Filling the Pulpits of the Body of Christ with the World-Changing Word of God
Imagine this scene from a time when there were no microphones, no PowerPoint presentations, and no television monitors: a seated audience eagerly awaits the entrance and message of the king. When he enters, they stand and cheer loudly to welcome him. He sits on his throne. There is a hush and a sense of anticipation. Then, without any fanfare, an attendant approaches the throne and begins to repeat in a loud voice the words he has just heard from the king. What would happen if the king said “Taxes will be raised,” and the attendant said, “There will be no new taxes”? Although the assembly appreciates the words of the attendant, he will be replaced (maybe even put to death) because his assignment was to speak the words of the king.
In the Greco-Roman world of two millennia ago, that attendant was called a kerux. New Testament writers used that same word in reference to preachers. When Paul wrote, “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2), he was reminding Timothy that he was to be a herald of God’s words, a mouthpiece of God’s message. Similarly, Peter wrote, “whoever speaks is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God” (1 Peter 4:11). Preaching is a task that must be taken seriously. It was then and it still is today. Everyone who dares to preach God’s Word must understand this and humbly submit to it.
Today’s preacher must commit himself to the study and proclamation of God’s inspired word. There is no substitute for biblical preaching, and there is no greater challenge than to be a faithful spokesman for God. Certainly, a preacher will organize a sermon according to his own style and personality. He will choose illustrations and try to use his best skills in delivery so that he can communicate the message clearly and effectively. He must never forget, however, that the message he speaks is not his own.
The kerux speaks for God. When a man approaches the pulpit, he should think of himself this way: “God couldn’t be here today so He sent me to preach in His place.” Of course, God is present, but “He lets me speak for Him.” This challenges preachers to be humble and sober-minded about preaching. It also brings great joy and comfort.
What a privilege and responsibility to speak for God. Those who preach should never underestimate the power of biblical preaching to instruct and inform, to rebuke and correct, to comfort and encourage, and to change people’s lives.
At Sunset International Bible Institute, there has always been an emphasis on preaching. It is at the center of our curriculum and permeates everything we do. In addition to the “Introduction to Homiletics” course, taken by all students, preaching labs are required each term. In these labs, students have various assignments evaluated by instructors with many years of preaching experience. There is an “Advanced Homiletics” course for students who choose the Congregational Ministry emphasis. In addition, Sunset students have many opportunities to preach on Sundays at congregations in and near Lubbock.
Preaching is part of our DNA at Sunset. It always has been and always will be. We believe that the proclamation of the Word of God, by men who see themselves as the kerux of God, has the power to change the world.
More than one hundred years ago, Alexander Whyte of Edinburgh admonished a discouraged minister with these words: “Never think of giving up preaching! The angels around the throne envy you and your great work.”