"Why Sermons Are Important"
I have a God-defined role as a preacher. Paul told Timothy the purpose of preaching. Sermons matter, and it's not because of the preacher, but because God has a message we all need to hear.
Why Sermons Are Important
(2 Tim. 4:1-5)
A. It’s decision time! Most people like what is commonly referred to as “junk food.” Everyone knows that junk foods tend to be high in fat, fried, or something that is less healthy for you than eating your broccoli. But why do so many people like a juicy hamburger with French fries, or pizza and potato chips, or my favorite – just about any food found at the fairgrounds – deep fried Oreos, foot long hot dogs, funnel cakes, and other good stuff. I am hungry just telling you about that food.
B. Somehow I don’t get quite as excited when I talk about eating celery sticks during a movie as I do eating buttered popcorn. But which is better for me? A steady diet of junk foods causes my physical body to have health issues that could have been prevented by proper diet and exercise.
C. It’s a decision. I decide what I am going to eat knowing what the ramifications could be. But let me ask you to take the illustration to a spiritual level.
D. Listen to 2 John 8-11. Look at what John was telling “the elect lady and her children.” You need to watch out what you bring into your house. That house is probably the church, but make it personal. Watch out what teachings you bring into your physical home. Watch out what you bring into yourself by any means. In another letter John would write (1 John 2:15-17).
E. You are what you eat spiritually – that which you fill yourself with – affects how you act and what you desire. If you want more faith – then Paul says, “Faith comes by hearing and heart the word of Christ.” (Rom. 10:17) If you want to mature in Christ, Peter says, “add to your faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, brotherly kindness and genuine love.” (2 Pet. 1:5-7) What are you eating spiritually? The junk food offered by lure of Satan or the milk and meat of the very word of God? All of what I have just said is what make my role within this congregation so important. I have a job to do.
I. A Charge to Keep
A. Paul takes his statement to Timothy that all scripture is breathed out by God and is useful and with that charges Timothy to preach God’s word.
B. Listen again to verses 1-2. This charge to Timothy is done before God himself. Paul lays a burden upon Timothy to take his role as a spokesman of the message of God seriously. The reason is that Jesus will judge the living and the dead.
C. When Jesus comes and is his reign as King becomes complete, judgement day will take place. Now, let me remind you about that day. Paul told the church Thessalonica that relief will come to those who are in Christ but what he says about how he will judge those outside is just plain scary. (Read 2 Thes. 1:7-9)
D. Do you understand now why preaching the message is so important? We are talking about souls – about eternal destiny and Paul takes that charge very seriously. So be ready with God’s message all the time! In season, out of season. When you preach – reprove, rebuke and exhort.
II. Preach The Right Message
A. Since souls are on the line, what I say from this pulpit, in my classes, in my personal Bible studies with people during the week better be God’s word and not mine. Paul put it this way (2 Tim. 4:3-4)
B. Preachers have many weaknesses. One of them is the desire to see a congregation grow in number. When the numbers are on the rise many churches credit their preacher. When the numbers are in decline many churches blame their preacher. So how do you get more people in the pew? You preach a message that makes everyone feel good.
C. Preachers in America are not different than people in the pew. We have the same struggles, the same desires, the same problems and often feel inadequate to preach a strong message because our lives are not good enough to cast the first stone. But at some point in time, preachers have to get over that complex and teach the truth in love.
D. Part of the problem is preachers get caught up in offering junk food to please the audience more than the milk and meat of the Word to help each person grow spiritually.
III. As For You
A. While this sermon explains my role in this congregation, verse 5 is a message given to me from God through Paul. How do I fit in to this body? What should be expected of me by you and the elders? These words.
B. Paul says to Timothy, “be sober in the head.” That idea of being sober-minded, can mean self-controlled, to think in a sober manner, but the bottom line is my role is preaching God’s message to you and it needs to start by transforming me. When God’s message reproves, rebukes and exhorts me I can become sober minded and self-controlled. You may not like what I say, but I have to answer to God first.
C. There is a hardship that comes with being the message for God. The prophets of old, the Apostles of the NT and preachers like Timothy and Titus all understood that suffering may happen because of the message itself. But do the work of an evangelist and fulfill your ministry is my mission. I want to help people come to Christ and I want to minister to people in Christ. I appreciate the support I get from you in seeking to fulfill my calling.
A. I will be the first to tell you the words today apply directly to me and my role as an evangelist and minister. But I want to close by simply asking this question: How can I serve? That question is one I try to ask often.
B. As a Christian you are also blessed by God to take part in different ministries – formal and informal. I ask you to join with me in asking that question of yourself. How can I serve? It might be on some committee, but it also can be in how you help with children or shut-ins. It can be how you encourage or financially support some aspect where God’s light is shining. So what is your ministry? What have you been called by God to do? Do it with all your might. Don’t back down because it is difficult. Stand up for truth, freedom and love.