Friday, December 12, 2008

Preaching to the Choir

-I know this is a long blog (too long even) but I got really upset at some comments left on a Christian Chronicle Article-
Read the comments and you will understand. I've previously posted this on my Facebook, but some have not read it.

Are we encouraging our young men to be preachers? Do we believe that being a preacher is a valid occupation? Do we care about the welfare of the Church? At the rate that preachers are being turned out in the next fifty years there will be one preacher for every four churches. For every man that goes into the lifestyle of being a godly man accurately handling the word of God, there are two preachers leaving, whether they die or turn to denominationalism. Are we encouraging our young men to be preachers? At a recent retreat, Denny Petrillo, the Director at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver, asked a question to fifty preachers, elders and deacons. He asked, “How many of you have encouraged a young man to be a preacher?” No one raised their hand. How sad it is that we can see the need for preachers in the brotherhood, but we refuse to do anything about it. Are we afraid? What is there to fear? Do we care? “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things” (Romans 10:14-15)! How awesome it is to call on Jesus, but how will someone call on Jesus whom hasn’t heard of him? How great it is to know the word, but what is the profit to God or anyone else if it is not proclaimed? How will it be proclaimed if no one is sent? We have a responsibility to teach our children that Jesus is worth their lives. We have to, and I stress have to, teach our children that people’s eternal souls are at risk and we have to be concerned for them. “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). We must encourage our young men to preach to the world, but we must first be an example.Do we believe that being a preacher is a valid occupation? Outside of the Church there is a school of thought that says that we should make something out of our lives that will make us rich. If you’re not rich or doing better than your neighbor then you had better go back to school so that you can know more than them. We’d all like to be successful, but is our success measured in quantity of dollars or amount of education? May it never be. Our success is measured by our work for the Lord. We must bear fruit. We must lay up for ourselves treasures, not on earth where rust corrupts and thieves steal, but where rust does not corrupt and thieves do not steal: in Heaven. If one knows everything about biology and they’ve purchased everything their hopes and dreams have ever desired, it is still all for naught. 2 Peter 3:10-11 tells us that everything on earth is going to burn up, so we need to be godly having holy conduct. There’s nothing shameful about being a man preaching the word of God, for his treasures are laid up in Heaven and God will justly reward. Let’s try something every man and woman in Christ, let’s be rich. Let’s be rich in love for the word and rich with our treasures laid up in Heaven. In comparison there is no more valid occupation than that of preaching the word of God. Our success, as Christians, is measured by God, not by society peering in our wallets. We must work the school of thought that is on the inside of the Church, to the outside where the world can be conformed to Christ, but we can’t do this without a preacher.Do we care about the welfare of the Church? “I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18). Jesus says that he is going to build His church upon a rock. What is that rock? In verse 16 Peter says that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Peter told the truth. Peter didn’t need it to be revealed to him by flesh and blood. Peter discerned this by himself from the evidences that he’d seen. Do we care about the welfare of the Church? The Church is built upon a rock of truth, the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. In a way the question becomes; do we care about the truth? The brotherhood universities, schools, and institutes are being infiltrated by those who do not care about the truth. When I was attending Freed-Hardeman University I was not a Christian and did not understand the importance of testing the faculty as to their understanding of truth. It now means the world to me and the brotherhood is eternally indebted to such practices. These past couple of years the Tulsa Workshop has not been what it once was. There have been denominational guests that have been invited, not for debate, but to lecture and teach. When asked about this, the coordinators said that they do this because the so-called conservative brethren will not come. The conservative brethren were attacked by the liberal brethren, and now the liberal brethren will only listen to the denominational ‘pastors’. The conservative brethren gave it up. They didn’t want to be attacked, so they just stopped accepting the invitation. It’s sad. The cause was not lost. There was a lack of care for the Church and for the truth. We need to care. It is everything. What is our passion? What is it that drives us? What makes us servants? There is an answer to each of these questions, but the answer only lies in our actions. The Church will be defined by the same. I feel so blessed to be a part of the Church, and to be a student studying to be an effective preacher at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. Teenage men, to younger men, to middle aged men and older gentlemen, there is a calling. We are called in one hope of our calling to do the work, and there is work to be done. The Director of the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver instituted, as it were, a new award at the Homecoming Banquet this year. He called it a ‘NUAC’. ‘NUAC’ stands for Not Under Any Circumstances. At first hearing this word ‘Newac’ it little to no sense. Even the explanation meant nothing to me. Denny went on to say, “This award goes to man whom not under any circumstances sacrificed the validity and the accuracy of the word of God.” This is now the only thing that I went written on my tombstone. It really means something to rightly divide the word of God, and the fact there is now an award for it tells us that this is few and far between. Not under any circumstances can we let this go on.With twice as many preachers leaving as are coming in we have a lot of work to do, but it must be done, and it can be done. With help, hard work, perseverance, and encouragement we can make the Church one that the gates of Hades will not over power. Christ said the gates wouldn’t and it is our job as the gate watchers to make sure of Christ’s promise. In order to do this we have to have men preaching the gospel. There are schools like Sunset, Bear Valley and Brown Trail School of Preaching that are turning out men as fast as they can, but there is something that we all need to be doing apart from the schools. We need to be encouraging young men to want to be preachers. We need to understand that there are souls that are lost, and that God desires to have the world reconciled to Him. That’s why He sent His son to die for the world, not just you and me. It can be comforting knowing that we’re saved, but it ought to put a fire under us knowing that there is a greater fire waiting for those who know not our God. We have to believe that preaching is a valid occupation. Really, it is more than that. Preaching is a lifestyle, a calling, and a privilege. Lastly, we have to care about the welfare of the Church. The line between truth, opinion, and acceptability is being skewed as we breathe every breath. When we understand that it is not only the Bible that is being challenged, but it is our Lord and God that is being questioned and put on the backburner by society we will understand why we need more preachers handling the word carefully and accurately. We must encourage our young men to preach. We must believe that preaching is the most important occupation and lifestyle in the world. It is dire that we care about the welfare of the Church. Do you?

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