2 Corinthians 4:5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
One of the biggest mistakes that the American church is making today occurs when preachers preach for their audience and not for the sake of the Gospel. I see too many churches falling into this life-application, life-style series, and life affirming type of preaching. It makes the hearers the center of the preaching, instead of Christ. It makes the congregation the focus of the message, instead of Christ’s ministry. It makes modern Christians the reason for the sermon, instead of the Good News.
And the trouble is this: American Christians don’t see it happening. They turn out in their thousands to hear Gospel charmers and narcissistic preachers who will stroke their egos and pander to their desires. Instead of being humble and becoming servants, the church audiences become proud and arrogant, spoiled and indignant (just visit any restaurant after mega-church members finish worship and you’ll see how badly they treat their servers).
The purpose of preaching is to preach the Gospel. And not just any Gospel – we preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ – where we are told to repent of our sins, to recognize our fallen ways, to seek the blood of Jesus to cleanse us of the past, and to place our lives, hearts, and souls into His hands. It’s not about life-style, or life-application, or life affirmation – it’s about needing Christ as our Savior and putting all our faith in Him alone.
Thankfully, there are small churches all over America where this Gospel is being preached. Their membership may only measure 30, 60, or 100, and they may never take over whole communities like the mega-Goliaths who swallow up local resources to feed themselves. But those small churches with their God-fearing members and Gospel preaching pastors are doing the true work of Christ, and they usually serve in the poorest of areas and hardest places to present the Gospel. They truly are servants for Jesus’ sake and they do not preach themselves.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, teach us the hard lessons of humility and service. Forgive us for turning the Gospel into a sugar-coated and syrupy message that panders to our life-style choices, instead of letting it challenge and change our lives. Bless those wee churches who struggle each week trying to preach Gospel truths and who serve You faithfully. Enable us to follow their example, instead of trying to be something You never called us to become. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.