“A Word too preachy” Romans 1:15-17
Pastor Robb CAGER, III
This society, unto which we’ve been assigned but for a brief period, places great emphasis on individual rights, and liberties. The freedoms which we often take for granted, here in these United States, are unheard of in many other parts of the world: The freedom to speak one’s mind, without risk of persecution; the freedom to reside where one’s financial state allows; the freedom to marry whomever one desires, (so long as the other party is in agreement), and the freedom to practice whatever, (or no) religion that one chooses, are just a few of the rights, and liberties that many men, and women sacrificed their sweat, and ultimately, their lives to secure. Americans love their rights, and when those inalienable rights are threatened, or infringed upon, Americans will let you know! We don’t want to be made to do anything we don’t want to do; or be made to go anywhere we don’t want to go. More than two decades ago, many in mainstream America began to use the term, “too preachy”, to express their displeasure with any exhortative discourse, or insinuation. Movies, Broadway productions, and even songs, have been dismissed, as being “Too Preachy”, due to their instructive, or exhortative content. Even in Christendom, or Churchdom, we now see a wave of resistance to Biblical instruction. People, who call themselves by the name of GOD, in many cases, frown upon teaching that’s not coated in sweetness. Many Christians will listen to the Gospel, as long as its watered down, and the things that they like to do, or their indulgences, no matter how sinful, are not condemned, or spoken on. Thus, many of those who have been called to Preach the Gospel, are often faced with the choice of Preaching the un-adulterated Word of GOD, which the bible describes in Hebrews 4:12, as being “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two- edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart; or a diluted version, which causes one to feel good for a season, and fools the hearer into thinking that their behavior is vindicated, but has no lasting value, and is akin to applying an ace bandage to an aneurysm. Many there be, long for the feeling, and benefits of the presence of The Living GOD, but not the behavioral modifications, which The Word of GOD mandates. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8:13, “for if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live”. As we go about, embracing the hand of GOD to steady us as we navigate the complexities of this life, we find that only The Word of GOD lightens our paths, that we walk not in darkness; only GOD’S Word when hidden is our hearts, provides the wherewithal necessary to sin not against GOD; only GOD’S Word, when heeded with One‘s whole heart, cleanses our way, that we might walk uprightly before Him, worshipping and serving Him, in righteousness, and holiness, all the days of our lives. Yes, wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereunto according to thy Word. The Apostle Paul, in our text, boldly pronounces himself ready to Preach The Gospel to The Church, which was located at Rome. It is widely believed that Paul wrote this letter to the Roman Church, in A.D. 57, near the end of his third missionary journey, evidently during his three month stay in Greece, and more specifically, in Corinth. The Church in Rome was well known, and had been in existence for several years at the time of the writing in question. Historical record alludes to the probability of there being in the Church at Rome, not a few believers, and evidence indicates that they met in several locations. Tacitus, the historian, referred to the Christians who Nero persecuted in Rome, in A.D. 64, as an “immense multitude”, as the Gospel of Jesus Christ filled the vacuum, left by the largely defunct polytheism of Roman religion. Let us examine three points, in text, and I’ll take my seat.
(1) The Word of GOD readies you to meet Jesus:In this day of being exhorted by the “powers that be”, of this worldly system, to do what you want, as long as it feels good; or to do what you like, as long as you don’t hurt others, it’s not surprising that many Christians have begun to behave as do those who know not The LORD. Many Christians have bought into the lie which the devil has sold, that you can live however you want, and still make it into heaven; while many others allow that one must incorporate at least some good works into lives otherwise given to debauchery. Jesus settles this debate, in Matthew 4:1-4, when after initially being tempted of the devil, answered, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of GOD”. As we travel down this road called life, we’re regularly challenged by the forces of evil to embrace the manner of this present world, and ignore the truths of GOD, which have been proclaimed by Men and Women of GOD, since time began. This world’s fashions, The Bible tells us in 1John 2:15-17, is only temporal, and is not to be desired of those who have passed from death unto life, saying: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of The Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of The Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof; but he that does the will of GOD abides forever”. Thus, of necessity, we must embrace The Word of GOD, if for no other reason than to be not consumed by the devices of this world. Increasingly, in this world, the morals of bygone eras have given way to the “in your face”, force fed filthiness of present day America: television has become full throttle in it’s celebration of violence, and sexuality. Why, its embarrassing to watch even the evening news with One’s children, due to the overtness of but- nakedness, and profanity-laced discourse; The games which we buy for our children, have become so gorily, and gruesomely macabre, that even grizzled veterans cringe at their reports. Nothing in this world is left to the imagination; from almost full, frontal nudity, to gaping exit wounds to the head, it’s all front and center: Right at the dinner table. But, when someone speaks a word in protest, America retorts: “You’re being too preachy”! I can recall, a few years ago, during the question and answer phase of one of the National beauty pageants, a young contestant was asked to give her opinion of marriage. She answered that she was raised to recognize marriage as the sacred union of love between a MAN and a WOMAN. How could she have given such an answer? They ultimately destroyed her! They then dug deep into her background, and found some sexually explicit photos, or videos that called her character into question. And, believe you me, when you take a stand for righteousness, your past will be brought front and center. She was for all intents and purposes, done! All because she essentially said that she doesn’t believe in two men or two women, marrying each other. Hello!! Because so many influential, product purchasing, lewd , and lascivious living individuals demand it, we’re all being force-fed the filthiest of the filthy. And when those who call themselves by the name of GOD neglect to consume The Word of GOD, on a regular basis, they too, become more accepting of the world’s ways, thereby rendering men ineffective in our ongoing quest to keep our thoughts, and meditations on those things which pertain to the kingdom of GOD. Thus, the Word of GOD protects us from the effects of the ways of this world. Jesus teaches us in John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life”. GOD’S people are in need of being quickened, or made alive, after being continually bombarded by the ways of death. The Word of GOD readies you to meet Jesus.(2) Don’t be ashamed of The Gospel:In our text, Paul boldly proclaimed that he was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. We must be like minded, in our efforts to carry out GOD’S charge of Matthew 28:19-20, to: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world”. We can’t allow ourselves to be deterred by the reactions of those who believe not, or reject our witness. Many will hate you, because you stand for the things which pertain to the righteousness of GOD. Jesus said in John 15:18-19, “If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you”. But, necessity is laid upon us to press ahead, knowing above all things, that our steps are ordered by GOD. We press forward because we’re convinced that the Gospel of Christ is the power of GOD, unto salvation to those who believe. In this world, with all that is allowed, even encouraged, one must be empowered from on High to believe. The devil, being the prince of this present world, knows that the children of men are attracted to the tentacles of evil. Therefore, he tirelessly works to saturate even the air that men breathe, with vain things. Thus we must go forth, realizing that we have a real enemy, who will go to the greatest lengths imaginable, to discredit GOD’S message, and His messengers. The Word of GOD emboldens the messengers of GOD, increasing our faith, and makes us not ashamed to stand, even in the face of fierce opposition, and speak what thus says The LORD. Yes, this Gospel of Christ is not preached without opposition, and many times, the messenger him/herself will be personally attacked. The Apostle Paul was convinced that the Gospel, which he preached, was indeed GOD’S power to change the lives of the hearer. Paul was imprisoned, beaten, plotted against, and stoned, but continued with what GOD had ordained in him. Paul said in 1COR 9:16, “For though I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel”. And, in this day, many are preaching for reasons other than those that were intended. Some preach to be recognized of men, that’s why you see many adding lofty titles to their names. Others preach to gain wealth, and will turn, and twist GOD’S Word anyway necessary to insure financial increase. GOD stands with that man or woman, who’ll stand flat-footed, and proclaim GOD’S Word regardless of his/her notoriety, or lack thereof; GOD stands with that man or woman, who’ll preach, even if they don’t have gas money to get back home. When I answered this call of GOD, I promised that I would preach the same to two, as I would to two-thousand; that I would preach with the same, or an even greater intensity than with which I served sin; that if given another opportunity, (I’ve walked away on numerous occasions) I would preach GOD’S Word without regard to the likelihood of being compensated; that I’d boldly preach the Gospel of Christ without shame, as it is the power of GOD, unto salvation to all who believe; that I would not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ! Don’t be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.(3) Within the Gospel, the righteousness of GOD is revealed:In our text, Paul announces that the righteousness of GOD, is revealed in the Gospel of Christ. And, if there has ever been a time, and place in the recorded history of mankind, when and where GOD’S righteousness is needed, its here and now. Many have taken upon themselves to declare their convictions of how inner peace, and peace with GOD, is obtained. Sadly, and dangerously, they do so without having consulted GOD’S Word. Thus, their directives are inundated with their opinions, their traditions, and the doctrines of men. Solomon teaches in Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the ends thereof, are the ways of death”. All around, we see the stark, grim, and colossally real reminders of evil, in all of it’s ugliest forms. Man’s misuse of his own freedom has ushered us to a point in our existence, which, as it pertains to evil, has not been seen since Sodom and Gomorrah. And while many continue to reject the Gospel, it remains the only life-changing, righteousness producing, time proven, behavior modifying, love generating, eternal life guaranteeing power known to man. The Apostle Peter exclaims in Acts 4:11-12, “This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”. Within the Gospel, GOD’S righteousness, which had been hidden since the beginning of time, is revealed to the sons of men. No matter how often, and vehemently it’s rejected, the preaching of the Gospel, and the hearing thereof, opens the doors to the hearts of men, which the enemy has held shut for far too long. Within the Gospel, GOD’S righteousness is revealed!
We’re living in a world, among a people who regularly, and openly reject the teachings of Jesus. We, whom GOD has called out of the darkness of this present system, and into the marvelous light of the living GOD, are convinced that, no man can confidently anticipate the coming of that blessed hope, Jesus, without The Gospel living in his heart. Thus, we must boldly, through our actions, and words, compel those who are lost, to turn to The living GOD. While many may reject us, (They’re in essence rejecting GOD) and say we’re being “too preachy”, we press forward, knowing that GOD has revealed to us His righteousness, and the power essential for salvation.
Peace and Blessings always,
Pastor Robb J.K. CAGER, III