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Celebrating The Preacher's Sweet Feet

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Celebrating The Preacher’s Sweet Feet

Romans 10:14-15

       We are here to celebrate the Anniversary of Pastor and First Lady Dunwoody.  There are some people who probably feel that we don’t need pastors’ anniversaries, but pastors’ anniversaries are a way for God’s people to thank their pastors for their faithful ministry—especially when most churches cannot give their pastors an adequate salary.  Paul wrote in

1 Corinthians 9:8-11 (NASB-U), “I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I?  Or does not the Law also say these things? [9] For it is written in the Law of Moses, ‘You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.’  God is not concerned about oxen, is He? [10] Or is He speaking altogether for our sake?  Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. [11] If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?”

He also wrote to Timothy in

1 Timothy 5:17-18 (NASB-U), “The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. [18] For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,’ and ‘The laborer is worthy of his wages.’”

So, Pastor Dunwoody is worthy of double honor, i.e. respect and remuneration, i.e. respect and money!

       Perhaps one reason why some people don’t think that Pastor’s Anniversaries are important is because they don’t understand the importance of pastors in God’s Kingdom.

(To get a feel for their importance, let’s look at Romans 10:14-15.  Let me read this aloud for us.

      What we before us is:)

I.     The Commissioning Of The Preacher (vv. 14-15).


(Paul, who was inspired to write concerning God’s plan of salvation, began to illuminate the commissioning of the preacher by asking some very important questions.  Let’s look at these powerful questions.)

1.                “How will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?”

Answer:  “They cannot!  It is impossible!”

To call upon Jesus Christ would mean to worship Jesus as the Messiah, who is One with God and Very God of Very God.  But how can people worship Jesus as the Messiah, if they have never believed in Jesus Christ?  One worships Jesus, after s/he is convicted concerning the identity of Jesus.

The Greek translated “believed” means a strong belief or a conviction.  Belief in Jesus Christ is not an “easy believism,” but strong conviction that Jesus is the Messiah, plus trust in Him to save us from our sins!

(Question number two:)

2.                “How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?”

Answer:  “They cannot!  It is impossible!”

       The Greek word “heard” means to perceive one’s voice or to understand.  It is impossible to have a conviction that Jesus is the Messiah, without first hearing the Gospel.  There can be no acknowledgment of the truth of the Gospel without some level of comprehension.  Once again, this belies the easy believism of our day.

(Let’s move on to the next question, which states:)

3.     “How will they hear without a preacher?”

Answer:  “They cannot!  It is impossible!”

No one can call on Jesus, until they have believed on Him.

And no one can believe on Him, when they haven’t heard about Him.

And no one can hear about Jesus without a preacher.  The conviction and comprehension of the Gospel are based upon the preachers of the Gospel.

The word ‘preacher’ is kerussontos and comes from

2784 kerusso  “to be a herald; to officiate as herald; to proclaim after the manner of a herald; always with a suggestion of formality, gravity, and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed; b. spec. used of the public proclamation of the gospel and matters pertaining to it, made by John the Baptist, by Jesus, by apostles and other Christian teachers.”

Preachers, in Christ’s time, were actually town criers.  They would actually stand in a public place, such as a street corner, and cry out the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.  And God has not changed this method.  God still speaks through preachers!  This is God’s method for providing His vehicle of our destiny and His sovereignty, namely:  the Gospel.  And I am contending for the revival and preservation of passionate Preaching, i.e. a sermon that is solidly based upon the Word of God and ends in appropriate celebration!  Henry Mitchell wrote, “The cardinal sin of the Black pulpit is probably that of irrelevant celebration—gravy that does not match the meat, so to speak.  Good gravy is always made of the essence of the meat to be served, and the same is true of the good Gospel feast.  (In other words, “Good meat makes its own gravy!)  When the celebration is about something else, the real message is lost, while the celebration, if it has any substance at all, is recalled.  It is vitally important that all preachers conclude by lifting up the main concerns of the sermon in genuine, joyful celebration.”[1]

The point is:  God’s plan for the salvation of His people is inextricably bound up with the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, i.e. that Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, the Author of eternal salvation.

You may read the Bible; you may study on your own; and both of these are important, but nothing can take the place of the public proclamation of the Gospel by God’s preacher.

God spoke in times past in many different ways.  He spoke through His presence

·        Upon Mt. Sinai,

·        In the Tabernacle,

·        In the Temple,

·        Through the sacrificial system,

·        Through the High Priest,

·        Through the holy days and feast days,

·        Etc.


But when the fullness of time came, God Himself came down and spoke to us in the body and being of His Son.  When God wanted to save men, He sent His Son, in human form, to proclaim and demonstrate the message of the kingdom of God.  He sent The Logos, the living word, speech, wisdom, and reason of God.  The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.  The Logos became flesh!

       And God is not through with His revelation of the Word made flesh.  God still sends His Word in flesh today, but He does it through His preacher.  In 2 Timothy 4:2, we find this phrase,

“Preach the Word” = keruxon ton logon.

“Through preaching the logos or Word of God is manifested, which brings to humanity the eternal life that was promised.  God could have made His Word known to humanity in other ways, but we could not have borne this.  (Had God manifest Himself to us directly, we would have been killed.  He told Moses, “No man can look upon my face and live.”)  Hence God would not have been the Savior who gives life; His declaration would have spelled death.  (We see this in the case of Moses.  When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai from the presence of God, the glow on his face frightened the people.  They surely could not have borne the presence of God.)

Thus, God chose men to be His preachers.  By them His Word becomes flesh just as the Son came to sinners in human form” (TDNT).

So, God’s plan entails the preaching of the Word of God, through His servant, under the power of the Holy Spirit.  The preacher is in a sense the ‘Logos’ made flesh.  The Living Word of God wraps Himself in the flesh of His preacher and speaks to us.  Divine intervention takes place through the proclamation.  Kittle's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says that in preaching, the Logos, Jesus Christ, does what He did in the incarnation.  He wraps Himself in human flesh, the flesh of the Spirit-filled preacher, and literally comes to earth to visit His people.  God is here right now!  Somebody praise Him!

       That’s why mothers in Baptist churches holler out when their pastor is preaching, “Stand up in him Jesus!”


Enjoying The Sermon

       An article by an unknown author says, “At least one time in every sermon God breaks through the words of the preacher and speaks directly to the people.  It may be in a single sentence or in just one phrase.  We can well afford to listen to the entire discourse with care, lest we miss that one illuminated and searching sentence in which God speaks to us--a sentence that brings conviction, penitence, hope, strength, or renewed faith!  So many of us miss that one special word from God because we are comparing the preacher’s manner with that of some other preacher we have heard recently.  From now on, just listen intently for that one portion God intends to be applied specifically to your heart!”

(Let’s move on to the next question, which reveals:)

4.     “How will they preach unless they are sent?”

Answer:  “They cannot!  It is impossible!”

       The word sent is

sent 649 apostello “prop. To send off, send away:  1. To order (one) to go to a place appointed; a. either persons sent with commissions, or things intended for someone.  Messengers are sent.”

From this word we get the word “apostle.”  You must be called and commissioned by God to publicly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, under the power of the Holy Spirit.

·        It does not come by studying alone.

·        It does not come by listening and copying.

·        It does not come by educational degrees.

·        It does not come by the will of Man.

The message of God comes by the calling and commissioning of God.  An apostle, according to Unger, is “one sent with a special message or commission.”  Preachers are commissioned to preach, to herald, to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.  “Without commissioning and sending there are no preachers, and without preachers there is no proclamation” (TDNT).


       How can someone preach an efficacious Gospel message, under the power of the Holy Spirit, unless she has been sent or commissioned?  She cannot!  That leads us to this conclusion:  God’s plan of salvation, which is wrapped up in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the vehicle of our destiny and God’s sovereignty, begins, in this context, with the commissioning of His servant to preach the Gospel.

       Therefore the Apostle Paul says in

1 Corinthians 9:16, “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.”

Therefore,

·        I’ve got to preach:  because I have a stewardship assigned to my hand.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because I have been commissioned by heaven.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because I have been given a message from heaven.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because God’s sovereignty is released in preaching.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because our destiny is wrapped up in preaching.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because people are in darkness and Jesus is the Light of the world.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because people are hungry and Jesus is the Bread of Life.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because people are thirsty and Jesus is a well of water springing up to everlasting life.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because people are sick and Jesus is the Great Physician.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because people are dead and Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because people are sad, but Jesus is the joy of my salvation.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because people are bound in the slave market of sin, but Jesus is our Redeemer.  He has redeemed us in the slave market of sin.  He has redeemed us and removed us from the slave market of sin.  He has redeemed us in the slave market of sin, removed us from the slave market of sin, and permanently set us free to never return to the slave market of sin.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because the world is lost and Jesus is the Savior.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because somebody is confused and Jesus is the Wonderful-Counselor.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because youre troubled and Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because somebody’s been orphaned, but He is the everlasting Father.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because somebody has lost their way and is traveling this road of life all alone, but we know the Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd, The Chief Shepherd.  The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want!

·        I’ve got to preach:  because somebody is on sinking sand, but Christ is the solid rock of Salvation.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because somebody is being attacked and mistreated, but Jesus is the Rock of Ages, the strong tower, the high tower, the fortress, the city of refuge.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because youre tired and Jesus said, Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give rest.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because youre trapped and Jesus is the Way.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because youre being lied to and Jesus is Truth.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because somebody is lonely, but He is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother.

·        I’ve got to preach:  because we have been weighed in the balances and found wanting, but Jesus is the Advocate or Lawyer with the Father.

I will admit that there are many so-called preachers and so called messages that are not worth listening to, because they have not been commissioned and they are not preaching The Message.  Too many preachers have been commissioned by their mothers or wives and are not preaching the Gospel.  Vance Havner said, “Make Jesus Christ your theme!  I have seen preachers espouse causes and champion movements, and when the cause died and the movement collapsed, the preacher vanished too.  But the man who glories in Christ never grows stale.”


(God’s plan of salvation begins with the commissioning of His servant to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ.  This is God’s plan and it is beautiful or comely.  “This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our sight.”  Let’s consider:)

II.    The Comeliness Of The Preacher (v. 15).

Paul quotes from Isaiah 52:7 and applies it to the messengers of the Gospel.  The feet indicate the eager and swift spreading of the Gospel.  How beautiful are those who spread the Gospel!

There is a comeliness or beauty of the feet of those who spread the Gospel.  The modern word for comeliness is “sweet”.  So, we are here to celebrate Dunwoody’s sweet feet!

(Now, to whom are his feet sweet?  To:)

1.                The mature believer.

In the eyes of sinners and the carnal, God’s plan is foolish and preachers are fools.  In the eyes of the mature Christians the preacher’s feet are sweet.  As we consider that we would not be saved without the servant of God, who was commissioned by God to bring to us the preaching of the good news, we will find that servant and his ministry sweet.

       As we mature and consider the magnificence of the plan of God, we will consider the eagerness, timeliness, and swiftness of the servants which spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ as sweet.

(But the feet of those who run eagerly and swiftly to spread the Gospel are also sweet to:)

2.     God.

The service-worship of the NT. priest is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  When God views one eagerly doing what He has been commissioned to do, certainly this is sweet in His sight.

       So, we are here tonight to celebrate the preacher’s sweet feet!


----

[1] Henry H. Mitchell, Black Preaching, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1990, p. 121.

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