Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Preach the Word

2 Timothy 4:2

Preach the word…

profileToday’s devotional thought is mainly for pastors but we can all get something out of it I hope. Pastors are given the following marching orders by God through Paul – Preach the Word. I have written on this passage numerous times – it is one of my favorite passages. 2 Timothy 4:2 – Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

The tension that some pastors feel and the thin line that some walk is preaching the word in a relevant way that stays with people without watering down or changing the word. Jesus taught using parables – examples that people would remember later and when they remembered the story – they might just remember the truth that He was trying to tell them.

Pastors are always searching for illustrations. Illustrations are stories they can use to make a point – to make the point the Scripture is trying to make relevant – remembered.

During this season of new pastors in the United Methodist Church being appointed and ordained/certified – I would like to remind us that illustrations should help to illuminate the point of Scripture – not the other way around. Starting with the passage – we can find illustrations that help to make the point – but the point shouldn’t be the illustration. The point should always be the Scripture(s) of the day.

For instance – when preaching on spiritual warfare – Paul used the illustration of a soldier (at times he used the Olympics) in Ephesians 6:10–20 – 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. We remember the example – the illustration – but more importantly – at least for me – is the image of preparing for spiritual warfare.

I have heard talks (can’t call them sermons) that have had nothing to do with Scripture – or nothing to do with the Scriptures read for the day. Have you ever walked out of the service and wondered what the message had to do with Scripture?  Some speakers (can’t call them preachers) talk about the Sunday morning paper – the latest fad or the latest news item – not as an illustration to drive home a Scriptural point but as the content of the talk. I wish it weren’t so.  Convict us Lord to Preach the Word!

Sermons should be based on the Word of God – the Holy Scriptures. Illustrations should be used only as they support the point being made in Scripture – IMHO.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.


May 20, 2014 - Posted by | Church, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. A clergy friend sent me this remark – they will remain anonymous. “I just read your devotional, and totally had the thought of, how did that have anything to do with the scripture after the clergy session. A good “sermon” but had nothing to do with the scripture.”


    Comment by raymcdonald | May 20, 2014 | Reply

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