To Whom Shall We Preach?

May 20, 2005 — 2 Comments

Blogotional has done an interesting post on those who preachers are to preach to.

Is it the unsaved they are to be preaching to or is it to the unsaved? As the Broken Messenger said, “Is there some reason why we cannot do both?”

Blogotional believes that pastors need to be preaching to the saved to mature them, and leave evangelism to “Grahm Crusades, revivals, [and] Young Life Clubs.”

He is speaking in the context of a Sunday morning worship service. I think I do see his point to some degree. I mean, an unsaved person is not in a service to worship God, is he?

One thing John brings up is Phillipians 2:12.

He says “This would indicate that the reception of the gospel is not a one time event, but a lifelong journey.”

I think I see what he’s saying now. At first I took it as “you are saved gradually,” but I think he was speaking that we don’t go to the altar, pray, and then go out and sin.

Let me make a point clear. When we are saved, we’re saved. If someone comes to the altar and prays a prayer, then goes out and continues in sin, I don’t see him as having truly repented of his sins. A true believer, as John says, will begin to mature in his Christian walk.

No, we’re not going to be perfect, becuase we still live in imperfect bodies, but we should be becoming more and more like Christ.

Now, back to the topic at hand, who is being preached to on Sunday mornings? If it’s only for belivers, where do visitors fit in?

“When I visit say, China, the Chinese do not suddenly speak English for my sake, I must either 1) learn Chinese fast, or 2) find a translator, or some combination thereof. An unsaved visitor to a church is truly a foreigner in a foreign land. I have been to China and the Chinese were most welcoming and did everything in their power to make me feel at home, but they did not stop being Chinese, or doing what Chinese people do. While we want visitors to our churches, we do not need to stop being the church to accomodate them. In fact, much as I said in my defense of liturgy earlier this week, that very foreign nature of attending church as an unchurched person forces a reaction from the visitor.”

I agree. We’re not there to accomodate tot the wants of the unbelievers. We’re there to preach the Word, which should speak to both believers and non-Believers. That’s where visitors fit in.

“Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment (Hebrews 6:1-2)”

As Christians, we are to become more and more like Christ in our walk with Him. We are to study deeper and deeper into the Word. Does that mean that we don’t ever teach the basics of Christianity when we’ve become mature in our knowledge? By no means! We cannot forget the basics of Christianity. But we must mature in our understanding of the Scriptures. But we need to preach so that all will understand.

In the context of tongues:

“If the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? (1 Corinthians 14:23)”

If our whole church comes together and every one preaches on dispensationalism, and some (ok…many) who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say you are out of your mind?

Of course, who’s going to do that right? My point is that we need to be careful to not go to either extreme in this case. The word of God should speak to both the unbeliever and the believer.

It’s balance that we must strive for, not “only for believers” and “not only unsaved” in preaching alone. A worship service is to worship God. That is the part that is for the believer. The word of God can apply to the believer and unbeliever.

John does make a huge point–we can’t rely on the Church to save our friends. It’s main goal is to build up believers, and then share the gospel. We need to get out there and share the gospel!

We’re so pathetic here in the US. How many of us can say we share the gospel every day? Every week? Maybe every month?

Our evangelism should go beyond the Word preached on Sundays.

My challenge: E-mail me for one week telling me that you’ve shared the gospel with someone every day or at least once during that week. Take your pick. You don’t have to send in any money or anything. And your e-mail won’t be published or anything unless I have your permission. So send away folks…

Tim Sweetman


Tim Sweetman is a young writer, blogger, and student who lives near our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. He has been much more widely known by his “code-name,” Agent Tim. This name also served as the name of his popular blog, which received over 750,000 visits between 2005 to 2007. In 2005, he quickly rose to become a leading teenage spokesperson and cultural critic within the booming blogosphere, taking on issues such as MySpace, alcohol, homeschooling, pride, racism, tolerance, and other topics relating to our culture today. His blog has come to the attention of people such as Albert Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Alex and Brett Harris, and La Shawn Barber. Tim’s written work has appeared in Lifeway’s Living With Teenagers (February 2012), Lookout Magazine, FUSION Magazine, The Brink Online, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Virtue Magazine, Regenerate Our Culture Online Magazine, and on many other blogs and websites across the internet like Marry Well and the Lies Young Women Believe Blog. He has also been featured in WORLD Magazine, The Towers Magazine, and Maryland Newsline. He is scheduled to have an article appear in Veritas Magazine this December. Most recently, his work can be found on Focus on the Family’s Boundless Webzine. His personal interests include writing (surprise!) and sports, both watching and playing. He is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan.

2 responses to To Whom Shall We Preach?

  1. Wow…Brilliant article, Tim. I’m very impressed with the logic of the argument, the Scriptural evidence (foremost of all), and the fluidity of the entire piece. Congratulations on yet another job well done.


Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Transforming Sermons - May 21, 2005

    Soaking up the blog shower

    In case you haven’t caught it elsewhere, here’s a roundup (as I have it) of the blog discussion on the responsibility of directing congregational preaching to both the lost and found.

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