The Importance Of Preaching The Word Of God

It is written:

“Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” (Acts 15:36)

Preaching is a very important vocation. It’s importance is demonstrated by the word translated here as “preached.” Barclay has written:

“The word kataggellein means to announce or to proclaim; but the characteristic flavour of the word is that the announcement or the proclamation is made with authority. In classical Greek it is used of proclaiming war or announcing a festival. In the papyri a widow makes an official pronouncement regarding the appointment of a representative to look after her interests in consequence of her husband’s death. It is used of the announcement of an emperor’s accession to the throne. Always the word carries with it weight and authority. In the NT the word is used 15 times….But the main interest of the word lies in the fact that it is one of the great NT words for preaching. In Acts 15.36 we are told that Paul and Barnabas plan to revisit the churches to which they have preached (kataggellein). Now the interest of the word lies in the examination of the things which were preached, for these are the things which are proclaimed with authority. What then were the things which the early preachers preached with authority, the things they preached as certainties, the things they preached as part of the unalterable and authoritative message of the Christian faith? (i) They proclaimed the word of God. It is said that Paul and Barnabas preached (kataggellein) the word of God in the synagogues of Cyprus (Acts 13.5). It was the word of God that Paul preached at Berea (Acts 17.13). Preaching is not the proclamation of a preacher’s private opinions; still less is it the public airing of his doubts; it is the proclamation of the word of God. ‘Tell me of your certainties,’ said Goethe, ‘I have doubts enough of my own.’ (ii) They proclaimed Christ. Paul does not care how the preaching is done so long as Christ is preached (Phil. 1.16, 18). It is Christ whom he himself preached (Col. 1.28). In the early days the preachers did not deal with things on the circumference of the faith; they proclaimed the facts of the life, and the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Their primary aim was to confront men with Christ. (iii) They proclaimed through Jesus the resurrection from the dead (Acts 4.2). The message of the preacher was the defeat of death. They preached a risen Christ, and they preached a life that was indestructible. (iv) They proclaimed the Messiahship of Jesus. It was Paul’s message that ‘this Jesus whom I preach to you is Christ’ (Acts 17.3). It was the message of the early preachers that in this man Jesus God’s promises were fulfilled, that eternity had invaded time, that heaven’s rule had begun. (v) They proclaimed that the way was open to the God whom men had ever sought but never found. It was Paul’s proclamation that he brought to the Athenians news of the God who to them had always been the unknown God (Acts 17.23). The time of guessing and groping had gone, and the time of knowing had come. The time of searching was ended, and the time of finding had come. George Borrow tells us that once when he was on one of his tours he was surrounded by some gipsies, who cried out: ‘Give us God! Give us God!’ Not knowing what to do, he put his hand in his pocket and scattered some money amongst them. But they disregarded the money. ‘Not your money,’ they said. ‘Give us God!’ It was God whom the early preachers claimed to give to men. (vi) They proclaimed a gospel It was the gospel which the preacher preached; it was good news (I Cor. 9.14). Any preaching which ultimately depresses a man is wrong, for preaching may begin by cutting a man to the heart with the sight and the realization of his sins; but it must end by leading him to the love, the forgiveness and the grace of God. The very word which is so often used for preaching shows that in the early preaching there was nothing apologetic, nothing diffident, nothing clouded with doubts and misted with uncertainties. It was preaching with authority; and the things it preached with authority are still the basis of the message of the preacher today.” (William Barclay, New Testament Words, 2542-2578 (Kindle Edition); Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press)

The Word of God needs to be preached today, as it always has been. The Word of God has the power to save mankind (Romans 1:16), and we need to be devoted to proclaiming that Word every day that we live.

Have you heeded Gods plan of salvation (Acts 2:37-47; 1 John 1:9-2:2)?

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