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I have researched today’s preaching, have also done some research on yesterday’s preaching, some research on the attitudes of the Christians of yesterday, and on the attitudes of the Christians of today, some research on the preachers of today and some research on the preachers of the past.

The conclusion of this research is; many of today’s Christians are not what they are directed by God to be in His Word.  Today's churches are 'loaded' with what I call composite Christians. The kind that want to exchange soft gentle pleasantries rather than hearing the truth.

Much of today’s preaching is not what it was in the past because many of today’s preachers have gone the way of preaching what is pleasant to their church members, rather than the truth, which is pleasing to God. The truth has left the building.

Many of today’s Christians are looking to be uplifted by the sermon, rather than being corrected by the sermon. Many of today’s preachers are preaching a soft watered down message that will not anger his church’s contributors into stopping their contributions. Many of today’s sermons, are a uplifting message made by man to please man, and are not of God. They are designer sermons designed to uplift the church's contributors. In many churches, the Pastors who don’t preach to uplift the financial supporters are soon replaced by someone who does.
In time past, after a church service, people would get up off the hard wooden benches, and come though the old creaking wooden church doors, telling each other how they enjoyed that "hellfire and brimstone sermon." They received God’s message, they were made known of some changes they needed to make to become right with God.

Today, the people who are all dressed up in their ‘special designer church garbs’ politely arise from their well padded pews, step lightly over the thick soft carpet, exchange some social pleasantries with their friends, and, as they pass out through the crystal glass doors of their lovely palace of worship, they compliment their preacher for the beautiful uplifting lesson that he has so eloquently delivered. (And the preacher knows he'd better continue to give those "uplifting" eloquent chapel talks if he wants to stay long there).

A few years ago when Christians "knew their Bible" and governed their lives in accordance to their Bible, and the preachers preached hard against sin, there were a few who didn't like it, there’s one or two in every crowd, but the majority of truly converted children of God appreciated it.  They came to church hear what God had to say and to find out what changes they needed to make in their life and lifestyles because of what they heard in the hard sermon. What happened that hard honest preaching of yesterday? What happened to those honest Christians?

Today’s churches have become a place where many who call themselves Christians, but do not live the Christian lifestyle, go to hear pleasantries from the pulpit. If they don’t hear what they want to hear, they will move on because they are not there to hear God’s message of change. The honour among today's thieves is gone and so is the dedication and obedience to a church. The majority of today's church members  have convinced themselves they are so holy with repentance that they want to hear a nice gentle uplifting touchy-feely sermon that will make them feel all warm in the tummy, rather than hearing a sermon that will convict them as to what an awful sinner they are. Since they have deceived themselves into believing they have found the right way to holiness, they do not want to hear anything that will conflict with that way of thinking and make them aware of all their glaring unholy character.

They would rather believe in their mind they are right with God than to do what it takes to be right with God in their lives. Seeing how unholy they really are will make them feel just the way they really are…unholy. They have transformed God into their own special god.  A ‘special’ god, that is exactly the way they want him to be. A god that yields to their terms. They want nothing to change what they have in their god. They don’t want to know what is right in God’s sight.  They only want to believe the god they’ve created for themselves says what they are doing is right.

All of today's composite Christians believe they will get to heaven, but, they believe the god they have created, that fits their needs, will get them to heaven...but, on their own terms, and they don’t want God there when they get there. These people call themselves the chosen people of today’s church. My question is: If you are one of those, who are you chosen by?

One time Jesus said, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." We are then told that, "Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?" (John 6:53,60,61). Jesus knew that His preaching offended some, but he didn't change His preaching to pander to them. Those who walked away from Jesus didn’t want to hear the truth.  Today’s Christian, who is looking for his own way with his designer god does not want to hear the truth either. The truth steps on his toes, That’s unpleasant, and today’s composite Christians are looking for pleasantries, not truth.  

Another example of truth preaching: When John the Baptist "saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O ye generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance" (Matthew 3:7,8). When John saw Herod married to his own brother's wife, he said to Herod, "It is not lawful for thee to have her" (Matthew 14:4). If John would have told that to some of the Christians in today’s church, there would be complaining because there are many Christians today who do not want to hear anything about them doing something wrong. How could it be wrong if it is pleasant to them? Like I said, they have converted God to a god that says whatever they think or do is right. They created their own designer god to be just that. That is worshipping a false god.

Peter told the Jews on Pentecost day (Acts 2:23), "Him... ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain." He told them the truth. They had slain the Messiah.

In today’s church, there’s a lot of people who ‘slay the messiah’ and them whine and grumble about it when a preacher enlightens them about the sins they’ve used to ‘slay the Messiah.’ The preacher let their cat out of its bag. Once their cat is out of the bag, it’s a big fight for them to get the cat back in the bag before they are found out. So they complain and divert the attention elsewhere. If complaining doesn’t change the preaching from hard and truthful to their preference of touchy-feely, these composite "Christians" will soon move from one congregation to another in order to escape hearing their own story in the hard preaching. But not before a lot of rumbling and grumbling.

In light of this cry baby attitude, or this ‘I want to hear a sermon that is pleasant’ attitude, I raise several questions: First, what is hard preaching? Second, is hard preaching wrong? Third, why would a Christian be opposed to hard preaching? Fourth, why would a preacher preach hard?

Just what exactly is hard preaching? Each individual has his or her own answer for this question. The answers will vary and will be influenced by the sermon content, what sins the church crier is guilty of, and the person’s attitude toward God and the preacher. Webster’s dictionary defines hard as "Opposed to soft; carried on energetically or persistently; earnest; displaying severity." Preaching is commonly defined as, "A sermon; the delivery in public of a public message." Therefore, hard preaching is basically a message of truth, right out of the Bible, that is presented energetically, persistently in words that some may believe to be harsh or severe. That depends on the sinfulness of the listener. If it shines light on some dark part of the listeners life, or if the sermon convicts the listener, and causes guilt in the listener, it is a hard sermon. If it causes confusion as to whether the listener is on the right path to God, then it is a hard sermon. If the listener doesn’t want to hear the truth, it’s a hard sermon.

If a sermon is pleasant to the listener, and encourages him that everything he’s doing is right, whether the sermon is of God or not, then the listener will not complain. God’s message is the truth and the truth cuts. A hard sermon will cut to the truth, and sinners don’t like to be cut by the truth because being convicted by the truth causes an action on their part; change.

Is it wrong to preach the word hard and persistently? NO! Not at all. The area of disagreement seems to center around the words used by the preacher in his preaching. Is there a place for severe words in preaching? Jesus thought there was; He said, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" (Matthew 23:33). In Matthew 23 Jesus called His hearers "hypocrites" over and over. Jesus never held back to spare the feelings of his listeners, and since Jesus didn’t why should today’s preacher. Today’s Christian is supposed to be like Christ, so should he preach a sermon that is deigned to be pleasant or should it reveal the truth. Sorry, the truth is usually hard for a sinner who does not want to repent. If many of today’s Christians heard a sermon from Jesus or John the Baptist they would probably cut out the sermons. Church would not be on their agenda anymore.

On another occasion, Jesus said, "Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition," and then tells them that their kind of worship is rendered in vain (Mark 7:9). The Master was very strict when He said, "...no one cometh unto the Father, but by me"  Many were offended at His preaching. (John 6:60,61)!

The Bible says, "Then came the disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, when they heard this saying" (Matthew 15:12). Jesus knew the effect of His severe words, but He continued to employ them. The Pharisees were not right with God, so a truthful sermon angered them.

So, following Jesus’ lead, when someone is offended by a sermon, the preacher should not make a change to his style of preaching to suffice those who are offended. Just because they are offended tells me they are also not right  with the Bible. They should have caught the message of the sermon when they were reading their Bible. They probably have one of those non KJ modern day perverted bibles that omits verses and adds ideas, to tell them what they want to hear. IF they were offended the sermon was done properly. The truth cuts deep. The preacher should deliver the truth rather than a sermon pleasing to man.

The Apostle Stephen also preached ‘hard.’ He said, "Ye stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do you" (Acts 7:51). Steven told the truth…hard. His hard sermons cost him his life! People today are no different than those Steven was preaching to. Just because people don’t want the hard truth, does not justify not giving the sermon in a way that it won’t convict.

John, the apostle of love, preached harder than most preachers of today. "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:4). John’s words could not be clearer. From the example of Jesus, Stephen, John and many others, hard preaching is not wrong. It brings the truth.  Those who need to hear it the most, want to hear it the least. The key to hard preaching is speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

There may be several reasons why some oppose hard preaching. Here are a few: First, a Christian who complains about hard preaching does not understand that hard preaching must be done. Second, the complainers are usually weak or dishonest their Christian walk. It may be that he will go along and not take a stand on anything, or tell anybody that they are wrong, because he doesn't want to offend anyone, or he may be a part of the wrong. Third, and usually the most common reason, he is living in the sin being preached and doesn't want those sins brought to his attention. Someone said, "Our attitudes will determine our destiny." Fourth, he may be looking for an excuse to leave the church, or possibly cause trouble among God's people. Fifth, he may be trying to get rid of the preacher or at least shut him up. There may be other reasons why a Christian may be opposed to hard preaching, but they are all wrong.

Unless a preacher demonstrates otherwise, I believe that gospel preachers should preach hard because it is the will of God for them to do so. The faithful gospel preacher's commission is, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and doctrine." And Paul warns, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (2 Timothy 4:2-4). We are there now. Therefore, in order to be pleasing unto God and save his own soul, the preacher must preach hard (1 Timothy 4:16). A reading of the New Testament letters to Christians will reveal many hard things that the preacher must use in his preaching. In preaching hard, he will preach the "whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27).

There are certain subjects that some preachers won't preach on. Other preachers succumb to direct pressure in a congregation, and others attempting to pacify infantile members sometimes refuse to deliver a much needed hard sermon as a lesson. God's prophet was pressured in 1 Kings 22:13, "And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good." But his reply was, "As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak" (v. 14).

Some demanded of Isaiah, "Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits" (30:10). Did you hear it? Just like today, in other words, "We aren't interested in the truth, we just want to feel good, even if you have to tell us lies. Brother, let's beware of a constant diet of "smooth things". No doubt the psalmist had reference to literal honey when he said, "Hast thou found honey? Eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it" (Proverbs 25:16). Too much "sweet talk" is also nauseating to those who realize we must all appear before Christ's Judgment Seat.

Can you honestly say just as the Apostle Paul said, "I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house" (Acts 20:20)? And, just as Paul, can you say that you are "...pure from the blood of all men. For [you] have not shunned to declare.... all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:26,27)?

Today, more than ever before, there is great need for hard preaching. There is also a great need for the support by God's people for that kind preaching. God's record shows that it will strengthen the saint and save the sinner. Preaching a touchy-feely sermon benefits only Satan. Satan is the only one who gains souls by this type of a soft touchy-feely message being delivered. If the message does not convict and cause a Godly change in the saints, it allows their unrighteousness to remain.

These are my thoughts on preaching in general. In considering a sermon to be a hard preached sermon, or a soft preached sermon, the determination is made by the question, is it a sermon of truth or is a man pleasing uplifting sermon? Man is a sinner and the more he is reminded of that disposition, the better are his chances of repenting and receiving salvation. That is my goal in preaching. I do not think about preaching hard or preaching soft. God gives me a message based on His Biblical truth and I deliver it to the listener. It is whatever God says it is.

I hope that God speaks to you through this memo about this propaganda about preaching styles. I believe it is another gyle Satan has chosen to use to tempt any kind of conviction and repentance within the body of Christ to change to no conviction or no repentance.

The way I deliver God’s message is the way God has blessed me to deliver it. This is the style I use. I will continue to preach the way God has given me tp preach until I receive notice from God to change it.  And…I am sure that if he desires I change something in my delivery, I am sure it will take place at the time He decides, not when you or I or decide.




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