They make a merchandise of the Gospel. From Balaam to Judas to Simon they run the pages of Scripture. We are not peddling the Word of God. We are not to say what sells or what is popular. There is nothing wrong with accepting the gifts of material things but it is wrong to pursue them.
Paul never wanted to make the Gospel chargeable. He coveted no man’s silver or gold or apparel. He was content wherever he was. You can be a preacher or a pastor, but if you prostitute the gospel, you will never be a man o f God!
The Man of God Is Known By What He Follows After
Second, the Man of God is known by what he follows after (1 Timothy 6:11). Paul says follow after certain principles. He says to make these things our lifelong pursuit. God has called us to purse holiness. A renowned Puritan, John Owen said, “A minister may fill his pews, his communion role, the mouths of the public, but who he is on his knees in secret before almighty God, that he is and no more.” As we pursue holiness we need to remember that that holiness is the way to Christ but Christ is the way to holiness! The closer we come to Christ the more Christ-like become.
In Irish history, there is a story entitled, “The Red Hand Of O’Neil.” It is a model of the ancient O’Neils. Early in Ireland history, when it was still being conquered and claimed, a group on a expedition was rowing to a shore. The man who was in charge said, “The first man who places his hand on the shore possesses the shore and becomes the barren. One of those men was named, O’Neil. He rowed as fast as he could but another rower was stronger than him and took the lead to the shore. When O’Neil realized that he was not going to possess the land by rowing, he dropped the oars and seized a battle axe and chopped off one of his hands and threw it on shore! If we do not possess a red hot passion to pursue the person of Christ and His promises, we may be preachers but never a Man of God.
The Man Of God Is Known By What He Fights For
Third, the Man of God is known by what he fights for (1 Timothy 6:12). The Man of God is a boxer, a wrestler or a soldier. He is engaged in war. We must have the courage of our convictions. When Paul said, “Fight the good fight,” he was saying, “agonize the agony.” Boxing in Greek times, the gloves were fur lined on the insider and made of ox hide on the outside and filled with iron and lead. The loser had is eyes gouged out.
Most times, the Church does not know how to fight today because it does not know how to think right. The church cannot protect itself from outside forces because we have forgotten how to think. We are not fighting against flesh and blood. We are fighting against error and must win. We battle against the world, the flesh, the devil, sin, heresy, error, apathy and lethargy in the Church.
We are called to “keep the faith” or to keep the truth. We must get a grip on eternal life. We will not mind losing our life in this world if we have a firm grip on eternal life. I say it again, “we can be preachers and not fully understand these truths. But, men of God know why they are here and know how to execute a difference during their time on earth.
The Man Of God Is Known For What He Is Faithful To
Fourth, the Man of God is known for what he is faithful to (1 Timothy 6:13-14). The commandment refers to the whole of Scripture. The Man of God is charged in the presence of God, who is the God of life and Christ who was consistent and uncompromising with His own confession before Pilate’ to keep the Word of God without staining it or bringing reproach upon it until the Second Coming of Christ.
In verse 20, we are commanded to guard what has been entrusted to us. We have to guard the sacred treasure. If you don’t guard the treasure, you are not a Man of God. The Man of god is not known for how well he strokes the sheep; but how well he feeds them and protects them from the wolves. So many local churches today is a merry-go-round: crowded with people sitting down on a sit that they did not have to pay for; controlled by a man who has nothing to say; there is a lot of up and down motion, along with beautiful music, but everyone gets off where they got on!
Let’s us preach the Word, expecting signs and wonder to follow us!
Until The Last Person Has Heard,
Dr. James. O. Davis
Global Church Network
Cochair / Global Networking