“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? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:14-15
AITH comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. It is by hearing the word of God, the Gospel of Christ, that men are saved from their sins, for as Paul declares at the start of his epistle to the Romans: “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation”.
Yes, the Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation. It saves! It brings the knowledge of the Saviour into the ears of sinners, who, when quickened by the Holy Spirit from the deadness of their fallen, depraved state are given eyes to see and ears to hear, and having that God-given gift of faith wrought within by the Spirit are enabled to believe that word unto salvation.
Sent to preach
But that word must be heard – “How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?”
And to be heard it must be preached – “How shall they hear without a preacher?”
“And how shall they preach, except they be sent?”
So, it must be asked just who are sent preachers? What is it to preach the Gospel? Are all believers called upon to preach the Gospel? Or is there a specific call to preach which is given to some but not to others?
Well, certainly scripture teaches the ‘priesthood’ of all believers. All Christians are called upon to testify to the work of God and to edify one another in the body of Christ. In this sense each member of the body ministers to the body. There is a place in the gatherings of the church for all to edify one another as the Lord leads according to the gifts given to each (see 1 Corinthians 12). One might bring a psalm, one might pray, one might read the word, another might give a word of exhortation and another might give a short devotional message. All these means of edification in the church have their rightful and proper place.
However scripture is also very clear that not all are called to be apostles, not all are called to be prophets and not all are called to be teachers (1 Corinthians 12:29 ). There are those in the church who are specifically called to the work of the ministry, those who are sent to preach the Gospel, those who have received a particular calling to minister to others, that the church might be built up and strengthened, by delivering what the Lord has first given unto them – those who are called to devote themselves to the work of the ministry. Indeed, these are those who themselves are given to the church as ‘gifts’ by God for the building up of others in the faith. Such gifts are sent by God to His church. As Paul tells us in Romans 10: “How shall they preach except they be sent?”
Sent by God to preach
So to preach the Gospel one must be sent. But sent by whom? By man? By the church?
No, the call to preach comes from God and God alone. Such a calling may be recognised and acknowledged by others in the church, and indeed will be if it is true, but nevertheless the calling itself comes direct from God to those whom He sends to preach. The scriptures provide abundant examples of this pattern. Throughout the Old Testament we read of many prophets and each one has a particular and distinct calling of God. God meets with the man and sends him forth with His word as directed by the Lord. Many examples could be provided such as Moses in Exodus 3, Samuel in 1 Samuel 3, or Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1. The Lord appeared unto each one and specifically sent him forth with His word.
“Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” Jeremiah 1:4-5
Likewise we see a similar pattern in the New Testament with those whom God called and sent forth to preach His word. Jesus called his disciples by name to follow Him and sent them forth to preach the Gospel (see for example Mark 16:15 and Luke 10). In the case of Saul of Tarsus, one who was not called by Jesus during the time when Jesus was on earth in the flesh, he too received a specific call from Christ to preach, being stopped on his way to Damascus by a bright light from heaven and a voice from heaven, even that of the Lord Jesus Christ who specifically called him to the work of the ministry. As we read in Acts 26:-
“At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:” Acts 26:13-19
So we see clear examples in both the Old and New Testament of the direct calling and sending of men to preach the Gospel. Each heard the word of the Lord and each was sent forth with a specific charge.
But it may be asked whether these experiences were unique to the prophets and apostles?
Well, it is true that the ministry of the prophets and apostles recorded in scripture was unique. They received the word of God by direct revelation at a time when the scriptural canon was incomplete. They had direct dealings with God often by hearing His voice audibly or in a vision or dream. The disciples indeed lived at a time when they actually beheld the Son of God incarnate in this world. Such experiences were obviously unique to them.
Nevertheless the general principles and patterns set forth by the calling of these men to preach hold good to the end of time. The principle of Romans 10, “How shall they preach except they be sent?” is as true today as it was in the early church. God still calls and sends men into the ministry. Men sent to preach the Gospel. Men taught of God. Men prepared by God for that work. Men, such as Timothy, who though not an apostle was still nevertheless called by the same God to the ministry. Like his spiritual ‘father’ Paul, he too was saved through the same Gospel, by the same Saviour, and sent to preach the same truth. The example of Timothy and the charge given to him by the apostle remains in Holy Writ as a precedent for all those to follow who might consider themselves to be called of God to the same ministry. For the Gospel of Christ will continue to be proclaimed down through the ages until the very last of God’s sheep has been brought into the sheep-fold and the Lord returns again to gather his people to Himself for eternity to come. Until that great day the Lord continues to feed His sheep and He does so by sending men to preach His word.
But what is the call to preach? Just how does God call men to the ministry today?
Well, whilst the examples of the prophets and apostles may be unique, and whilst there may not be such signal, direct, appearances of God to His servants today, nevertheless God does still call His servants to His work, He does still speak to them and they will know that their sending is of God. His word may come as a ‘still small voice’ and one sent to preach may well be beset by doubts to his calling for some time, but nevertheless the man truly sent to preach will hear the Lord’s voice in direction, he will know the Lord’s will in the matter and it will be made plain to him that his sending is of God not man.
The call of God to the ministry is very definite and if and when a man is called to preach he will know it. He will know that God has called him and ultimately he will have few if any doubts about it. His call will be much more than just a desire to preach, or a conviction that he should preach because of the need. No, a call is definite - the man called of God knows that God has called him to preach and he must do so. He feels compelled to – the love of Christ constrains him. He may well be unsure of whether he has been truly called for some time, but when he is called then he will come to know it.
William Huntington wrote about the call to preach in his work, “The Servant of the Lord – Described and Vindicated”, which is very helpful regarding this matter. He deals not only with what is a call is but also with what isn’t a call. So, in like manner, I would like to provide here a few pointers of what doesn’t in itself represent a call to preach (although some of these things may well form ‘part’ of an overall spiritual exercise leading to a call):-
1. Seeing the need for the Gospel to be preached.
How great a need there is for Gospel preachers today! Yet seeing the need and feeling burdened about the state of the church isn’t in itself a call to preach.
2. Feeling that we can possibly ‘do better’ than some other preachers, who by the deadness of their preaching demonstrate that they are quite possibly not called to preach.
Sadly there are many in pulpits today who really shouldn’t be there. Many men ‘send’ themselves into the ministry who simply have no calling and no gift from God for the purpose. Scripture speaks of them as ‘hirelings’ and ‘false shepherds’. They bring real grief to the true children of God who groan to see such men leading others astray whilst making a name for themselves – and all under the guise of doing God service. Yet, recognizing such things; being able to see the errors of such men; knowing the true gospel better than they do; feeling that one could preach that gospel more correctly; may all be very good – but it doesn’t in itself represent a call from God to such a work.
3. Simply wanting to do something for the Lord or to be useful in His service.
This can be a great trap, a great snare into which many young men fall. Many young believers, especially young men, feel a great zeal for the things of God. They have a great desire to serve God and to make His word known, and many desire – often out of good motives – to be useful in the service of God and hence feel drawn to the work of the ministry. Yet all these desires, no matter how good, do not represent in themselves alone, a true call to preach.
4. Dissatisfaction with one’s current job/situation and feeling that preaching would be more to God’s glory.
This is another danger. One can feel drawn to preach because in some way the task seems more attractive than one’s current employment. Some young men just starting out in life shun secular work in favour of the ‘spiritually higher’ task of preaching. Other men, later on in life may feel weary with their present occupation and thus consider the work of the ministry as something more worthwhile. Much confusion can be entered into by such feelings. Yet they must be guarded against – they do not represent a call by God to preach. More often than not when God calls a man to preach he is called to make a sacrifice – called to give up, not a tiresome, unsatisfactory employment, but to give up that which is very favourable to the flesh – that which is well paid perhaps, or comfortable. Like Moses when he turned from the treasures of Egypt because he esteemed the reproach of Christ as greater riches (Hebrews 11:25 -26), God’s servants are called to suffer affliction with the people of God. Those truly sent of God to preach will know hardship, suffering, persecution, rejection, poverty, loneliness. But they will also know great joy and consolation in their Lord. For there are unsearchable riches, everlasting riches, to be found in Christ and His Gospel.
5. Pressure from men/churches given the lack of men these days entering the ministry.
In a day when there are fewer and fewer seemingly being called to the ministry there can be great pressure placed upon men to consider the work. Many see the need for Gospel preachers and many look to the young men in their congregations in the hope that they will serve the Lord in this way. This presents a great pressure upon many. Yet, feeling this pressure, seeing the needs and the hunger of others, does not represent a call to preach. We must be careful not to be ‘forced’ into the ministry, nor to force others into it.
Yes, there are many points which may together form part of a call to preach, but in themselves they do not represent such a call, and we need to be careful to discern which impressions we have in our hearts which are really from God, and which are not. Many things may seem like a call to preach, but aren’t.
Knowing what is a call to preach, however, can be rather harder to define. It is similar in some ways to how we know the Lord’s will and guidance in other matters, but obviously as this is such a high calling we need to be very sure about it. I believe the sent minister will know his calling in various ways – ways in which the Lord speaks to Him and reveals His will in this matter to him. For example through various passages of scriptures being laid very powerfully upon the man’s heart (not just because he ‘looks for them’ once he feels inclined to preach, because obviously there are texts there which can be found, but because when he isn’t looking for them they seem to leap out at him, or come up in his daily readings, or at services where he has heard preaching and so on), and also through direct providences in life. By this I mean various incidences in life showing the Lord’s calling to preach in ways that are simply not just (what men often call) ‘coincidences’. The kind of thing I mean is reading a certain passage (which may have to do with preaching), then having the very same passage preached on at the next church service, then having something similar happen the next week. When that keeps on happening you know that the Lord is saying something!
I heard one preacher say something about preaching which I believe is good advice. He said that if a man feels that the Lord is calling him to preach he should resist as long as he can until he can resist no longer. That is sound advice – if the Lord really is calling then you won’t be able to resist His call. When God truly calls a man to preach He makes His will known to him. That man will feel an increasing burden in his heart about preaching. He will think about it constantly. He may try to escape it but the thought keeps coming back. The Lord will keep prompting him from within. Passages of scripture will keep on convicting him regarding the matter. His heart will be filled with a sense of compassion for God’s sheep, a desire that they might be fed, a desire that Christ would be lifted up in the ministry and in the hearts and minds of His people. Such a man will find that the everyday providences of his life keep pointing him towards this matter. The Lord will place landmarks in his path, continual pointers in this direction. The man may feel his utter unworthiness and inability, yet the Lord will keep reminding him ‘this is the way, walk ye in it’. He will complain of lack of strength, but the Lord will assure him that He will be his strength. He will complain of ignorance, yet the Lord will teach him and be all sufficient to him. In the end he will have his doubts cast aside, his objections answered, and ultimately he will feel that the love of Christ constrains him – he can’t but preach.
Yet, withal there are many dangers in the way. Satan does all he can to sow confusion and he loves to encourage men into the ministry who have no true calling to it. Some things we need to be most careful of are:-
This can affect all preachers. Certainly when he sees so much false preaching about a man can think “I wish I was preaching, I could do better than that etc.” and could easily get carried along by his own pride. Preaching is a high calling and obviously a position of authority, of being seen and noted in public, and we have to be very careful not to seek any approval from men, but only that approval that comes from above. Those called to preach seek not their own things, but the things of Jesus Christ, they seek not honour for themselves, but for all honour and glory to be ascribed to their God and Saviour.
2. The applause of man and the fear of man.
Similarly, another trap is to seek the applause of man or to be afraid of men and their reaction. There are many who can preach in a way which is pleasing to man, which draws great acclaim, much adulation and honour from others. But those sent of God to preach will do so for God’s glory only, proclaiming that message which God lays upon their heart to preach – no matter what men might say. The fear of man and what others might say can be a great stumbling-block to many, but those whom God sends forth with His word will preach it with boldness and with great plainness of speech. The message of the Gospel is not pleasing to man in the flesh, indeed it is foolishness to him, but what man counts as foolish God calls wisdom – the power of God unto salvation (1 Corinthians 1).
3. Sending ourselves or resorting to the ‘arm of the flesh’.
Once a man feels inclined to preach it is very easy to wonder whether he has been sent or not, and to be inclined to run before he has been truly sent. To look for passages in scripture to confirm his calling, before God really shows those passages to him, or to try to ‘open doors’ to preach before God opens those doors for him.
If we read the testimonies of past preachers who were truly used of God we can learn much from their accounts of God’s dealings with them and their own attitudes. The last thing, before God called them to it, that most preachers wanted to do was to preach and I think that is a good place to be – to not want to preach, but to feel that the Lord nevertheless is calling us to such a work. Then we will know it is His will and not ours.
Ultimately if God calls a man to preach he will know it when it has happened. He will be brought to a settled, inward, persuasion in his heart and mind of the Lord’s will in the matter. The confirmation of this being true will be that God will open a door, and an effectual one, for the preaching of the Gospel. Often that doesn’t come simply because that man has told others of his calling, but he will be asked to preach, or a door will open, without any contrivance of his own. Then when a door opens that man will know that the work is all of God.
To preach in God’s name is a solemn and weighty calling which carries with it a huge responsibility. Hence no man should enter into the ministry hastily. But when God sends a man to preach, then that man will know that he walks in God’s will, that God has called him, and that God will help him. For the word is not his, but God’s, and he merely speaks as God’s ambassador.
Sent by God to preach the Gospel
Yes, a man must be sent to preach, and he must be sent of God to preach. But what does he preach?
The Gospel of Christ!
Whilst that might sound obvious to some the fact is that often it seemingly isn’t so obvious to many. Many preach what amounts to anything and everything but the Gospel of Christ. They preach morals, the wisdom of men, anecdotes, advice, funny stories, history, philosophy, intellectualism, sacramentalism, legalism, dispensationalism… and the list goes on. Yet, few, very few, really, truly, preach the Gospel of Christ as it is revealed in the scriptures.
Many preach another gospel and another Jesus. But those truly sent of God, called of God, preach THE Gospel; The One Gospel; The Gospel of Christ. In fact, we may test a man’s calling by whether or not he truly preaches that Gospel, in the power of God, by His Spirit – see 2 Corinthians 11.
But any sent of God to preach will preach the Gospel. As Paul declares:-
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
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 1:17, 23-24
This Gospel which Paul preached was that which he learnt of God. Not only was Paul not sent by man, but by God, but also the Gospel he was sent with was given to him not by man, but by God. As he states in Galatians 1:11-12:-
“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
All those truly sent by God will be taught of God. The word they bring is not theirs, not man’s, but God’s. They look to Him to teach, and the word they bring is that which He gives them. When Jeremiah was called of God he felt his poverty and his ignorance. He complained “Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child“, but God’s answer was “Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.“ Jeremiah writes, “Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.”
To preach isn’t simply to know the doctrines of the Gospel well and to have a desire to convey those truths to others. It is to be God’s mouthpiece. To preach what God would have us preach, at that particular time, by the Spirit. This requires great humility, much exercise of soul, and much prayer before God, searching out what He would have preached from the scriptures. Sermons aren’t simply ‘constructed’ from commentaries and books, but are sought out from the Lord.
The fact that a preacher is God’s mouthpiece, His ambassador on earth, cannot be stressed enough. Ultimately it is not men who preach, but God. It is Christ who preaches from the heavens. He is the one that speaketh and He speaks from heaven (Hebrews 12:25 ). God is Sovereign in all things, especially in the proclamation of His word, and He is not constrained to sending forth that word through the mouths of mere men - God is quite able to speak directly to someone by His Spirit as they read His word. Yet the fact remains that “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21). It pleases God to send forth men to preach His word. But though God’s servants might speak on earth it is still Christ who speaks from heaven through them by His Spirit. It is God’s word which is conveyed by the Holy Spirit and placed upon the lips of those men whom He sends forth in this world to proclaim that word. Except a man preach as the Holy Spirit leads him, his words will be of nothing worth. It is not man’s word that must be proclaimed, but God’s word, and the One truly sent forth to preach is Christ through His Spirit. When He preaches there is power in the word!
A preacher who preaches in the power of the Holy Ghost is one who effectively ‘disappears’ into the background so that the hearers aren’t so much impressed by him, his learning or his oratory, but feel that they are hearing the Lord speak through him. He should be like a window through whom the light shines in. And I think every true preacher would probably confess that more often than not ‘he gets in the way’ of the clear shining of that light, but nevertheless when the Spirit is present he knows it and has liberty in his preaching. As Romans 1:16-17 says the power of God is in the GOSPEL. Not in the church, nor yet in preachers. Not actually in the Spirit either, but in the Gospel. Indeed, the power of the Holy Spirit is in the preaching of that Gospel – the Gospel of Christ.
The very same Gospel of which Paul was not ashamed, for it is the power of God unto salvation. A Gospel which he received not of man, neither was he taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:12 ), as one who was called, sent and prepared by God for such a ministry.
Sent by God, and prepared by God, to preach the Gospel
Not only are Gospel preachers sent by God, not only are they taught the Gospel by God, but they are also prepared for the work of the ministry by God. God equips those whom He sends to preach for the task which they are given.
No man by nature is fit to preach the Gospel. All are sinners, all have gone astray, all are weak in the flesh. Yet those whom God sends to preach are those whom He has elected and called from eternity past, those whom He has saved from their sins, those whom He has justified by the work of Christ at the cross, those whom He has quickened unto eternal life by His Spirit, those whom He has given faith to live by, those whom He has “led forth by the right way”, those whom He has revealed His Son unto, those whom He has granted grace to, those whom He has tried in the furnace and brought through many afflictions and trials for Christ’s sake. Such are those whom God calls and sends forth with His word.
Why? So that it might be seen that their fitness for the work is not found in themselves, in their own might, or in their own strength, but in God. God prepares such men for the ministry so that all the glory might be given to God and not to man. The flesh is mortified and the work of God is magnified.
The preaching of the cross in mens’ eyes is foolishness, and those whom God sends to preach it are counted as fools by the wisdom of this world. As Paul states in 1 Corinthians 1:25-31…
“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
God calls those who are ‘nothing’ in both the eyes of the world, and in their own eyes, to preach His Gospel. And having called such men He prepares them for the task – for the work is all of God – to this end: that “him that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord”.
We can see this in Moses for example. When God called him to His work Moses protested “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue”. But God’s answer was “Who hath made man’s mouth? Or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” Exodus 4:10-12.
Likewise with Jeremiah, as we have already seen, he protested that he was a child, unfit for the work. But God said that He would be with him to deliver him, and He would put His words in his mouth. God prepared and fitted both Moses and Jeremiah for His work. All their sufficiency and strength was to be found in Him and in Him alone. In themselves they were nothing.
But what of the apostle Paul? Surely he had much ability in the flesh for the task of preaching the Gospel? As he wrote in Philippians 3:4-6…
“Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.“
Paul had much to boast of naturally. He was very bright, well taught, well versed in the Old Testament scriptures; surely an excellent man for God to send to his brethren in the flesh, the Jews, to preach the Gospel to them, as he was a ‘Hebrew of the Hebrews’? Yet, man’s ways are not God’s ways and God’s ways are not man’s ways. God called Paul to be the apostle to the Gentiles, not the Jews. Many would have accused him of wasting his prior ‘training’, but Paul had to submit to the calling of God, whatever man might think. To the Gentiles he went, and how powerfully GOD used him!
What did Paul himself think of his own natural abilities?
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ”
Paul counted all his abilities in the flesh, as not an aid, but a positive hindrance to the work of God! ALL the work must be of God, not man, and so it was. It was God who prepared Paul for the ministry, not man, neither the school of Gamaliel, nor even Paul’s fellow apostles, but God. As Paul testifies in Galatians 1:15-24…
“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.
Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me.”
In the cases of Moses, Jeremiah and Paul, God prepared each one to preach His word. They were men who knew their God, men who knew the Gospel, men who knew God’s grace and salvation, and men who knew what it is to walk with God. They were taught the Gospel, they were taught in the School of Christ, they were men prepared of God to preach that Gospel by being brought through fires, through afflictions, through trials and persecutions, and yet withal, standing fast in the strength of their God, and they thought nothing of themselves but all of Christ whom they sought to glorify, for…
You must know Christ to preach Christ,
You must experience grace to preach grace,
You must be saved by the Gospel to preach the Gospel,
You must be brought low to lift Christ high, and,
You must experience the pathway to comfort those on the pathway.
Yes, God sends His servants to preach the Gospel, God teaches them the Gospel, and God prepares them for the ministry of that Gospel. For the work is ALL of God. It is the Gospel of Christ which God sends forth as it is uttered by the One who speaks from heaven, whose speech is carried forth by the Holy Spirit and is put upon the lips of those whom God sends to preach His word, that sinners might hear that word, that faith might come by hearing that word, and that all those for whom Christ died might hear and call upon the name of the Lord that they might be saved. As it is written…
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 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? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!“
Oh! That the Lord would be pleased to raise up men in our day – men set apart for His service, called and sent forth to preach the everlasting gospel of peace; men called of God, sent of God, taught of God and prepared of God; men of faith who like Paul are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation; men who are prepared to spend and be spent for Christ’s sake and His glory alone!
For how shall they preach except they be sent?
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17
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