Iain Murray writes: “An invariable characteristic of true preaching has been the assurance that the proclamation of the gospel is the divinely ordained means for the conviction and conversion of sinners. ‘It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe’ (1 Corinthians 1:21), and in accordance with this persuasion evangelicals have never been content to preach the Word without seeing any change wrought in their hearers” (The Invitation System, pg 1).
As I read this earlier this morning, I was struck by the stark nature and realization that the evangelical church today is absolutely focused and dedicated to seeing results. Many pastors of today’s mega-churches seem to insinuate that if your church is not growing and experiencing phenomenal “spontaneous” baptisms, well, then you are part of a dead, failing church. But, what is worse is that pastors who are faithful to the Word of God, faithful to their congregation, faithful in their walk before the Lord, find themselves dealing with all the negativity and thoughts of failure that are projected on them by the evangelical, results oriented, culture we live in.
I find it fascinating that the writer of Hebrews, in the 11th chapter talks about Noah. If the Bible were being written today (and in many ways it is being rewritten, and not for the better), Noah would not get any mention at all. Yet the writer of Hebrews states that Noah “condemned the world” by his faithful obedience to his reverent fear of what God had revealed to him. Peter even calls Noah a “herald of righteousness” (2 Pet 2:5). Yet, only 6 people besides Noah entered the ark before “the Lord shut [them] in” (Gen 7:16). By today’s pragmatic standards, Noah would be a colossal failure since he only “reached” 6 people in 120 years.
I write this as an encouragement to all of you pastors out there who don’t preach to 15000 people every Sunday, don’t have a staff of 50, don’t deal with a budget of millions; but constantly struggle with the bills every month, wonder if 20 people will show up to hear your sermon, and haven’t seen a baptism in a year. Stay faithful! The work is the Lords. He is the one that is faithful to bring about His will, for His glory. As I read His Word, I seem to find that God doesn’t “need” our help, matter of fact, if God needs anything, then He isn’t God at all. The amazing thing is that He uses us as a means of bringing His good and perfect will to pass.