The Privilege of Preaching – Allen Webster

The Privilege of Preaching – Allen Webster

The most important event that takes place in any city on any day this week is the work the Gospel preacher does. And this includes New York, Hollywood, and Washington. Work done in New York may affect world finances or fashion; workers in Hollywood may produce new entertainment which will be enjoyed by millions, and decisions made in Washington may change the world for better or worse, but what the Gospel preacher does will matter when the world is on fire and the NYSE and Rodeo Drive and Pennsylvania Avenue are no more.

The world does not see it this way, of course. They hardly notice what we do, and, if they do, they ridicule. This should not surprise anyone, for this has been the case since the church was new. Paul wrote, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God . . . For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:18, 21). “Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:60). “But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Savior” (Tit. 1:3).

It is a privilege because preaching is indispensable to Christianity.

Without the preaching of the Word of God, one cannot be a Christian. Paul said,

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom. 10:13-17).

In this passage, Paul uses what is called a regressive argument. That is, he argues from a conclusion to a cause. He says that everyone who calls upon the Lord in faith will be saved. But to call upon him, one must first hear about him. And to hear about him, one must first have someone tell him about the Lord. And that someone is a preacher. “How can you believe in one that you have not first heard about?” Paul asks. “And how can you hear about God unless first a preacher tells you about Him?” Preaching is indispensable to believing. And believing is a prerequisite to salvation. Preaching is the sine qua non—the “without which nothing”—of faith and everlasting life.

It is a privilege to preach because preaching saves souls.

The church in the world is a lot like the story that E. Stanley Jones tells of the missionary in the jungle. He got lost with nothing around him but bush and a few cleared places. He finally found a small village and asked one of the natives if he could lead him out of the jungle. The native said he could. “All right,” the missionary said, “Show me the way.” They walked for hours through dense brush hacking their way through unmarked jungle. The missionary began to worry and said, “Are you quite sure this is the way? Where is the path?” The native said. “In this place there is no path. I am the path.” Preachers are the path to lead others to salvation (Brett Blair,

It is a privilege to preach because it puts one in great company.

The word preach (in various forms) is found 159 times in the Bible.

  • John the Baptist came preaching (Matt. 3:1).
  • God sent Jesus to preach (Luke 4:43).
  • Jesus preached in synagogues, and from city to city (Matt. 4:17, 23; 9:35). Jesus’ first sermon in His “home church” was on the subject of preaching (Luke 4:17-19).
  • Jesus’ last words on earth were: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
  • The apostles obeyed this command, for the historian records: “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42).
  • The church began with dynamic preaching on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).
  • The early disciples who were scattered abroad went preaching (Acts 8:4).
  • When the Samaritans believed Philip preaching, they were baptized, both men and women (Acts 8:12).
  • Paul stood ready to preach: “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also” (Rom. 1:15). He considered it a privilege to preach: “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8).

It is a privilege to preach because it strengthens Christians and churches (Acts 20:28-32).

There is an ongoing need for teaching. Hearing the truth is not like a one-time vaccination—it’s more like a prescription that needs to be dispensed over a long period of time! On the back of one preacher’s door is this quote by Frederick Danker: “The Gospel is a fuel required constantly to produce and promote the life of the Spirit within the Christian. The fruits of the Spirit grow only where the Gospel is sown tirelessly and unremittingly.”

Active churches have many ongoing activities, but they could omit any of them better than they could the preaching. In the midst of busy, helpful activities, the time-conscious apostles decided, “We will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). Preaching and salvation go together as cause and effect. If the preacher fails, the church will fail. When the pulpit ceases to give living water, drought spreads in the pews. But when fountains flow from the pulpit, then the desert becomes a garden.

Most historic social movements (cf. Nazism, Communism, the Civil Rights Movement, political campaigns), have been led by “preachers,” men who used the art of public speaking to inspire others. Abraham Lincoln said, “He who molds opinion is greater than he who enacts laws” ( Farmers and doctors keep people living, but preachers make life worth living.

Preachers have been a fixture in Christianity for over 2,000 years. God managed for 1,700 years without a Sunday school, as important as that is. He managed 1,850 years without a single Boy Scout. But He has never managed without a preacher. Many things have come and gone—preachers have stayed. Consider the importance of what a local preacher does. If we do not preach to our congregation, nobody else will.