Monday, April 4, 2016

Preaching With Fire
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Preaching denotes that God-ordained means of pressing divine truth upon the hearts of people by which a man of God heralds forth the Master’s message with faithful clarity, with biblical fidelity, with theological precision, and with earnest application. Preaching instructs the mind, directs the will, and woos the heart. Biblical preaching presents the depravity of man, the inability of self-deliverance, the sufficiency of Christ, the propitiation of the Lamb, and the necessity to repent and believe. Preaching is not dialoguing. Preaching heralds. Preaching thunders. Preaching declares. Preaching commands. Preaching summons. Preaching presents divine truth to human hearts with fiery urgency through a man white-hot with love for Christ.

1. Urgency.
Everyone will die. The crackling flames of hell must be heard by every faithful minister so that he understands the weightiness and importance of every opportunity to herald. He must preach and urge. He must declare and summon. He does this with derived authority from the sovereign One who sent him. The preacher is an ambassador who must be heard! He preaches and declares that all must hear and heed the Master’s mandate. Preach urgently!

2. Eternity.
Only one thing separates all people from unending eternities that will inevitably come, namely, one breath. When God takes a person’s life, they step immediately into a real, unchangeable, conscious eternity. Let all ministers of the gospel herald with eternity plastered upon his heart and with eternal destinies stamped on his eyeballs. God has given one message by which sinful souls may be eternally welcomed into heaven: the preaching of the righteousness of Christ! Preach Him! Preach that all must repent and believe! Preach that what sinners do now with Christ has eternal ramifications. Preach for eternity!

3. Glory.
Heaven is heaven because God is there. God is all-glorious and all-magnificent. What makes heaven heaven is that God in His everlasting infiniteness dwells there in the presence of His people forevermore. Ministers who faithfully know their text, who know God, who love Christ, who are full of the Spirit, who have prayed for Spirit-endowed unction preach to save souls. They have an indomitable burden: that sinners would be delivered out of the kingdom of darkness and gathered into the kingdom of Light. Preach Christ so the Spirit may give life and seal souls for glory.

4. Hell.
Preachers herald with fire so that the hearers don’t end up in eternal fire. Ministers who know the gospel and know the God of the gospel preach with such utmost urgency that every sermon counts, indeed, every moment counts. No one preaches better than the man with eternity on his heart. He longs to snatch souls from hell. He wants Christ to save His own through the faithfully preached Word. He wants the Spirit to regenerate those who hear the gospel of grace. So yes, preachers preach hell. Yes, preachers speak often on hell. Because love compels preachers to warn sinners to flee from the wrath to come and to find a safe refuge in the Christ who bore divine wrath in their stead.

5. Unction.
Fiery preaching demands and is desperate for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. No preaching accomplishes divine purposes unless it flies with the wind of the Spirit. Powerless preaching does not change souls nor does it change lives. Preachers who understand God and know His almighty power pray in secret before they preach in public that God would anoint them with the Spirit of power and that they would preach God’s Word, with God’s power, to God’s people, to produce God’s results. This happens as the man of God earnestly prays for unction and desperately cries to the One who gives the Spirit without measure! O God, let the ministers of Christ preach with unction!

6. Compassion.
Bold preaching carries with it a genuine love for sinners. Nothing is more unloving than to not preach Christ and His gospel faithfully. But those who warn the wayward and comfort the broken with the gospel of Christ are truly ministers who love. True love speaks the divine message faithfully. Preaching with fire always includes a genuine compassion for every hearer. As ministers of the gospel stand before the congregation, he knows that unbelievers may sit before him, precious young ones who must repent and trust in Christ also sit in front of him. Indeed, he also believes that genuine believers who know and love Christ sit with their open bibles feeding upon the spoken Word of God. Yet he also knows that there are many professing believers who sit under the preached Word who may think they’re saved when in fact they travel on the broad path that leads to destruction. Ministers preach with broken hearts for broken souls because the minister himself remembers that his God had immense compassion on him!

7. Heralding.
Preachers preach. To preach means that one heralds. To herald demands that one stand with a message from another and the herald, or the messenger, imparts that message faithfully without alteration the full message with the derived authority that comes from the sender himself. As an Emperor of old would send his ambassador, or messenger, to herald the King’s message in the city-square so that all would hear the King’s report and take appropriate action, the herald could not change the message, alter the message, eliminate hard parts of the message, or even be responsible for the response to the message. His job was to come with the sender’s authority, with the sender’s message, to stand and proclaim the full and unchanged message from the King himself. So it is with every preacher of the gospel. He must exhort! He must plead! He must deliver God’s message, in full, with power, with God’s authority, from the Word, to all the hearers. He pleads! He cries! He exhorts! He proclaims! He announces! He demands! This is preaching with fire. And all heralds of the gospel are those who study the Word to get the Master’s message, from the Master’s Word, and then they stand with the Master’s authority, before the Master’s people, empowered by the Master’s enablement, to preach the gospel of the Master’s free grace in Christ, and they preach faithfully, fully, and fearlessly and trust that the great Master will use His spoken Word to save the lost and grow the saved. 
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