oxford languages define the word preach as a verb meaning, “Deliver a sermon or religious address to an assembled group of people, typically in church. Publicly proclaim or teach (a religious message or belief). Earnestly advocate (a belief or course of action).” outside of the Garden of Eden, God has most often chosen an oracle, a prophet, or a person to relay His message to the general populace. the Bible states, “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21, KJV, Tyndale 1987). what are some examples of this, and why is preaching the selected medium?
in the garden, God walked with man daily in the “cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8). something changed when man succumbed to temptation and spiritual separation now plaguing the human experience. we read of Enoch walking with God (Genesis 5:24), but we no longer read about God walking with humanity. because of sin, there was a paradoxical shift from the relationship between created and creator to the sinful and the holy. there were instances when God spoke directly to man or a non-prophetic person, but they are few, and years pass between conversations. we know that God spoke directly to Cain, Noah, and Abraham through the scriptures. other times, God sent an angel to communicate His will. in Moses’ situation, God used a burning bush as the medium to speak until a face-to-face encounter was established.
in today’s society, it seems that no one wants to be “preached to,” but God has adopted this type of narrative for generations. the final definition of preach states, “Give moral advice to someone in an annoying or pompously self-righteous way.” it is a long road for people with this attitude toward the very thing that would save them. a little belief, a little faith, and the gateway to a spiritual reconciliation opens in that person. why not choose some other manifestation that is more readily acceptable? why this foolishness?
we see God doing great things through prophets of old. through the plagues of Egypt, the victories won in battle against impossible odds and glimpses of things not yet happened. Jesus came to set up His Kingdom as intended from the beginning. battlefield victories and land acquisitions are no longer the benchmarks of God’s reach. the surrendered will of man is the His desire. when God’s will becomes the priority in one’s life, there is a shift back to the spiritual through obedience. this shift births a testimony. a couple of the definitions of testimony include “evidence or proof provided by the existence or appearance of something and a public recounting of a religious conversion or experience.” firsthand experience is a great motivator and selling point. when you have experienced the miraculous, though forces and the skeptical may try to talk you out of it, there is no denying that a change has taken place within yourself. speaking of skeptics, that is what “foolishness” refers to, the perception of carnally minded men, not the act or contents of the message.
preaching is the attestation of the goodness of God to bring you to a place where a personal experience results in self-consecration and disciple-making. some people will only get there with a nudge from the Almighty, a sign from Heaven, or eye witnessing the miraculous. even so, the spoken Word is more than sufficient. Romans 1:20 states, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” nonetheless, we serve a merciful, loving God that will go to great lengths to reach one soul.
following His example, the Apostles “went every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). they started churches and witnessed great revival by instituting preaching within their congregations and beyond. they were accused of turning “the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). the priests of old demanded strict adherence to the law, but these disciples delivered the good news with love and an earnest plea. organized religion has always turned the stomachs of those looking on from the outside; i cannot comprehend its toll on modern thought processes. people ordinarily do not like change, but rejoicing and thanksgiving are appropriate responses when change takes place on the inside.
in conclusion, we cannot reach everyone. Luke wrote, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (16:31). it is not for us to decide who will be persuaded; we are directed to reach with “compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire” (Jude 1:22-23). at all times, holding to our precious salvation and “let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9). i might plant, you may water, but God gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6). preaching is the method through which God has chosen for this generation and the incredible revival upon us. embrace the spoken Word and all of its lessons to the salvation of you and your family.