PTHOUSANDS OF pastors mount the pulpit every Sunday to preach and teach. But what exactly are they called to preach and teach? Which greatest theme or subject has been given to servants of Christ to preach and teach? Do apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors/bishops and teachers have the freedom to preach and teach just anything they like?
Well, we know that the Bible is the Word of God which is the standard for Christian reference, instruction and living. In it, we see the central theme which both the Old and the New Testament preachers and teachers spoke about. When God calls His servants to preach and teach in the world, He does not give them the discretion to preach and teach just anything they want. God gives them a specific message or messages they must preach and teach.
If a person says God has called him or her into the pastoral ministry, he or she must be ready and willing to make public what God told them in secret to preach and teach for His glory. God does not call anyone without giving the person a message or messages. In the Old Testament, we know what God told Noah, Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, Ezekiel and other messengers to preach and teach when He called them.
Similarly, when the Lord Jesus Christ called the 12 foundational apostles, He gave them messages. When Christ later called the apostle Paul, He gave him also specific messages including what he must preach and teach. You can see that whenever God calls, He instructs and puts His Word into the mouths of His servants to speak.
These days, it is common to hear pastor A or B being commended for delivering what they call “powerful and good messages”. But how can we know if a sermon a pastor preaches is good or not? A message delivered by a pastor may sound good and powerful in the ears of men and women but unpleasant and itchy in the ears of God. We can describe a pastor’s message as good if only we know what God has told His servants to preach and teach.
So true servants of Jesus Christ preach and teach the Word or message the Lord has commanded or given to them. A faithful pastor has no option but to comply with the divine instruction. He preaches and teaches the Word his Lord and Master has instructed him. He may be exposed to several other relevant messages which he knows may excite his hearers, but he will carefully limit himself to the message which is divinely given to him to teach and preach.
It is like our secular educational systems. Teachers of education do not have the freedom to select just any subjects or topics they want to teach in schools. Yes, teachers do not teach what they want. They teach the subjects and topics approved by their employers. It is the same with the Church of Jesus Christ. Pastors do not just get up and ALWAYS preach and teach anything they think will benefit believers.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with a pastor teaching his congregants about SWOT analysis, 17 principles of success, 11 powerful steps to abundance, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, personal hygiene and other motivational messages. But we must understand that these are not the central message Christ has given to His ministers to preach and teach as we hear them these days.
A Christian who is knowledgeable in the Bible and familiar with the messages Peter, James, John, Philip, Paul and other early servants of Christ preached and taught can confirm that many Christian ministers in our day have been led astray to preach and teach opinions of men. Authentic Christian ministry is not about what man wants get done but what God wants to get accomplished.
The Bible presents to us the greatest theme all true apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are required to preach and teach. It is clearly written in the Bible. This theme which is carefully presented in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation is given to be preached and taught to get the work of God done on earth. The greatest work of God on earth is to get souls saved from the bondage of sin and reconciled to God the Father for everlasting love relationship.
Thus after Jesus Christ was raised from the dead He gave instructions to His foundational apostles and clearly spelt out what they must do. His key instruction was three-fold. They were to travel to villages, towns and cities to preach the gospel and make disciples, baptise them and finally teach them to observe all that He had commanded them (Matthew 28:18-20).
Now, the apostles understood the instructions of the Lord to mean that they should go and preach and teach about Jesus Christ. And so when the apostles received power after the Holy Spirit had come upon them they went about bearing witness about the risen Lord. In other words, they preached and taught nothing except Jesus Christ.
The message about the Lord Jesus Christ was to them the greatest theme or subject for preaching and teaching for sinners to believe in Jesus Christ, repent of their sins and be sealed with the promised Holy Spirit for the day of redemption. And preaching and teaching Jesus Christ is necessary for believers to know and grow in Him, and eventually conform to His glorious image.
By James Quansah