Title: Effective Broadcasting – Part 1
Theme: Planting the Word of God
Series: Essentials for Church Growth
Acts 6:4 and then verse 7, “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to ministry of the word.” “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” (ESV) Let us pray!
At different times in the Word of God there are references to farming. These metaphors deal with the teaching of God’s Word and the different effects it has on the heart of mankind. Back in the 1960’s in rural Northwest Kansas, a farmer could make a good living for his family on only 80 to 100 acres of farm ground. Many of these farmers raised a garden and different crops such as wheat, corn or other crops. Not only did these farmers raise crops, they raised different types of livestock, providing not only for themselves, but for other Americans as well as for people in different parts of the world.
Today, in Northwest Kansas a farmer needs far more than 100 acres if he wants to provide for a family. Even small gardens are being replaced for the most part with large produce farms. The fact is, farmers do not even plant their crops like they once did – they use a whole new method in preparing the fields, planting the seeds and harvesting their crops.
Like it or not, if you want to make a living for your family in the farming industry, you will change the way you broadcast your seed and harvest your crops. Farmers who update their methods will produce food for people around the world.
Proposition: I would propose to you that the Body of Christ that God will use to evangelize the next generation has members who are specialized in different methods of broadcasting the seed of God’s Word in the fields of the world. The church that has a lasting effect on the present and future generation will be efficient in using modern day tools to broadcast the life giving written Word of God. The cutting edge church will be committed to the foundational truths in this message, while applying modern tools to getting the Word of God outside the church walls.
Interrogative Sentence: Just what is the priority of the Bible believing, preaching, teaching church? Just what seed is the church of Jesus Christ to broadcast? Where is it to be broadcast? In this message you will discover powerful truths that must not be ignored. In the second message we will look at the charge to the soldier of Christ and the fertilizer that ensures a healthy harvest of souls for the Lord.
Have Biblical priorities
The first step to effective broadcasting of God’s Word is to have a Body of Christ that has Biblical priorities. The Holy Spirit led, anointed and empowered church birthed forth from Pentecost had men of God who knew their priorities. Acts 6:2 says, “So the twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the Word of God in order to wait on tables.’” Our key text says, “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.” (Acts 6:4)
These passages of Scripture came forth at a time when the New Testament church was growing and the people of God needed Divine instructions. God in His mercy and grace sent forth His Holy Spirit to give the Body of Christ administrative direction in regard to proclaiming the Word of God.
In order for the conviction of sin, the conversion of sinners, and the edification of the Body of Christ, there must be men and women of God who devote their time, strength, and gifting to the proclaiming and teaching of God’s Word. No one is denying the importance of tongues, miracles, and supernatural healings. However, these are not enjoyed unless there are those who employ themselves in the service of preaching and teaching the written Word of God undergirded with prayer.
The word “devote” (proskarteréō) means to occupy oneself diligently, to pay persistent attention to, (Analytical Lexicon of the Greek Language) to persist, keep on with devotion, (Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains) or to give constant attention to. (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament)
Every preaching and teaching ministry used of the Lord has someone who takes seriously 2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” True modern day preachers and teachers of God’s Word spend much time privately in prayerful study of the sword of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) so they can be effective in the cause of Christ and God. The truth is, faithful prayerful students of God’s Word become servants whom the Lord uses long after their physical death, just like the writings of those the Holy Spirit used to bring us the written Word of God.
One great man of God who the Lord and the Holy Spirit is still using even today is Matthew Henry, the man who laid the foundational work of the well known Matthew Henry Commentaries.
He and the church he oversaw for the Lord were illuminated with the truth of being devoted to the preaching of God’s Word. One year he preached 211 times, besides his expounding of the written Word and his daily family devotions. Dr. Daniel Williams said, “He preached seven times per week. He learned from the early puritans and other non-conformists the joy of getting up early to spend time in the intense toil of prayerful study of God’s Word.”
Matthew would often say to those he taught, “Do not lose the morning!” He practiced what he learned from Christ’s example, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
Pastor Matthew Henry was commonly in his study at four o’clock in the morning. Around 8:00 a.m. he would have some refreshment and spend time with his family. After family worship he would return to his study until noon, when after eating he often returned to his study until 4:00 P.M. He then would visit the sick or spend time with his family, and occasionally, other business. Often before going to bed he would return to his study. Mr. Henry writes, “…return to thy work. O my soul; rest in the arms of God’s mercy and strength.”
Nothing caused Matthew Henry more uneasiness than needless intrusions. Whether those inroads upon time and strength arose out of mistaken politeness, or the influence of inconsiderate friendship, they invariably extorted lamentations and self-reproach.
In his diary Matthew often complains of the precious hours lost in the company of those he loved and he often laments that friends are thieves of time. Matthew experienced the spiritual grieving that comes when the preacher of God’s Word has been robbed of His time of getting prayerful revelation from God’s Word. In his diary Matthew Henry wrote, “…I am always best when alone. No place like my own study, no company like that of good books, especially His Book [the Bible].” (Matthew Henry Commentary 1708-1710 / originally published in 1706; Foreword, the Life of Matthew Henry, page lxviii, section 1)
Matthew Henry was willing to pay the cost to prepare to follow God’s administration for the New Testament church. “While millions of pastors have come and gone since the 1700’s, most preachers’ works have not achieved the respect and usefulness that the Matthew Henry Commentaries have accomplished even to this day.” (Encyclopedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition)
The people of God who in practicality live out the protection and provision of the preaching and teaching of God’s Word have Holy Spirit illumination of Psalm 119:140, “Your word is very pure, therefore your servant loves it.” (NAS) The Body of Christ who is used by the Lord to plant the Word of God sees their Pastor’s office as a place of fasting, prayer and study, not a place where a CEO works. Where the Holy Spirit is truly working, there is a church who desires that their Christ appointed preachers and teachers (Ephesians 4:11-12) become skilled with the sword of the Spirit while the Body of Christ sets their key focus on servant-hood ministries. (Acts 6:1-7) (Please note: The truths presented in this portion of the message came forth after prayerful study of God’s Word with the assistance from these time tested commentaries: Matthew Henry Commentary; The Bible Knowledge Commentary; Commentary, Critical and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments; The Pulpit Commentary; The New American Commentary; The Expositors Bible Commentary; Barnes Notes; Thru the Bible Commentary)
For application’s sake; Does your life epistle say to an on-looking world that the Body of Christ you worship with has her priorities in line with the written Word of God regarding the preaching and teaching the Bible?
Seed that will produce a crop
The second step to effective broadcasting is to plant seed that will produce a crop. If a famer wants to raise corn, he must plant corn seed. If he wants to raise wheat or some other type of crop, he must plant the type of seed which will produce the desired crop.
There is a seed to plant that will produce the harvest God desires and achieve the purpose for which it is sent. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” The prophet Isaiah writes, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)
The great Biblical commentator, Matthew Henry writes, “According to the different errands on which the Word is sent it will have its different effects. If it be not a saviour of life unto life, it will be a saviour of death unto death; if it do not convince the conscience and soften the heart, it will sear the conscience and harden the heart; if it do not ripen for heaven it will ripen for hell. One way or the other, it will take effect.” Albert Barnes writes regarding the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. “God has a design in giving His Word to men. Whatever is His design in giving the Gospel, it will be accomplished. Just as God has designed each raindrop and every snowflake to fall on its certain place, whether rock, sand, or fertile ground, He has destined His Word to fall on different hearts. (Matthew 13; Mark 4; Luke 8) Though often rejected – it still keeps mankind without excuse.”
I have a great concern that the Body of Christ as a whole does not have a Biblical understanding of the full effect of the powerful life challenging and changing Word of God. We think that if we can make the Word of God appealing to its hearers, there will be a positive response.
In regard to men sent from God (2 Corinthians 2:17) to preach the Word regarding the message of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:16) the Apostle Paul sets before us a truth to the reception of the message. He writes, “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life...” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)
Christians who are Holy Spirit illuminated with the whole council of God’s Word have understanding of the teachings of Christ about the sowers of the seed. They joyfully plant the seed of God’s Word, knowing that Jesus taught that there are four types of soil that represent the hearts of mankind. 1.) The hard trodden-down pathways are like the hearts of those who hear, but the devil comes and takes away the Word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 2.) The rocky ground is like the hearts of those who believe for awhile, but in the time of testing fall away. 3.) The thorny ground is like those who have hearts with faith that is quickly choked out by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures, and they never mature. However, 4.) The fertile soil is like those with good and noble hearts. They will hear the Word, retain it, and by persevering, produce a crop. (Luke 8:11 - 15) They also understand that the results of the harvest from the planted seeds of God’s Word come from God, for only He can bring growth. (1 Corinthians 3:6)
A Biblical understanding of the results of preaching and teaching God’s Word births forth true belief. Christians devoted to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word know that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) “God’s Word is like fire... and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces.” (Jeremiah 23: 29) Faith comes by people hearing the message of God’s Word about Christ. (Romans 10: 17) Preachers and teachers devoted to their call take every opportunity available to get the Word of God out of the church walls so people can be reached for the Lord, thus being enabled to fulfill their part of the “Great Commission.” (Please note: The truths presented in this portion of the message came forth after prayerful study of God’s Word with the assistance from these time tested commentaries and Language study material: Matthew Henry Commentary; Barnes Notes; Commentary on the Old Testament; Commentary, Critical and Explanatory on the Old and New Testament; The Pulpit Commentary; The Expositors Bible Commentary; Thru the Bible; Analytical Lexicon of the Greek Testament; Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains; Word Meanings in the New Testament; Vines Amplified Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words; The New International Version Interlinear Greek-English New Testament; Easton’s Bible Dictionary; Tyndale Bible Dictionary; Harpers Bible Dictionary; The New Bible Dictionary)
The Christian Index ran the story that so powerfully shows the effectiveness of God’s Word: A man committed to getting the Word of God out into the fields of the world was handing out Christian tracts. He handed one to a person who at first refused to receive it saying, “I do not want to be bothered with evangelistic nonsense.” After being pressed, the man took the Gospel tract saying, “I will burn it when I get home,” and so he did. However, as the tract was burning, his eyes fell upon the written Word, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the Word (λόγος logos) of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” (1 Peter 1:23 KJ)
In his own ledger this man who burned the tract wrote, “I could not rid myself of these words.” Wherever he was, that passage of Scripture haunted him and made him miserable. When he could stand it no longer he went to a Christian center, “The Mission Hall.” There he was told about Christ – then and there he discovered salvation, pardon and peace. (This truths found in this story came from reading “Power of the Word” – Knight’s Book of 4,000 Illustrations. The man in this true story was not mentioned because he did not want attention brought to himself.)
Let the Holy Spirit challenge your spiritual heart with these two questions. Are you like a farmer who plants the proper seed to get the proper harvest? Is there a genuine trust and peace in your spiritual heart over the results of the harvest God brings forth from the seed of God’s Word?
Plant seeds that point people to Christ through the written Word of God
Christians who have understanding that God’s Word will produce some kind of response are careful to plant seeds that point people to Christ through the written Word of God. The beloved John wrote, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us...” (John 1:14) The Apostle John also wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” (John 1:1)
A word is that which is spoken through which we communicate our will and express our heart to convey a thought or issue a command. The word we speak is the medium of communication with others.
The “Word” (λόγος lógos) has been given to refer to Christ because it is through Him that God proclaims His will and issues His commands. The name “Logos” or “Word” is given to Christ in reference to His becoming the “Teacher” or “Instructor” of mankind; the connection between God and man. The Apostle John, under divine inspiration, used “Logos” three times in John 1:1, and once again in John 1:14 which means, “God’s full self-revelation.” Logos is used in 1 John 1:1 calling Jesus the “Word of Life.” Revelation 19:13 says, “His name is the Word of God.”
Do you point people to the Christ of the Bible?
It is from wheat seed we get wheat which we use to make bread. The Book of Deuteronomy tells us that God gave the people manna to teach them that, “man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)
Jesus used the word, “logos” when He said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words (λόγος lógos) will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) In John 14:23, Jesus used “logos” when He said, “...If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word (λόγος lógos)...” (John 14:23 NAS) In regard to the effects of Jesus broadcasting the Word of God, the beloved John used “logos” when he wrote, “And because of His words (λόγος lógos) many more became believers.” (John 4:41) Jesus used “logos” (λόγος) in His explanation of the parable of the seed sower. (Matthew 13:18-23; Mark 4:13-20; Luke 8:11-15) Our Lord referred to the Word of God (λόγος lógos) as being the “word of the Kingdom.” (Matthew 13:19 NAS, ESV, KJ)
It is important to note that “logos” (λόγος) has been used in the New Testament in regard to discourse, speech or instruction. (Acts 2:40; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 12:8; 2 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; Hebrews 6:1) Therefore, the Greek word, “logos” is not exclusive to Divine revelation. However, many times in the New Testament, “logos’ (λόγος) is used when referring to the Doctrines of God. (Colossians 3:16; 1 Timothy 4:6; 2 Timothy 1:13; Titus 1:9; 1 John 2:7; 2 Corinthians 2:17; Galatians 6:6; Philippians 2:16; Hebrews 5:13 NAS, ESV, KJ) “Logos” is used by John in his writings in regard to the utterances of God. (John 10:35; Revelation 1:2,9) “Logos” (λόγος) is also used in the New Testament in referring to the Gospel, the Salvation message of Jesus Christ. (Act 13:26; Acts 14:3; Acts 15:7; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 1:13; Colossians 1:5)
Pastor Carter Conlon of Times Square Church spoke a powerful truth supported by the whole of Scripture, “Where the Holy Spirit is doing a work in the spiritual heart of man, there will be a hunger to hear the Word of God.” (Nehemiah 8:3-8; Psalm 119; Matthew 4:4; Acts 17:11; Acts 20:9; 2 Timothy 3:15; 1 Peter 1:23)
Let the Holy Spirit probe your heart with this question. Do those who observe your life and ministry to the Lord see you unashamedly preaching and teaching God’s Word?
(Please note: The truths presented in this portion of the message came forth after prayerful study of God’s Word with the assistance from these time tested commentaries and Language study material: Matthew Henry Commentary; Barnes Notes; Commentary on the Old Testament; Commentary, Critical and Explanatory on the Old and New Testament; The Pulpit Commentary; The Expositors Bible Commentary; Thru the Bible; Analytical Lexicon of the Greek Testament; Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains; Word Meanings in the New Testament; Vines Amplified Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words; The New International Version Interlinear Greek-English New Testament; Easton’s Bible Dictionary; Tyndale Bible Dictionary; Harpers Bible Dictionary; The New Bible Dictionary)
In Closing: Over the years the small family farm has been overcome by larger farms which are managed by men and women who have learned better techniques in planting seed that produces the desired crops. Because of these men and women who take time to learn new techniques we have a better food supply brought about by more drought resistant, disease resistant seed, and bigger, more effective farm equipment. However, even in these modern times, farmers need wheat seed to produce wheat, corn seed to produce corn, cows to produce cows, and pigs to produce pigs. Farmers often work from sun up to sun down and at times seven days per week. It takes a huge amount of faith to be a farmer, as well as true devotion to the work of farming. From preparing the soil to planting the proper seed to bringing in the harvest, there must be a commitment to the task at hand.
If the church of Jesus Christ is going enjoy an abundant harvest of souls for the Kingdom of God, there must be men and woman who are devoted to planting the seeds of God’s Word out into the fields of the world. Beautiful buildings are nice to worship in, modern day church fellowship can be enjoyed and modern day church signs are attractive. However, the Holy Spirit illuminated church spends a great deal of her time, energy and finances on planting the life giving unchanging Word of God.
Not long ago, I read an article that said that more and more born again Christians are looking outside the local church walls to find good, healthy, mature teaching of God’s Word. This is because many churches are seeker friendly - spending very little time in the hard study of the Bible. God has been and is raising up quality para-church ministries that are devoted to the deep teaching of God’s Word. These obedient servants of the Lord are skilled in planting the seeds of God’s Word out into the fields of the world. They are seeking new methods in planting and harvesting because they are Holy Spirit illuminated with: 1 Peter 2:2-3, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:2-3) “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 4:15) Jesus said, “It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4)
Where does the Holy Spirit find your heart in regard to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word? Let us Pray!