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  The Church Is A WitnessSunday, June 25th, 2017  
by Dr. Russell F. Metcalfe, Jr

PREACHING / PROCLAMATION

Preaching is a high and holy task. I have a high regard for preaching. Preaching can be sacramental. The word "preach" gets a bad press. Whatever the secular meaning of the word, to preach is God's way of proclaiming His Gospel.

Proclamation is the task of the whole church. Preaching is not the sum total of proclamation. Actually, preaching is not usually the earliest source of evangelistic awakening! For the task of proclamation is the task of the entire church of Jesus Christ.

Words that I live by in preaching. I would share with you words that I live by, that to me are part of my sacred assignment as a preacher. I have come to the conclusion that these words are not just for ordained people. Together we all are the church apostolic, called to know Jesus and to witness to the world of what we know. HERE ARE THE PRECIOUS WORDS:

I. I AM AN AMBASSADOR, NOT A PEDDLAR

"We do not peddle the word of God for profit"

A. Peddlers are honorable, but they (1) are in their work to make a living; and (2) they usually sell gadgets.

B. We are ambassadors. We earn our livings in order to support our true work. What we handle is a matter of life and death. We are people who are sent.

C. As ambassadors we are honor bound to learn our craft; to know our calling well; to become experts in the matter of scriptural truth. We must know the message in order not to garble it.

II. I AM CALLED TO BE REAL, NOT A PLAY-ACTOR

"We do not cover our face, as Moses, to hide the fading glory"

A. The incident cited: Moses had a crisis time of glory when his face shone. He was frighetning to the people then, but it was an honorable sort of excitement. After all, he had been with God.

When the glory faded, Moses kept the veil on so the people wouldn't see his apparent weakness or mere humanity.

B. Religious hokus-pocus is a temptation. People think more highly or less highly of us than we deserve. But we must strive to be honest before God!

[Not just "be ourselves!" But be ourselves as God is working with us!]

It is vital that we share our high moments as well as be vulnerable in our low times. I am not suggesting that people want to hear the details of your hospital experiences; but I am saying that we need to share the fact that God meets with human beings where they live.

III. I MUST SPEAK THE TRUTH, NOT PROPAGANDIZE

"We do not distort the Word of God"

A. Let the Word itself speak. All too often when we apply the word to a situation we know where we want to end up before we even start. We are sure how we want to see the result turn out. That is all very well, so long as we are totally under the authority of the living Word.

B. The Word will speak! The Word of God reflects the Living Word, the Son of God. It has a mind, a life, a will all its own that supercedes our limited perspective.

But that is the rub; the word will not be used! It must be obeyed!

C. The critical factor: AM I LIVING BY THE WORD?

IV. I MUST BE CHRIST-CENTERED, NOT SELF-PROMOTING

"We do not preach ourselves, but Christ"

A. This is not to say that God cannot and will not use "characters." Thank God, He loves you the way you are-- and He wants you to be yourself! Your sanctified self, that is!

B. It comes dopwn to a matter of LOVE: we seek the glory of God ahead of our own!

I have a dream of seeing our church become very effective in reaching people who do not know Jesus as Savior. I believe that we can have a great new break-through in proclamation.

Such a dream would usually be immediately followed up by challenge to learning and doing. And I believe there is a place for all that.

But I believe that there are two things that will happen and that if they happen the dream will come:

The answer to that question will depend upon the preacher, the audience, and the text for the sermon. God's message to his creation is communicated in various ways in Scripture. A place exists for parabolic preaching, for narrative preaching, for topical strategies that meaningfully approach the text, for sermons that allow the hearers to experience afresh the impact of Biblical poetry, instruction, prophecy, or homily, and therein to hear the message anew. Despite the disdain of some, inductive sermon approaches are not automatically "unsound." Not every person in our society learns deductively, and preachers who preach only deductively often (unknowingly) practice selective evangelism and ministry.

1. We must really want to proclaim; must see proclamation as the total task of the total church, and as the one single thing that will bring us the most joy. WE MUST WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW THE CHRIST WE LOVE.

2. We must believe in each other as we catch the vision: love and encourage and boost one another in every thing that we do. WE MUST HAVE A BAPTISM OF TRUST AND LOVE AND COMMUNITY.

And, so, we do not lose heart.

SCRIPTURE TEXTS

2 Corinthians

2:17 FOR WE ARE NOT AS MANY, WHICH CORRUPT THE WORD OF GOD: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

3:13 AND NOT AS MOSES, [WHICH] PUT A VAIL OVER HIS FACE, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:

4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, NOT WALKING IN CRAFTINESS, NOR HANDLING THE WORD OF GOD DECEITFULLY; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

4:5 FOR WE PREACH NOT OURSELVES, BUT CHRIST JESUS THE LORD; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

©, 1991 Dr. Russell F. Metcalfe, Jr.
Permission to reprint or publish this material is granted provided the reprinting or republishing is not-for-profit.




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