Given that I am a newbie in the world of gospel ministry I am learning a lot, a lot of the time. And one area in particular that this is the case is in preaching or delivering a bible talk. Yes, you are taught and you have the opportunity to speak whilst training. But when you have the responsibility to deliver God’s word week in and week out you quickly learn that you are not capable of undertaking this task.
However, this is not how the human mind works. I don’t know about you but I tend to overestimate my abilities and forget just how easy it is to follow the meandering road into a number of pitfalls. Here are some that I discovered in preparation to speak about the cross and the resurrection.
Our theology brings salvation
For good reason I want to be clear about what is happening at the cross and at the resurrection. It is my desire to see people’s minds renewed. It is my desire for people to view for themselves the height, depth and breadth of what it is that God has done to reveal his glory and provide salvation.
But it is so easy to begin to believe that somehow my theology will bring people closer to salvation. In one sense it does help to point people to Christ and hopefully it well help them to make greater sense of God’s plan of salvation. However, I don’t want people to know the God I know; I want them to know God! More than that, I want them to have a deep and personal relationship with the king who loved them and gave himself for them (Gal 2:20).
Our argument brings salvation
Clarity, clarity, clarity! Application, application, application!! These are two things which are made very clear and applied often to new gospel workers when they are delivering a message. And that is a good thing. It is so important to be clear in terms of our line of argument. Being able to apply the truths of the bible to people’s every day lives is also extremely important.
However every good bible teacher knows this golden rule; the main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing! And sometimes I, and I’m sure others, find we make our own abilities to argue a point or to provide good reasoned answers the main thing relegating Christ from his rightful position as Saviour, Lord and King. Having more confidence in our minds and intellects than in the cross is deadly, for God chooses foolishness to shame the wise things (1 Cor 1:18-25)
Our delivery brings salvation
You don’t want to be boring and dull. After all the message is one of great joy and eternal hope! You want to be engaging and catch the attention of those who are listening. Absolutely! The last thing that any preacher wants is to be the stumbling block for people hearing the message of Jesus.
But the great temptation is to over emphasize this point of practical preparation. Sadly it is very easy to make our talk more about our own personalities and style of speaking than about the fullness of the riches that are in Christ. Many people depart in this direction and it may produce “results” in the short term. However in the long run what matters is depth and grounding in the word for those who are listening. Personalities come and go but the message should remain the same and Christ should be exalted.
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given amongst men by which we must be saved” Acts 4:12