21 DAYS IN THE WORD - TOOL 21 - PREACH THE WORD
Though we are not all called to a ministry role of preaching, having the ability to communicate what you learn from God’s word to others is a crucial tool since we all are called to make disciples. This of course means we must be able to “teach them to do according to all that I’ve commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20) In 2 Timothy 4:2-3 Paul said, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers, and turn their ears away from the truth.”
Preaching the word in essence is about proclaiming to others how the truth of God’s word applies to our lives. It could involve explaining, encouraging, correcting (rebuking), and giving clear arguments to people for what and why we believe. Here are four simple ideas for turning something you read and understand in the Bible into a message to share with others.
1. First, really study to understand what God was trying to say through the writers of the Bible to those who first received that message. The message to us is first built on what the message was to them. It can apply to us in a different way today, but the underlying message is the same. So in our study, as we’ve shared previously, we want to try to understand the context and not just look for an inspirational thought. Who, what, why, where, when are questions we ask that lead us to the big question, “So what then is God saying through this passage to all of us then and today?
2. Try to look for and articulate “the big idea.” The big idea is the overarching or bottom line message. It is a powerful thing to spend time trying to write down an overarching message in a personal and memorable way. I might write down a message from the Scripture in 2 Timothy 4:2-3 with a big idea like this. Don’t just tell people what they want the Bible to say, tell them what it really says. Another idea might be, “keep sharing God’s word when it doesn’t feel convenient or popular.”
3. As we’ve said, the application is in many ways the most important thing people need help with. Take time to think about your audience and to pray for them in regard to the matter the Bible is discussing. In the same way you want to investigate scripture you need to consider the needs, struggles, and ideas of the people you are communicating with. You also want to think of ways that this applies to your life. It has been said, the best way we teach is through “show and tell.” In the passage we’ve mentioned a good question might be, “What are some popular ideas that people have itching ears to hear that could be skewed or one sided and that are keeping them from considering things that they really need to hear and consider. For example here are some popular things people are being told today. “God wants you to be happy and you deserve to be happy.” “If you love someone and don’t cheat on them it is ok to have sex with them even if you’re not married.” “There are people who don’t deserve to be forgiven, it is understandable if you hold a grudge and refuse to forgive them.” “God is an inclusive God who doesn’t judge people, even if people don’t believe in Jesus God will understand and save them.”
4. Then, having defined for yourself some ways that this truth applies to yourself and others you are going to share it with, write down simple answers to the following questions, give some examples, and ask for a response. The 3 questions are:
a. What is this verse saying?
b. Why is this important to consider and apply?
c. How should we apply this to our lives today?
Having done this it is good to invite them to a specific next step response. For example, we might ask, “What is an assumption we have believed in our life that is contrary to the word of God? Would you join me in repenting for believing that lie and surrendering your heart to believe and obey the truth?
Of course no matter what we teach we always want to bring it back to Jesus. As we have said, it is always all about Jesus. In this case we see that Jesus wants us to reject lies and believe the truth, because it allows us to receive the healing, forgiveness, and victory that He paid for on the cross. He has something better than a selfish pursuit of happiness He has true joy. He has a better solution than being hard and indifferent to people who have hurt us He has freedom from that hurt. He doesn’t want us to assume people are ok with God, He wants all of us to experience and have complete assurance that they have the eternal life that comes from knowing Jesus and accepting what He did on the cross as the only way to salvation.
Thank you so much for taking this 21 day journey with me. I hope you have been blessed and inspired to make the Word of God your key daily tool to a life of overwhelming victory and joy!