“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” Acts 20:27 (KJV)
A lot of what we do as ministers has to do with talking. We are indeed communicators. I understand that the Bible also tells us that “…faith without works is useless.” James 2:20 (NLT). However, we can’t ignore the power of the things we say. With our mouth we can bless or curse (James 3:10).
If you are a believer, you must deal with the reality that your good behavior is important, but is not enough, that your good deeds are appreciate, but they are not enough… at the end of the day “faith comes by hearing” (Romans 10:7), we must talk, we must communicate something! The question is what is it that we are supposed to talk about?
In my journey from Florida to North Carolina, to Alaska and now Arizona, I have to say that almost all preachers I encountered are preaching and teaching the Word. The problem is that they focus on one topic or doctrine and, they stay in that box. That is the reason why we ignore so much of God’s counsel. That’s the reason our message is consistently incomplete; because we rather control the message than to allow the Holy Spirit to speak. A local church must cover the following talking points:
- Preach the gospel:
The gospel is a message that focus on the good news, the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and the salvation available through Christ. The gospel is a call for repentance. (Mark 16:15) You can’t teach about a particular topic that has no connection to the gospel and then at the end, made a call for folks to accept Jesus. The preaching of the gospel is the preaching of Jesus on the cross. The preaching of the gospel is not about making friends and expand membership; it confronts the listener with his sinful condition. The gospel, my friends, is offensive. Peter says of Jesus that he is “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE. I Peter 2:8 (NASB) Don’t be a cheeseball and preach the gospel, preach the truth, call sin… sin!!!
- Teach Sound Doctrine:
Sound doctrine is not deep; is not even controversial; is simply teaching the believer how to think, how to behave and how to live; how to treat each other, etc. (Titus 2:1)
- Word of Wisdom:
This is one of many gifts that flow directly out of the Holy Ghost. This is a word that provides divine wisdom; it gives people direction about a particular situation they may be facing. (First Cor. 12:8)
- Word of Knowledge:
Another gifts of the Spirit that is about ignored in local churches. This is a word given with specific divine knowledge and insight about a particular situation. This is concerning a situation that, without the Holy Ghost, there is no other way to know. (First Cor. 12:8)
- The Gift of Prophecy:
This gift involves two parts; one is to declare a message from God; a now word! The other is foretelling future events. Paul said of this gift, “Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.” First Corinthians 14:5 (NASB) Prophecy is nowhere to be found in many of our congregations. Foretelling future events is not existence and sadly in many local churches the pastor already knows what he is going to preach with weeks and at times months of anticipation. I was a part of a church that prepared the series for the whole year. Really?????? With everything that is going on around the world with this Coronavirus, politics, Hollywood, our culture, sport figures, etc. and we don’t have a now word? (First Cor. 12:10)
- Discerning of Spirits:
This is the spiritual gift that recognizes whether something comes from God or the devil. These folks are extremely important in our congregations; they protect us spiritually from foolishness; but many times, in the name of LOVE, these guys and ladies are not allowed to speak and point out problems or potential problems. (First Cor. 12:10)
- The Gifts of Tongues:
This is speaking an unknown language to you. I must point out that this is the most minimized gift of all because is really for our own edification, not the Body. In terms of the congregation this gift is not much help without the Interpretation of those tongues, (First Cor. 12:10) This is the supernatural interpretation of a supernatural tongue spoken in the congregation. Let us remember that Paul encouraged the interpretation of tongues because it was also useful for the edification of the Body. (First Cor. 12:10)
Some focus on preaching the gospel Sunday after Sunday, so if you are saved, it gets old after a time. For others is all about prophesy, yet for others is all about doctrine, etc. As ministers we have the responsibility of ministering the whole counsel of God just like the Apostle Paul did. I am afraid that we are not even coming close to that. We overdo some areas while ignoring others. In my own experience they all sin with the same sin; the sin of personal agendas and denominational politics.