“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry” (1 Timothy 1:12).
This Sunday, November 5, 2017, will be 42 years that the Lord has allowed me to serve in full-time Christian ministry. I began as an associate pastor to Dr. John McCall at Faith Baptist Church in Sarasota, Florida, on November 1, 1975. While the ministry has not been an easy life in many respects, it has certainly been a blessed life. I can honestly say that I would not trade the past 42 years of ministry for anything in the world.
Preaching has never been popular in an unbelieving world. The Old Testament prophets were persecuted and often killed for preaching,”Thus saith the Lord.” In the New Testament we read about John the Baptist being beheaded, Stephen being stoned, and Jesus Himself being crucified for preaching. Church history is filled with examples of preachers being martyred for preaching God’s Word, and this continues in many parts of the world even today.
Paul wrote, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). Although the preaching of the cross is an offense to many people, it is the way God has chosen to “save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).
We do not preach good works or human effort in order to be saved. Paul declared, “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:23-24).
The Bible says that “Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them” (Acts 8:5). After God called him to the desert to meet up with the Ethiopian eunuch, Philip sat in this man’s chariot “and preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35). That is the mission of the preacher — to preach Christ crucified, risen, and coming again! Why? Because Jesus is the only Way to be saved (see John 14:6 and Acts 4:12).
To those who are saved the preaching of the cross is sweet; it is the power of God, bringing one to salvation. Paul told young Timothy, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2). We preach the Word of God because “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Paul goes on to say in verse 14 of the same chapter in Romans,”How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14).
While you don’t have to be in full-time ministry to preach the truth of God’s Word, I thank God every day that He called me to be a preacher!
Pastor George Mulford