I am not a pastor, so I don’t know what it’s like to try to write two or three sermons a week that inspire, challenge and get people talking, especially when you’re expected to teach from the same book week after week, month after month, year after year and decade after decade, the very same book, by the way, that your congregants hold in their Sunday school laps and keep on their bedside tables.
The pressure to keep things fresh must be great, the temptation to put a ‘new spin’ on old truth even greater, but before you give in to that temptation, let me give you five reasons to preach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth of God’s Word, the Bible.
- There aren’t a lot of people doing it. Honestly, there are so many preachers, speakers and teachers out there putting their own spin on truth that people are getting dizzy…and maybe a little nauseous. Want to stand out? Preach the Bible. Stand firm. Hold fast. Dig deep. Deliver a clear, concise message from Its pages that people can hold onto while their eyes focus and their stomachs settle.
- The Bible touches hearts. “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any two-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). Want to stir things up? Want to make people squirm? Preach the Bible. God will take it from there.
- The Bible gets results. “As the rain and snow come down from Heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish…so is my word that goes out from my mouth. It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isa 55:10-11). Want people to respond to what you say? Preach the Bible. You may not get to see the harvest with your own two eyes, but you can rest assured it’s coming.
- It will win you the respect of those who walk in step with the Spirit. “…By setting forth the truth plainly, we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing” (2 Cor 4:2-3). Want to build a solid network of support? Preach the Bible. If you do, the Holy Spirit Who lives in the hearts of those who obey the Gospel and so belong to God will nod in agreement when you speak and point you out as being someone they can trust. The lost may not buy in at first—they may even balk—but they’ll come around once the seed takes root.
- It will spare you grief and punishment in the end. I testify to everyone who hears the prophetic words of this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words of this prophetic book, God will take away his share of the tree of life and the holy city, written in this book” (Rev 22:18-19). Want to enjoy peace with God when all is said and done? Preach the Bible. Sure, you can get creative with your presentation, and you should be enthusiastic in your delivery, but whatever you do, don’t alter the content of the Book you’re teaching.
Listen, pastor, speaker, Bible teacher—and anyone else who claims to know a thing or two about the Bible—your job is not to inspire, challenge or even to get people talking. Your job is to handle accurately the Word of Truth and leave the rest up to the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 2:15). Just stick to the script.