Enjoying the Journey
Dr. Tom Malone used to joke about having five sermons and five hundred titles. My pastor challenged me years ago to work constantly at preparing new Bible messages. That counsel has been of inestimable value to me. It is easy to let your soul grow stale when the Bible is so fresh!
As I have labored to study and prepare new messages I have come back to one essential. It was one of the first homiletics lessons I ever received. As a teenage preacher, struggling over what to preach in a certain meeting, my dad extended to me a priceless truth. He said, “When you don’t know what to preach, just preach Jesus.” Then he added, “And when you think you know what to preach, just preach Jesus.”
A preacher may have many sermons, but he must have only one message. As I travel from place to place I have come to realize that there is only one message that truly changes hearts. Only one message that refreshes and brings new life. Only one. Our message is Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Peter understood this. Everywhere he went people wanted something from him. This is human nature – “Show us something…give us something…do something we have never seen!” It was to such a man that he said, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6).
Like the apostles, I have nothing to give but Jesus. Nothing to show but Jesus. Nothing to tell but Jesus. Nothing to do but to lift up Jesus. Only Jesus.
Peter explained, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
The preacher’s job is not to entertain people or advance his own agenda. It is to call men to Christ.
Over the last few weeks the Holy Spirit has brought me back again and again to one verse of Scripture. I have taken it as a ministry verse for the work God has given us to do. It is the last invitation in the Bible…
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).
The last thing on God’s heart, the lasting message of the Word of God, is to invite men to come to Jesus!
- It is the Spirit’s message – it should be mine.
- It is the word that I have heard – I must speak it.
- It is the only thing that will quench thirsty hearts – I must share Him.
Come to Jesus.
This is the secret to Paul’s joy even in jail. He lived for one thing: “Christ shall be magnified” (Philippians 1:20). When we magnify ourselves, our problems, our work, our enemies or our accomplishments, we are magnifying the wrong things. Far too many times I have served as a microscope – magnifying that which is small, instead of as a telescope – magnifying the greatness of our God to others. We are called to do one thing: to make Christ near and clear to those around us.
This is our mission and this is our message. Only Jesus.