I have been in conversation in the past month or so with several individuals at different times on the same subject. The subject is, "What kind of Preaching do People need?" Two of the individuals were ordinary Church members, not particularly directly involved in any ministry. Both of them almost used the same phrase. They said, "We need more preaching that steps on our toes!' One said, " It is good to hear preaching that makes you feel good, but we need preaching that makes us feel bad about how we are living. Messages that remind us that we don't let the Lord guide us in our daily lives. We don't talk to him and we don't let him talk to us, and we don't talk to others about him."
I do know that many people attend Church where the Preacher preaches on the sins of everybody else. But, if he gets too close to their sin, then they just stay away or go find another Church to attend. Lot's of people do not have their membership and faithful Church attendance solid, they just float from Church to Church looking for spiritual entertainment. Sadly many Preachers tiptoe through the tithers. Wow I just had to add tither to my computer dictionary. It suggested I use tether. Might work. Sadly many preachers just resort to flowery little sermonettes that they get from Robert Schuler or some other panty waist. Tragically they stop naming sin and avoid making their congregation face up to the reality of sin. Oh! they might mention national sins and the sins of Hollywood and Washington DC and the Methodist dance hall, but to bring the sermon into the Baptist Church is almost unheard of today. Contrary to popular thought, the sins of other generations are still around and being practiced in the 21st century. Plus there are a plethora of modern ones, that our fore fathers never dreamed of. The first one that rises to the top is the sin of hypocrisy! Hypocrites abound even in Fundamental Baptist Churches. They act so holy, and involved and cannot see how many sinners just walk away lost because of their hypocritical attitudes and behavior. They do not attract anyone to Jesus; but instead become a barrier to the Saviour. We are the worst for setting up rules for others to live by while we blatantly break them ourselves. Jesus said it right when he said we make them a two fold child of Hell. Lost because of their own sin, and lost by being blinded by our sin. I know I should be better, but.....
Did you know that only 2 out of 5 members read the Church bulletin? Most people do not listen to the sermon because they are watching for the reaction of others. It is an amazing little gadget that allows us to turn off what we don't want our ears to hear, or worse yet, allows us to interpret what we hear the way we want to interpret it.
Consequently, there are Church members who are living in sin.
Liars, cheaters, drug users, alcoholics, adulterers, unfaithful to Church and family duty, worldly minded. They know movie stars better than the Apostle Paul. Sports takes first place above faithfulness to God's house. Entertainment is the primary drive. Using their tithe to purchase X-Boxes. Running with friends who have no true testimony or no testimony at all. Dressing like the world, talking like the world and acting like the world.
Yes, it is hard to find preachers who will tell it like it is. It is hard to find preachers who are willing to live what they preach. Instead of trying, they just avoid preaching what needs to be preached. They don't want to be called and chewed out on Sunday afternoon by a Church member who is afraid their family or friends, "won't come to Church if you preach that way."
So my friend, what is the answer? I think it is found in Acts 4.
Preachers had better remind themselves that it is God who has called them..(if he has.) and He expects much. Church members had better remind themselves of their respect of their Pastor.......Heb. 13: