Why We Preach?

by PastorErick | 3/27/17, 9:47 AM

From the beginning God’s church has been obsessed with starting new churches, and sending missionaries and helping the poor and the list could go on and on. With these tasks, comes lots of sacrifice of time, and money and resources with many times not a lot of seemingly impressive results. And yet, the reason the church has worked so hard throughout history to do these things is ultimately for one reason: To share the gospel with as many people as possible. Why is that? Why do we do all this just for the chance to share the message of the gospel? To answer that question, I’m going to read just a few short verses from Matthew 9:35-38 and then we’ll look at some of the answers we’re shown there…..

[35] And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. [36] When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. [37] Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; [38] therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Alright, so why do we preach? From the text I just read, I’d like to give just a few answers: The first one’s going to be SUPER OBVIOUS, but it is nonetheless true:

Because He calls us to

Listen to vs. 37-38 again: Jesus looks over the masses of people, the cities teeming with people and declares, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” A little later on in this gospel we see Jesus do just that. Sending his apostles out to the harvest he commands them: “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Over and over throughout the Bible, the call from God is for His church to go to those who are running and lost and tell them that they have news of a kingdom of refuge accessed by the work of Jesus Christ. So, Jesus says to Peter, “Follow me (Why?) I’ll make you fishers of men;” Of course you have the Great Commission passages too: Matthew 28: “Go and make disciples of all nations!” John 20: “As the Father has sent me, so now I send you.” Acts 1:8-9 says, “You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” And that’s exactly what we read in the rest of the New Testament actually took place. Within a hundred years, the gospel had been preached so often and in so many places (almost everywhere in the known world) that the Roman Empire was turned upside down!

As strange is it may seem it is through the message of Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins that people are transformed. As Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing of the word of Christ.” So, we preach because He’s called us to! Secondly, we preach Christ…

Because He loves them

Hear the heart of your Savior right now: vs. 36: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” He had compassion or to define it, “a sense of shared suffering” with them. He put Himself in their place as lost and dying sinners unable to see their great need for saving. His heart breaks as he sees our neighbors harassed and helpless. The word for harassed in Greek is literally “flayed open” or slashed open. The word for helpless is “cast down”. It was used to describe what a wolf would do to the sheep without a Shepherd. He tears open the sheep, flinging it around in its mouth. The sheep would lie there bleeding to death. That is the way the world looks to Jesus. And yet, of course, like a herd of sheep unaware that there is a wolf in their midst, they don’t realize it. The only way they can be rescued from certain death is if someone comes and tells them, and steers them away from the wolf. They need a shepherd. Do we see our neighbors, our communities, our city, as sheep without a Shepherd, harassed and helpless?

G.K. Chesterton once quipped, “Every man who knocks on the door of a brothel is looking for God.” What he means is essentially that everyone is worshiping something. The problem is it’s the wrong thing! It can be anything that one worships instead of the life giving, life transforming, sin forgiving God. We are natural idol worshipers and the problem is those idols always lead us to death. As Luther said in his Large Catechism, “A “god” is the term for that to which we are to look for all good and in which we are to find refuge in all need. Therefore, to have a god is nothing else than to trust and believe in that one with your whole heart. As I have often said, it is the trust and faith of the heart alone that make both God and an idol. If your faith and trust are right, then your God is the true one. Conversely, where your trust is false and wrong, there you do not have the true God. For these two belong together, faith and God. Anything on which your heart relies and depends, I say, that is really your God.” So we preach, to introduce those who are lost and harassed and helpless to the Good Shepherd who alone can give life.

But there’s a third most important reason we’re called to preach the gospel, and that is….

Because He loves us

It’s all too easy in talks about evangelism (which essentially this is) to talk about all the work that needs to be done and all the opportunity we have and in the process forget the ultimate reason for why we preach: We preach because He loves us.

Never forget that every single one of us are just as much a part of that crowd Jesus looks over with compassion. Never forget that apart from His grace in your life you are like sheep without a shepherd, harassed and helpless. Every single Christian, no matter what our individual story, ultimately have the same story: “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found- was blind but now I see.” That was the whole reason He came: To seek and save the lost. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance Paul writes: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.”

He came, teaching, preaching, and healing to save those in need of resurrection. He comes to where you and I are, dead in trespasses and sins and says “God shows His love for you in this, that while you were yet sinners, Christ died for you.”

He loves you, and has proven it in His Son. This fact alone, is the overarching motivation for why we preach the gospel to others. If we don’t get this, if we don’t know this, that God really loves us, then we will never have the proper motivation for sharing the gospel to others. And then sharing our faith is this “have to” that leads us to anxiety and guilt rather than a “get to” that flows from gratitude and freedom. 1 John 4 says, “We love because he first loved us.” We preach, because He first preached to us too.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Erick



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