Only
one thing will replace great preaching, and that is greater preaching. For many
in the world today preaching has gone into eclipse. It needs to be restored.
Jesus commands it, Paul commends it, the church requires it, and history proves
it to be essential. We could have no greater example for preaching than Jesus.

“Jesus
came preaching”, the Holy Scriptures declare in Mark 1:14. He sent out
the twelve saying, “As you go, preach, saying the kingdom of heaven is
at hand” (Matthew 10:7). Mark 1:38 states that the reason Jesus entered
the culture of His day was to preach. He preached in synagogues, homes, cities,
on hillsides, at funerals and weddings. The common man heard Him gladly because
he understood His words.

The
Savior of the world was a powerful preacher. His preaching was unapologetically
doctrinal. His proclamation covered the ethical themes of social, domestic,
and civil life. The key to His power in preaching was the anointing of the Holy
Spirit. Jesus’ articulate delivery drew its strength from His divine and moral
nature. There was no compromise in His message or lifestyle. He lived what He
preached.

Writers
often try to characterize the style of Jesus’ preaching. Albert Bond, in The
Master Preacher, refers to Jesus’ gentleness, simplicity, sincerity, originality,
and variety. D.P. Kidder’s A Treatise on Homiletics says that Jesus style
was highlighted by instructiveness, directness, adaptability, and austerity.
He is without doubt indescribable by human pen or tongue. He was the Master
Preacher.

No
one touches the mastery of Jesus in illustration. He kept in touch with the
common man. His simple thoughts and ideas from nature carried the weight of
eternal truth. Wiersbe and Perry in The Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching and
Preachers state that Jesus’ use of questions should be noted. Forty-eight
of his messages give us one hundred sixty-eight questions. As Jesus moved and
preached He illustrated. In very informal proclamation He used visual aids from
the temple, the fisherman’s net, the sower’s sack of seed, the flowers in the
field, as well as writing on the ground in silence. As the eternal Word of God,
He was always in the communication mode when with other people.

The
message of Jesus is given in capsule form in Mark 1:14-15.

“And
after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the
gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is
at hand; repent and believe in the gospel'”.

HE
PREACHED GOOD NEWS – The Gospel

Jesus
proclaimed euanggelion – the good news. This gospel is the message of
the church. It is a biblical message having its root in the fulfillment of the
Messiah in Old Testament scriptures. Jesus was a Biblical preacher. He made
plain the Old Testament text He came to fulfill. On the road to Emmaus in Luke
24:27, Jesus explained the things in scripture concerning Himself from Moses
to the prophets. This is the preacher’s beginning task. He is to make sure his
message is biblical news so it will qualify as good news.

Southern
Baptists’ mother seminary is in Louisville, Kentucky. On the face of old Norton
Hall, etched in Greek, are the words “rightly dividing the word of truth.”
This granite reminder calls us to preach a biblical gospel.

This
good news proclaims the early life of Jesus, the death and resurrection of Christ,
and the return of the coming King. This is the Gospel. We must lift up Jesus.
God is always pleased to hear us speak well of His Son. We do not preach ourselves,
but Christ crucified and risen.

HE
PREACHED PROPHETIC NEWS – The Kingdom

Jesus
proclaimed the Kingdom of God. All through the gospels we find Jesus speaking
of this theme. The Kingdom is God’s plan for all of history. It is God-centered
and not man-centered. This element is often lost in proclamation. When man’s
needs become the target, then God’s glory is diminished and we lose power to
see lives changed.

The
Kingdom of God is universal and eternal. It is inclusive of today and forever.
After Jesus fed the five thousand, some tried to make Him an earthly king. He
would have nothing of it. His kingdom is not of this world. Kingdom preaching
reminds us of four things:

1.
Christ alone is Lord and King.
His arm is not so short that it cannot save.
He is the Deliverer and Only King.

“All
hail the power of Jesus’name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all!”

2.
The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of truth.
In an age of all manner of proposed
ideas, we must be reminded that Jesus is the Truth. While some may not be able
to endure this fact and others will debate and deny God’s truth, we must proclaim
the Kingdom without compromise.

3.
The Kingdom of God is open to all.
Rich and poor, educated and unlearned
are all welcome in the kingdom of God. The parameters and perimeters are infinite.
The kingdom has no quota system or color boundaries.

4.
The Kingdom of God is forever.
It has its beginning in God and no man can
put an end to it. The Lord God will reign forever and ever.

As
a Southern Baptist, I am grateful that we are seeking to raise kingdom awareness.
Empowering Kingdom Growth is a new emphasis in our faith family which calls
the denomination to a biblical vision for worldwide proclamation of the gospel.
We affirm God’s work is larger than any one group. We acknowledge His anointing
power is needed and we are crying out for it. Only then can we carry the gospel
of God’s kingdom to the ends of the earth.

HE
PREACHED CHALLENGING NEWS – Repentance

In
Mark 1:15 Jesus calls upon mankind to repent and believe in the gospel. Repentance
calls for a turning from man’s way to God’s way. Man’s way is a sinful journey.
Preaching must deal with sin and call men from it to the Savior. This is the
kind of proclamation Manual Scott called “the radicality of Christ”.
Jesus was no ordinary preacher. He had a radical message and demanded a radical
response in repentance.

My
first pastorate was in Odenville, Alabama, at the New Lebanon Baptist Church.
Forty-five people would attend Sunday School on an average day. One morning
a young adult man responded to the invitation. When I asked why he had come
forward, he told me he had changed his mind about God. When we look at the word
metanoeo we find that a change of thinking and action is at the heart of repentance.
That new believer taught me about repentance that morning.

Every
preacher has role models when it comes to preaching. We learn from many and
we should be ever improving. However, there is no more superior example in preaching
than Jesus. We should study His pattern of proclamation. This task is hard work
and Paul tells us in I Timothy 5:17 that there is honor in the endeavor. Biblical
preaching will be life-changing for the preacher as well as the hearer. Isaiah
55:11 gives us the promise that God’s Word will do its work and will never return
void. Above all let us exalt the name of Jesus as we preach.

Jesus
came preaching. Let us go and do likewise.

_____________________

Ted
Traylor is Senior Pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. He is the
current President of the Southern Baptist Pastors Conference.

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