This is part two of this article. Please click here to read part one.
Second Timothy 4:2 says, “Preach the word.” The word preach means “to herald the truth.” The idea is to “declare authoritatively.” First, we are to preach accountably. Second, we are to preach authoritatively. Listen to the definition of a herald. He is an “imperial messenger who goes through the streets to announce the laws, government policies and decrees, or the appearing of the Emperor; he is commissioned to declare them in a loud, clear voice so they all can hear. He is not a negotiator but a proclaimer of the truths of the Emperor.”
We have no right to dilute, delete, diminish, or dummy-down anything that God said in His Word. We are to declare it exactly the way He said it. A man stopped me one night years ago and said, “You are too dogmatic.” I said to him, “Sir, do you know where the term dogmatic came from?” He said, “No.” I said, “Well it came from the word dogma. Do you know what the word dogma means?” He said, “I am not sure.” I said, “The word dogma literally is the word doctrine. The Bible is doctrine.” He said, “I agree.” I replied, “Then why would I give pious platitudes? Why would I simply suggest a truth that is a settled doctrine and ought to be preached with a sure declaration?”
In Jonah 3:1–2 we read, “And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.” In other words, “Jonah, you tried to run from Me once. You ended up in whale seminary and got some good theology concerning My omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. Now that you understand Me, make sure that you go where I told you to go and say what I told you to say.”
Matthew 3:1–2 reads, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Repentance is not an option; it is an obligation. Matthew 4:17 adds, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” How are we going to do this? You will remember that when Jesus chose His twelve disciples in Mark 3:14, “He ordained twelve that they should be with Him.” There is a key to this verse: with Him, then for Him. You will be afraid to teach authoritatively unless you spend a lot of time with the Authority. You will be intimidated by the crowd unless you are spending intimate time with Christ.
The Bible says, “He ordained twelve that they should be with Him and that He should send them forth to preach.” The word sent i6s recorded one hundred twenty-three times in the New Testament. It is a military term that was used for the commanding officer issuing orders to his soldiers. The King of the universe has commanded His preaching disciples to stand and declare the Word of God without fear or favor.
In Matthew chapter seven our Saviour concludes the Sermon on the Mount. The Bible says that, “The people were astonished at his doctrine, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.” There are too many scribes in the pulpits today. We need more prophets. Dr. Vance Havner said, “There are so few prophets in our modern day Baptist churches that we can now declare the church a ‘non-prophet corporation’.” When we preach the Word of God we are not to imply or suggest; we are to declare, not arrogantly but authoritatively, what God said and the way He has said it.
Some may say, “Well, preacher, you don’t understand the times in which we are living.” Let me remind you about the age in which Paul and Timothy were living. You could die for preaching authoritatively. That is what happened to Paul. You see, the Roman Empire hated authoritative preaching. The Jewish nation hated authoritative preaching. But God liked it because He is the Authority of all authorities. Somebody said to me, “Well, preacher, it is the twenty-first century, and I just don’t think you can confront like you used to.” The buzz word in some seminaries today seems to be “connect.” Well, I would like for somebody to tell me through all of the connections we have made, where is revival? I think we better get back to authoritative preaching that confronts people exactly where they are, and tells them exactly what God said, if we ever expect to see God flow through our ministries and into the lives of people.
May I ask my readers a thought provoking question: “When has it ever been acceptable to preach confrontationally with authority?” I don’t remember any place either scripturally or historically when strong, prophetic, confrontational preaching has been popular.
Still others may argue, “It is my temperament. I just can’t stand and preach dogmatically as you might.” We are not comparing preaching styles, my friends. I am talking about principle not personality. There are some people who will be more demonstrative with authority and some a little more quiet. Some a little louder, some a little more subdued. But authority allows the people in the pew to know that the commands of God are not an option but an obligation. You see, Timothy had a different temperament than Paul. It appears that he may have had some kind of stomach trouble. The crowds may have intimidated him. He was a young man with older people sitting in the congregation, but Paul still wrote to him and said, “Preach the Word.”
This God-hating, sin-saturated society needs authoritative preaching! As it was in the days of Isaiah, “The wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God to the wicked” (Isaiah 57:20-21). It is time for all of us to heed the words of our Sovereign to the prophet, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1).