Guest Post: Preach Jesus or Go Home- Because It’s All There is to Say!
Today I’m humbled to have Rev Marvin Esonga write a guest post. He is a friend since my high school days and the youth pastor at Ruaraka Baptist Church. He is keen on preaching the unadulterated message of God’s word and we know him for his tag line ‘Preach Jesus or go home’. I promised to be back with something more serious. I kept my word!
As you read through the post, may you be deeply troubled that faithful preaching has not been upheld and may this cause you to be devoted to the diligent and faithful preaching and proclamation of God’s word. Soli Deo Gloria!
“Some people come to me and say, well I came here to get some peace, not money, and I tell them, you NEED money otherwise you ain’t gonna get no peace. Some people say it’s about peace, joy and love. NO!! It’s about MONEY!”
“God is trying to put material wealth into your hands. I didn’t come here to get anything from you, I’m already LOADED!”
“The Lord told me, this is the end time message. He is coming to look for His church without spot or wrinkle. But one of the biggest wrinkles the church has is being BROKE!”
“If you are struggling financially, then you have not got the victory.”
“God didn’t create you to be average or poor.”
“I’m not going to tell people that they HAVE to have Jesus in their lives to be saved.”
Above are some heart rending quotes from preachers you probably love and would die for faster than you would die for the sanity of the canon of scripture. Yes! And because this is a small, internet hub called- the world, you may as well google the quotes and you will find who said. My aim is to focus us on this simple thing- that all the above is heretic in reference to the message we have been called to preach. It is unbiblical conversation that shouldn’t pass for preaching- let alone Biblical exhortation. This kind of teaching isn’t good for a dead man in need of life! This is the thing; your joy should come only from the unadulterated proclamation of the message of the Apostles- because it is all there is to say of all that can be said!
The Bible says, “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15). Friends, this is all there is to say and from the word go I should say that if all you hear from your home Church pulpit is kind of what is quoted in the beginning of this writing then you need to face the realities of a lack of genuine salvation or a serious condition of spiritual sickle-cell disease! You will be eaten slowly but surely unless the miracle of faith comes to you! Or better still, tell Mr. Preacher to GO HOME!
That is not a good introduction to a blog post especially when you are doing one to be initially posted on another wall than yours. Anyhow, what is there to lose? All the world and gain Christ or all of Christ and gain the world? Choose yours!
Because pleasantries are not my best of manners, I will go straight to the thrust of this post: we have a need to safeguard the realities of the existence of the power of God in the simplicity of the message preached like Paul cited in Corinthians. This message is simply foolish to the lost but richly wise to them that have been saved by it. If the Gospel were an old book, God wouldn’t necessarily want its cover redone or given a new look; if it were fashion, He wouldn’t have it changed to fit the wearer; it is ok with him because of they were either of the two, they would remain the same because of this basic truth- Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever! And for that, whatever he was pleased with as part of his own eternal nature is as good as fresh, 2000+ years. And he is rocking it still like a dime! Much as it is nowadays a fad to be a preacher, remember that your judgment is going to be more than your hearers. That’s not worth an applause. It is worth a chill… a chill in the spine. With the wake of such degrading preaching in our country and in our city, you need to be found faithful- not by your congregation, students or discipleship class (for they will not judge you a bit), but to God who shall judge the living and the dead with fire! So here are a few things for us to consider as we savor Christ to the fullest and maintain the old story as we watch our people change as they behold glory!
Don’t preach what you FEEL like preaching
They say feelings are not always in line with the Truth. I would add for the preacher that you must feel what you’re preaching and not preach what you’re feeling. Feeling your preaching basically means that when you hear it through the mirror or as a recording it should prompt you to have the very experience you desired your audience to have when they listen to it. You see, coming to the article of preaching thinking that your audience has a problem and they must really listen to what you’re saying is a bad attitude. You need the sermon as much as they need it. Much more, to go as low as preaching what you feel is robbing the audience the very experience of the Holy Spirit during preaching as the Spirit, in the written Word, blows in their hearts and neither the audience nor the preacher has the full knowledge of the heart promptings the Spirit will do in the course of the sermon.
At times I don’t feel like I love my wife. Often because we have had an argument or a rough time. But that’s far from the truth. I know I love my wife deeply. My feelings may not agree at times but the Truth is settled. It is up to me then to wage the battle of my mind against these thoughts. So, I need to learn how to say the truth rather than what I feel always. That’s a basic example. In preaching it is deeper. God has given us His Word- infallible and eternal and alive- for guidance and direction and protection from ourselves and our improper affections (as is sang by Lamp Mode in their song Biblical Theology!). As a preacher I need to be transformed by the renewing of my mind so then I can preach from a transformed stand point not a compromised, conformed position.
Don’t preach what they WANT you to preach
Secondly, don’t preach what others want to you to preach. It is one of the most solemn warnings concerning the last days’ preachers and congregation. Paul says it, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap-up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4). With this in mind, it may almost sound common sense to the preacher that he should watch out lest the crowd drowns him in their fallenness. Well, right as that may sound, the same preacher is an audience in some respects and that is why this scripture is not so much for the congregation but for the feeder of the congregation- the preacher. People are living in the heart of the fulfilment of the above scripture. That’s a prophecy that is being fulfilled in out very time… indeed, in our very lives!
People don’t want to be told that they will die either by accident or incident; they do not want to hear that the world in which they pride with all their toys and vain glories is but good firewood for the Lord’s fire in the last days. That all that they have and love shall burn like charcoal on that great and terrible day. People don’t want to be told that it is wrong to marry more than one wife or that adultery isn’t just extra-marital affairs neither is fornication simply sleeping around. Sleeping around? Where? Or making out! Making out? What? See, these are areas people don’t want to be faced with brick hard truth. But that’s what you need to- preach the brick hard truth that makes the heart tender for salvation! Ephesians tells us to speak the truth in love. So, do it! The emphasis isn’t on love alone but primarily on Truth then equally on love! You see, love without truth is flattery and Truth without love is legalism! As a preacher, you need to speak, not what they want you to preach (forget about being relevant and politically correct) but the only thing there is to preach- Scripture.
Don’t preach what JESUS never preached
Thirdly and very direct and brief; do not preach what Jesus never preached. Yes. All of scripture is God breathed and is useful to do all things that Jesus wants done and accomplished in his body. What did Jesus preach? Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Is that what you are preaching or planning to preach? Or are you all about telling people how to lay hold of earthly riches since they are princes and princesses? Are you telling people how to manage their sinful habits with base sounding psychology or are you telling them, “Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”
Better still, what is the Gospel that we should preach? This is the Gospel: God in His love created man that man should enjoy and glorify Him forever, but man sinned. He turned away to his own ways and God, for His holiness and light, had to punish the sin of man and judge their deeds since He cannot live with sin. But since man couldn’t pay for his own sin- for it required a perfect sacrifice for the perfect wrath of God to be perfectly quenched and satisfied, God sent His Own Son in likeness of humanity to do what man could never have done for eternity- the Son of God paid for our sin and did what the Law couldn’t do. He died and ransomed us from death and judgment and destruction. Now we have the opportunity to be reconciled back to God by believing in this Gospel. Friends, that is the Gospel. It has nothing to do with repeated prayers, money, spouses, powers within or whatever else this generation has reduced it to. This is the message you ought to preach every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday- and you do this all over again for all your life! Jesus preached all the Father told him to preach. So then, O preacher, preach what God told Jesus and what Jesus has told you in His Word. As the Psalmist puts it, let this be your cry as well, “Not to us, O LORD, not to us. But to Your name we give glory!”
Don’t preach- you don’t have to
Finally, if it is hard for you to do all the above and much more that I may not have said, then dear friend, we who have been consumed by the realities of false teachings and teachers; we who have been weighed down in our spirits with the prosperity, health and wealth, name it and claim it unbiblical gospel; we who desire to keep it simply Biblical; we urge you please- DON’T PREACH. YOU DON’T HAVE TO! Yes. It isn’t a must for you to preach. For much woe is yours if you all along thought that you were representing the wealth of Heaven in unbiblical, humanistic sermons in the name of unlocking the believer’s potential. Which one? What potential? O man, you will receive the epitaph, “Away from me. I don’t know you. Your work was unauthorized.” Jesus will surprise many who did many things, only for the wrong reasons, with the wrong instructor and instructions for the wrong glory- their glory. Don’t preach. You don’t have to. “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. (James 3:1). Did you hear that? Are you ready for this day? Just know that it will be worse for you than it will be for your hearers! But are we not all teacher in a certain way? When you are in the small group or with the young guys in your house or with your football team? Are you not involved in sharing the depths and truths of discipleship with your mentees? Your children? Then to all of us, my call is somber- Preach Jesus or Go Home. And if they say you are boring and not appealing, it is ok. Tell them on our behalf, “We would have preached all other things if we knew them. But we only know the Gospel of Christ which is foolishness to many and life to few and therefore we preach Christ and Him crucified BECAUSE IT IS ALL THERE IS TO SAY!”