Hard Preaching 2 Tim. 4: 2-4 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Back in the old days, preachers preached with hard preaching. They fulfilled Paul’s charge and admonition to Timothy, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” They didn’t hesitate to get under your skin because they knew you needed it and the people who came to hear them preach knew they needed it.
But today, people would rather listen to a lie that makes them feel good than to the truth [2 Tim 4:3-4; Jer 5:30-31]. And there’s an abundance of preachers who will gladly take your money and make you feel good [Rom 16:17-18].
Paul was hard on the Corinthians because they needed it [2 Cor 2:2-5] and they were much better off after enduring it [2 Cor 7:9-11]. And you will be much better off after enduring it. But you must sit there and take it until the Lord has done his work in your heart.
Deals with truth – Paul said, “Preach the word”. In Corinth Paul wasn’t dealing with feelings or conjectures; he was dealing with the truth of sin and the truth of God’s words. Like one preacher said, “Preach the word and let the word preach to the people.”
Is direct – in Corinth Paul dealt with sin and there was no misunderstanding what he was saying. They knew what they needed to do about it. There’s no double meaning to anything he said. He delivered the truth “waist high and right over the plate”. It works like the roller works on injured muscles… right to the problem area.
Hurts – in Corinth Paul made the folks sorry. The truth can be painful to your spirit like that roller is painful to sore muscles. Feel-good talking is like a pain pill. It makes you feel better temporarily but never gets down to the source of the problem.
Heals – in Corinth the folks straightened out the problem. Surgery hurts but surgery heals. And as you begin to heal the hard truth and doctrine doesn’t hurt as much.
Takes time –Paul said, “exhort with all longsuffering”. A preacher doesn’t accomplish everything in a day. The truth whacks on you little by little and it works on you after you get home. If the doctrine is right and you attend unto it, it will work until its work is accomplished. The roller hurts, but it is healing. Yet it takes time. You have to keep going back!!
Is not offensive – some preachers are down right mean and personal from the pulpit. That’s a hard preacher; that’s a derogatory use of the pulpit. However, the right kind of preacher is not an offense [Ps 119:165]. If you love the Lord’s words, you will love men who preach hard truths.
Is desirable for those who want truth – in Corinth the folks got used to Paul shooting straight with them. They didn’t like it at first. An old preacher friend of mine used to preach hard but he loved hard, too. An old friend of mine couldn’t stand preachers who preached hard until he believed. And then after he believed Jesus and his words, he wondered why I had suddenly become so nice. I hadn’t; he changed. Hard truth is undesirable to those who don’t want the truth. They turn away from it.
Conclusion: Where are you? Are you among those who don’t love his law and are therefore easily offended? Are you among those who love his law and therefore love the truth? We pray that you are among those who love God’s words and truth.