WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 03, 2023
TOPIC: WHAT ARE YOU PREACHING?
BY T. O. BANSO
“You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5 New Living Translation).
The Apostle Paul, writing to Timothy, his son in the ministry, said, “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16 New King James Version).
A minister’s persistence in paying attention to how he lives and what he teaches or preaches will save him and his listeners from false doctrine or heresy. What a minister believes affects how he lives and what he teaches or preaches, and these influence his listeners. A minister’s wrong way of life and false teaching will lead his listeners astray. He will be a bad example to them. As a leader goes, so goes the people. Leadership is influence, so a minister must pay attention to what he believes, how he lives, and what he teaches. The Contemporary English Version puts 1 Timothy 4:16 this way: “Be careful about the way you live and about what you teach. Keep on doing this, and you will save not only yourself, but the people who hear you.”
What are you preaching or teaching? Is it the Word of God or fables? Are you teaching or preaching sound doctrine or your own doctrine? Jesus told the Jews who marveled at His teaching, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (John 7:16-17 New King James Version). Is your doctrine His doctrine or yours?
As a minister, don’t teach or preach anything other than sound doctrine. Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:3-4, “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia — remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith” (New King James Version).
What are you preaching? The Bible talks about different kinds of doctrines that God does not approve of. These include the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:12), the doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1), the doctrine of Balaam (Revelations 2:14), and the doctrine of the Nicolaitans (verse 15).
God wants His people not to be infants or children, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching or doctrine and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming (Ephesians 4:14). Paul warned in 1 Timothy 4:1-5: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (New King James Version).
A preacher should abide in and preach the doctrine of Christ. 2 John 9-11 says, “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds” (New King James Version).
What are you preaching? Paul said, “You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5 New Living Translation). Are you preaching Christ or yourself? Preaching about self is not a sound doctrine.
Don’t preach about yourself – you didn’t die to save anyone. Preach Christ, who died on the cross to save the world and was resurrected on the third day. It is not your success in ministry that is the Good News. Your preaching ability or the wealth of your ministry is not the Good News. Jesus Christ and the work of salvation that He accomplished for humanity on the cross is the Good News.
Romans 10:8-13 says, “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved’” (New King James Version).
This is the Good News that you should preach. Don’t make yourself the centre of your message. b2 Corinthians 4:7 says we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. The glorious power that is working in you is from God; it’s not your own, so preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles (1 Corinthians 1:23).
Preach sound doctrine; don’t distort the Word of God. Paul said, “But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2 New King James Version).
What are you preaching? Don’t adulterate the Word of God because of filthy lucre (money). Don’t be a hireling who preaches for money but does not care for the flock. Preach the undiluted Word of God. As a preacher, can you say as Paul said, “For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ”? (2 Corinthians 2:17 New King James Version). He said in 1 Thessalonians 2:3 that he was not preaching with any deceit or impure purposes or trickery. Can you say the same?
Also, Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 2:5: “Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you well know. And God is our witness that we were not pretending to be your friends just to get your money!” (New Living Translation). Will your preaching pass this test? What are you preaching?
The Apostle Peter also testified about the integrity of his preaching when he said, “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16 New King James Version). What are you preaching? Are you making Jesus Christ known to the people or making yourself known?
Also, Peter said, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber” (2 Peter 2:1-3 New King James Version). Are you preaching the truth of the Word of God or destructive heresies?
What are you preaching? Does your preaching lead people right or astray? Remember what Jesus said about the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:15: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves” (New King James Version).
What are you preaching? If your preaching is not in conformity with the Bible, repent now before it is too late. In Acts 18:26, Aquila and Priscilla, after hearing the bold preaching of Apollos in Ephesus, took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. This was because although Apollos was an eloquent man, mighty in the Scriptures, and had been instructed in the way of the Lord, he knew only the baptism of John.
Apollos was a Jew born in Alexandria in Egypt, the second largest city in the Roman Empire. He was fervent in spirit and taught accurately the things of the Lord, but Aquila and Priscilla had to explain to him the way of God more accurately because his message was not complete. The baptism of John he knew was about repentance from sin to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah. Apollos only heard what John said about Jesus. Most probably he did not know about the work of redemption Jesus did on the cross, His death, resurrection, ascension, and the coming of the Holy Spirit. I’m sure he became a better minister from then.
What are you preaching? Be sure you are preaching sound doctrine. Preach the Bible; preach Christ crucified.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINT: Father, I repent of anything I have been preaching that is not sound doctrine. Holy Spirit, help me to preach Christ crucified. I shall preach the unadulterated Word of God in the name of Jesus. I shall not walk in craftiness or handle the word of God deceitfully. In the mighty name of Jesus, I shall be a true servant of God and not a hireling who preaches for money but doesn’t care for the sheep.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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