On any given Sunday in Bloomington, we have several visitors in our services. We have others who have attended before, but are not members of our local church. So it is important that we let them know that our church is different from other churches in our area in many different ways. · We are different because of our understanding of the purpose of the church. That it isn't a social club or a political organization here to reform the world, but it is to be a lighthouse pointing men, women, boys and girls to Calvary and the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
We are different because of our emphasis on world-wide missions, we presently support 65 missionary families and projects around the world with a total missions budget of over $47,000. To God be the glory! We are different because of our organization. We are an independent Baptist church governed by our local congregation, not some ecclesiastical hierarchy.
We are different because of our stand on the Word of God. We believe that this old King James Version Bible doesn't just contain the Word of God, but It is the Word of God and the only rule for our faith and practice.
There are many ways that we are different, but perhaps one of the most obvious ways that we are different is because of the message we preach!
Read: 2 Timothy 4:2
I. The Message We Preach Is Imperative!
A. To young Timothy the apostle Paul did not ask him to preach the Word, he commanded him to preach the Word!
B. Preaching the Gospel was the center of Paul's ministry.
1. "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel..." 1Co. 1:17
2. He writes to Titus and tells him that God "...hath in due times manifested His Word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour." cf Titus 1:3
3. In the final orders given to the local church prior to His ascension into heaven Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Mk. 16:15
C. The preaching of God's Word is commanded by God's Word! It is imperative.
1. Note: 1 Corinthians 1:18-23
2. To the Greeks, with all of their philosophy, thought that it was foolish.
3. To the Jews, with their religious traditions and rituals, the preaching of the cross was a stumblingblock.
4. There are those today who think that it is foolish... a. some say that it is just too simple to believe that Jesus died in our place that we might have life b. to others it is offensive, because it goes against their religious traditions and thinking
5. Illus. Two men were discussing the message following a service in a Bible-believing, Bible- preaching church. One said, "I don't care for that preacher." "He stands in the pulpit and speaks as if he were speaking for God Almighty!" The other said, "You don't know it, but you just paid him the greatest compliment possible! For you see, that is why he is there"
6. The message we preach is imperative!
II. The Message We Preach Is Personal!
A. It centers around one person, Jesus Christ. cf 1 Co. 15:3-4
1. Paul preached the simple gospel: the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ...according to the Scriptures.
2. Jesus Christ is the central figure in the Bible.
a. All doctrine surrounds His person.
b. Every portion of the Word of God draws us to see the Lord Jesus Christ.
c. 2 Co. 4:5, "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake."
d. 1Co. 2:2, "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified."
B. This was the thrust of all New Testament preaching.
1. Acts 5:42, "They ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."
2. Acts 8:5, "Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them."
3. As the Jerusalem church scattered abroad due to persecution, they went "..preaching the Lord Jesus." cf Ac. 11:20
C. A personal message about the person of Jesus Christ, because what Christ did on Calvary...He did for every person.
III. The Message We Preach Is Powerful!
A. Powerful because the Word of God is powerful.
1. Heb. 4:12, "For the Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
2. This is not a dead book! and we do not preach a dead message!
3. The message we preach is powerful because it brings life to that which was dead!
4. John 11:25, "Jesus said...I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live."
B. Powerful because of the Holy Spirit.
1. Power in preaching does not come through the greatness of the preacher, through his style, or through his personality.
2. The power of preaching comes through the Holy Spirit.
3. NOTE: 1 Co. 2:4-5
4. When this is true, the result will be a powerful faith in those who believe.
5. Education, experience, and eloquence mean nothing without the power of the Holy Spirit.
6. As the Word of God is preached in the power of the Spirit of God, God begins to work in a service to bring about His blessings.
C. The message we preach is powerful, not because I am powerful, but because His Word and His Spirit work together to bring about the salvation of the lost, and brings conviction to hearts of those who believe.
IV. The Message We Preach Is Practical!
A. Something is practical if it has been tried and proven to work the way that it should.
B. It is practical because it does exactly what God intended for it to do.
1. "...It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." 1 Co. 1:21b
2. God could have chosen any number of ways to communicate His message to a lost and dying world, but He was pleased to use preaching.
C. It is a practical message, because anyone can understand it.
1. Little children to senior citizens can understand its message of love and compassion.
2. We often call the Gospel, God's simple plan of salvation.
3. Simple = uncomplicated because God is not willing that any should perish, but that all might come to repentance.
4. John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
5. Acts 16:31, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."
6. Ro. 10:13, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
The message is imperative, it is personal, it is powerful, and it is practical. And God has chosen us to preach it. "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." (2 Tim 4:2)