One of the latest injunctions of the aged Paul, just before his martyrdom, was for Timothy to: ďPreach the Word!Ē It is called the Word of God, because it is not the Word of man. Are you listening to God or man; how does it compare? As Godís Word it has both authority and power. Authority in that it demands attention, and power in that it has the power to change and save the soul. John the Baptist said, ďbring forth fruit meet for repentanceĒ. These were the teachers. I wonder what he meant? Godís Word is not to be massaged, twisted or retrofitted into manís preconceived ideas. It is not to be filtered, through manís strainer, nor mixed with manís conceits. It is Godís, and as Godís, let no man dare to add to it, take from it, or alter it in any way.
God has not given us a doubtful or deceitful light for our path. Neither has He given us a bundle of truth and fable tied together. He has not left us to our weak and discordant reason, but on His sure Word is His church built. The doctrine of grace was neither conceived by man, nor gained its support from man. Grace is altogether divine, and is gifted only to those who receive it through belief and acceptance in Godís chosen sacrificial Lamb, Jesus Christ, who died in our stead. Having, therefore, become partakers of His divine nature; is it not folly to go to the ďwisdomĒ of man, human philosophy, or manís inner consciousness for confirmation or explanation of Godís Word? Wouldnít that be like going to the convicted criminal in order to understand the excellence of criminal law?
If we honor God, why not honor the Word He has sent? Let us not allow or be the cause of one jot or one tittle of it to be disturbed. It is the Word of God, and as such, we shall not allow for a moment, the speculations, imaginings, and guesses of men, ever so learned, to weigh a feathers weight against it.
A preacher is a proclaimer, a herald, not a degreed professor of religion or an originator of theories. He has the word given to him, and that he is to proclaim. Why would he draw from the stagnant swamp of human philosophy, and ignore the pure fountain of living waters that flows copiously directly from the throne of God. His charge is simple, but definite. He is to tell the people what God has said. He is to shield himself behind the message, and to receive it equally with those he addresses. His responsibility is as a messenger for God, and he is responsible to God only, and not to the congregation, the denomination, or any of manís governing bodies that might attempt to adulterate Godís Holy Word, for it is to God he will ultimately answer.
Success is not to be reckoned by full houses and popular applause, but by converted hearts, changed lives, and by strengthening the faith and purity of Godís people. A more pronounced separation from the world, yet a Christly devotion to the well being of others. A correct and through knowledge of the Word, integrity, consideration, love and concern for others; these are the true signs of success. Be it a barn or an open field, it matters not where the congregation gathers to worship, study, and glorify God. He and his congregation will join with the angels and rejoice with a purer, holier joy than that which comes from numbers, wealth, or popularity.
If the preacher speaks the Word only, he will bathe in Godís revelation and be permeated by it; and so be proof against all the shafts of ignorance, conceit and deception. He will not go to the Pope or council, to Calvin or even universities of higher learning to know what to preach. His delight will be the law of the Lord, and in His law he will meditate day and night. The Word is supernatural, and woe to the preacher that leaves the supernatural for the natural; who sets aside the sword of the Spirit and uses instead a blade of his own tempering!
Adapted from the writings of Howard Cosby, Chancellor of the University of the City of New York, some time late in the last century. The Fundamentals, vol III, pp 168-177
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