‘For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).’
If you could do a word count of the most ‘popular’ words spoken by preachers, what would they be? Possibly love, joy, peace and comfort. And which would be the least popular? Possibly sinner, torment, hell and death.
How often does the preacher turn to the subjects of condemnation, judgement and God’s wrath? Does he speak about the wickedness and idolatry of sinners and of their evil ways?
Prophets of the Old Testament, and, indeed, prophets of the New Testament, were not reluctant to speak of these things. They did not dilute God’s truth by restricting their vocabulary. On the contrary, they spoke God’s word as it was delivered to them (Jeremiah 1:7, 8; Ezekiel 2:4; Zechariah 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:12).
Are preachers today reluctant to present God’s whole truth and tell it as it is? Are they afraid that if they speak plainly, many of their ‘regulars’ would disappear? Are they scared their numbers would shrink, and they would not be able to finance their programmes for evangelism? Do they reason that if this were to happen they would be in dire straits, because they would not not be able to pay the bills?
Shame upon them! For this is the way of the world. It is not the way of the man of faith, who puts his trust in God (Proverbs 3:5).
So if a preacher is in this pitiful state, what ‘sort’ of words does he use to persuade and convict sinners of their sinful ways and of their need of repentance?
Does he preach about their wicked rebellion and enmity against God, and of the consequence of their rejection of Him (Luke 10:16)? Does he speak of God’s hatred of evil and of the punishment that is laid up in store for them if they don’t repent? Does he tell of the everlasting torment of hell (Mark 9:43, 44)? Does he mention that evildoers are under God’s wrath (Romans 2:5), and that they will be judged and found guilty, because of their wrong doings? Justifiably the Son of God will pronounce them guilty, and worthy of death (1:32).
Does he inform them of God’s curses upon idolators (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9) and upon those who worship false gods (Exodus 20:3)? Does he speak of the unpardonable sin which is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31, 32), i.e., the spirit of denial that Jesus is the Son of God?
Those who reject God’s calling in the knowledge of who He is are culpable of this sin (Hebrews 6:4-6). They reject Him and His command to repent (Acts 17:30), and for as long as they remain in that state there is no reprieve! But God is merciful and loving, and where there is judgement, there is also mercy (Deuteronomy 7:12; Psalm 119:156; James 2:13).
Jesus came to save sinners! And He gave His life for this purpose (1 Timothy 1:15 ).
Does the preacher explain that while they persist in sinning they can have no understanding (cf. Proverbs 14:8) of the depth, width and height of God’s love He has for them (John 3:16)? Does he tell them they can be forgiven, if they put their trust (Jeremiah 17:7) in Jesus? Does he tell them that it is God’s will of desire for them to dwell with Him (Psalm 23:6) in His everlasting kingdom?
Accountability of the Watchman to Warn the People
Instead of preaching the full and true gospel, some preachers avoid using words they think will offend. They pander to the unconverted and speak about God as being a God who loves everybody. They don’t tell them He loved Jacob and hated Esau (Romans 9:13). They preach that individuals have self-worth (cf. Romans 7:8), and if they come to God He is able to assure them of their worth. He is a God who can mend their lives. For He is a God who can do all things (Matthew 19:26).
He can sooth their pains, put balm on their hurts, sort out their troubles, make them happy, give them fulfilled lives, take away their loneliness, and sort out their injustices. Although they are victims of difficult circumstances, He can make them prosperous and successful (Joshua 1:8). The preacher tells them that if they are positive and look to God, they will overcome their failures. He will give them strength to sort out their messed-up lives. He will motivate them to go forward.
Now of course if they obeyed Him in faith, many of these things would be sorted. They would live godly and purposeful lives serving Him. They would not try doing things in their own strength, but in their weakness, they would depend upon God who is able and faithful.
The preacher says they need only to ‘choose’ Him and take hold of Him, and not let Him go. Then He will accept them as they are. But does he explain that although their salvation is free, in serving Him there will be toil and tribulation? They will have to carry their cross and deny themselves. They will lose everything of their old life, but count their new one as gain (Philippians 3:8). They must let go of the old, and ‘be transformed by the renewing of their mind (Romans 12:2).’ They will face persecution and rejection. Old friends will desert them, but they will rejoice, because they are loved by God, who is their new and dependable Friend (cf. Hebrews 13:5).
Does the preacher preach Christ (Romans 1:16) and Him only? Does he preach that Christ is all and in all (Colossians 3:11) to those who love Him?
Instead of preaching a diluted gospel that is devoid of ‘unpopular’ words, the preacher would do well to preach the full gospel of Christ; for there is salvation ‘in no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).’
By preaching the FULL gospel the preacher would not be held accountable for failing to warn (Colossians 1:28) the people of God’s judgement to come.
‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes away any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand (Ezekiel 33:6).’