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Best Meats in Town

There was a grocery store in our area that was known for selling good quality meats. People would drive from neighboring counties just to buy beef and pork. They knew where to find them because the store had a reputation.

The Bible has food for children and for adults in the faith. It offers  milk for babes and meat for adults. Two times the Scriptures rebuke Christians for drinking the milk of the Word when they should have been eating meat. Paul told the Corinthians, “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able” (I Cor. 3:2). The book of Hebrews says, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:10-12).

Preachers today serve a lot of milk but little if any meat. Those who are old enough to remember the way gospel preachers used to preach see the difference. Many preachers today don’t study the Bible much. They search the internet looking for illustrations, ideas and outlines for sermons but spend little quality time with the Bible. When they use Scriptures in a sermon, they rarely explain them so that the audience can understand and remember them. When they address a controversial issue (which is rare), they tiptoe cautiously. Bible verses are sprinkled here and there, but the real focus is on the story they’re telling which is usually heartwarming and optimistic. They use the Bible to back up the story instead of the other way around. And even more sadly, the people who drink this milk love to have it so.

Many preachers today are storytellers, counsellors, and motivational coaches, but not preachers. I am not just talking about Joel Osteen and Andy Stanley. I am talking about some who preach in buildings with a sign out front that says “Church of Christ.”

Preachers have different personalities and styles, but there is no excuse for watering down the Word of God to please the crowd. God told Isaiah, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isa. 58:1). Is that what preachers are doing in sermons?

Some of Paul’s last words to a preacher were: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 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” (II Tim. 4:2-4). Here we are almost two thousand years later and we see these words unfolding before our very eyes.

Paul told another preacher, “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee” (Titus 2:15). Do preachers today exhort and rebuke? Do they preach with the authority of God Almighty or offer suggestions and share personal ideas?

There are still Christians who are starving for the meat of the Word. Like those that drove miles to the market I mentioned for good meat, they are willing to go the extra mile to be fed. These verses ought to remind preachers of the serious responsibility they have, and they should reprove listeners who are satisfied with low fat milk when they should crave a good steak.

Kerry

West End church of Christ bulletin January 21, 2024

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