Homiletics 101. A call for faithful preachers – who will cry aloud and spare not! Just as the prophets of old, such as Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, Micah, and Isaiah. Jonah’s negative message brought a positive result – as did Peter’s strong message. Reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine. We are called to contention. To be against some things. God’s Word is “like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces…”
I was wondering how to describe this message to you, and thought of calling it perhaps NEGATIVE PREACHING or HARD PREACHING, but really what I am simply talking about is FAITHFUL PREACHING .
In a way all preaching is hard, because if I am being a faithful preacher I am merely a messenger for another.
And so what I say may be confronting and discomforting, but it’s not my opinion I am here for, I am A SPOKESMAN FOR GOD, and prayerfully my mission is simply TO SPEAK HIS WORD.
I know that it is not unusual to hit a nerve – and I can expect someone to get offended with me along the way.
Deep down I truly prefer not to offend people.
But I must be a faithful messenger of what I believe the Lord would have me to say to His church.
JEREMIAH was such a faithful messenger. He was someone who says it like it is, on behalf of His Lord…
(28) The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.
(29) Is not my word like as a fire? Saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?
God tells Jeremiah ‘speak my word faithfully’.
How did it all BEGIN with Jeremiah?
We read of his commissioning in…
(4) Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
(5) Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
(6) Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
(7) But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
(8) Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.
(9) Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
(10) See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
Jeremiah would be considered by many these days to be a negative preacher.
Some churches would have sacked him because his preaching was straight down the line.
I like the idea of building and planting. But sometimes preachers, in declaring God’s word faithfully, have also to ROOT OUT, PULL DOWN, DESTROY AND THROW DOWN.
I think of my garden…
JEREMIAH is known as THE WEEPING PROPHET. He lamented and pleaded with God’s people to turn from idolatry.
He likened their sin to a wife committing adultery. It is a grievous thing. Repulsive.
God’s prophets cry out, on God’s behalf,
Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate…
Jeremiah REBUKED the people as they had caused
…their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech…
Jeremiah did not MINCE HIS WORDS in his MESSAGE OF JUDGMENT because of their SIN…
And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame…
Jeremiah publicly rebuked the leadership for disobeying God.
Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!
For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness…
Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams…
The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.
Jeremiah did not hold back.
This was hard preaching.
But the truth has to be told.
…he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully…
Through Jeremiah the Lord called His people to GET OUT OF BABYLON – they weren’t to toy and compromise with it. For us today I believe that Babylon speaks of the mish mash and apostasy of the whore of Babylon – the Pope’s Rome, and her harlot daughters – the ecumenical movement and the Pentecostal / charismatic movement.
My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD.
God’s Word through MOSES was also quite straight down the line,
I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt have none other gods before me. Thou shalt not make thee any graven image… Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them…
…he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully…
When God commissioned ISAIAH he was told,
“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins”
Isaiah also had a NEGATIVE message.
It was full of woes…
Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him…
Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night…
Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope…
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness…
Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes…
Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink…
Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees…
Woe to the rebellious children…
Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker…
Isaiah’s commission was a strong word…
Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
(9) That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD:
(10) Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:
(11) Get you out of the way…
(credit for the following example from www.truthmagazine.com/the-positive-effects-of-negative-preaching)
The prophet JONAH was another who would be called a negative preacher.
He was charged by God to go to Nineveh, the capital city of the great Assyrian Empire, and to preach that “in yet forty days and Nineveh shall be over thrown” (Jonah 3:4). That was not very positive.
Jonah wasn’t sent with a message to make the Ninevites feel good about themselves and to make them feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Nineveh was a mighty city and the nerve center of a great empire. But it was grossly wicked.
The rulers of Nineveh were brutal and harsh with nations they conquered. Nineveh had shed much innocent blood.
Nineveh was bent on idol worship.
God judges evil nations and, in His time, He calls them to account. So He sent Jonah.
The word of the Lord came to Jonah. The message was stern and short. It showed the people the consequences of their wickedness.
Surely, such a prophet would be laughed to scorn or he would be dismissed as a fanatic.
So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid aside his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
“He called upon the people to
“cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?”
The result of this negative preaching was positive.
And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not
Jesus said that the men of Nineveh
“repented at the preaching of Jonah“ (Matt. 12:41).
…he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully…
MICAH also was given a hard, heavy word to deliver…
“The word of the LORD that came to Micah…
…the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire…
…all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate”
“But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin”
Micah was also a woeful preacher…
“Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds”
And here is the remedy for the problem:
“what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God”
You may think, well we are in the NEW COVENANT now; these were just OLD TESTAMENT prophets…
OUR LORD Himself was NEGATIVE when He denounced the Pharisees.
(27) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
(28) Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
JOHN THE BAPTIST was
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness…
And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…
…O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.”
John was put in prison because he rebuked King Herod for sleeping with his brother’s wife – and he was beheaded.
The preaching of PETER was also strong.
On Pentecost, Peter told his hearers some facts about the Lord Jesus and how He was “approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know… Him… ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:22-23).
That was a heavy indictment, but it was true. After convincing them that this same Jesus had been raised up to sit on David ‘s throne and that he was now “both Lord and Christ” they could stand it no longer.
In anguish they “were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).
Verse 41 tells us the happy result. “Then they that gladly received his word were baptised: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”
Paul also told TIMOTHY, to preach it straight. He says, “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2).
Standing for the truth not only involves preaching what we must stand FOR but likewise what we must stand AGAINST.
JUDE is another faithful messenger. He calls God’s people to contention…
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR THE FAITH which was once delivered unto the saints.
There are some things we are called to be against.
We are against the devil and his schemes.
We are against the world. It threatens the purity of the church,
We are against the works of the flesh.
We are against false doctrines and teachers.
We are against Hell. Hell is negative.
There is a need of Hellfire preaching.
We are against a wishy washy gospel that saves no one and just makes false converts. There is a Hell to shun. There is a danger for you Christless on, unless you hear His voice and turn. O turn.
The Gospel is not always pleasant and east to take in. At the centre of it all is a man bleeding and dying, covered in your very sin.
The cross is not comfortable.
There is a time for warning.
I was thinking that maybe a good sermon title would be “It’s about time you stopped being slack.”
God is intolerant.
Does such preaching offend you?
I tell you God is offended.
We must take a stand.
Do you say, preacher, you’re being judgmental.
God says, Judge, righteous judgment.
There is even a rightful place to be a preacher of hate.
Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
God hates some things.
(16) These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
(17) A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
(18) An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
(19) A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
God calls us to HATE some things.
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
As God’s people we should hate every false way.
There is a time to be negative.
If something is wrong with your body you will want to know about it.
(As someone has put it…)
A person goes to the doctor because of shortness of breath and chest pains. The doctor tells the patient that he is on the verge of a heart attack and needs to change his lifestyle.
He is told to start walking more, eat less fried foods, eat more vegetables, and take medicine prescribed by the doctor.
If he does these things he can head off the heart attack and will eventually start feeling better but if he continues on the current path the patient will have a heart attack.
Is this doctor being negative or positive?
He is telling the patient what he cannot do, what he needs to do, and the expected results.
It is the same with the Gospel.
The Gospel has a negative side.
There is a need of divisive preaching.
It has been truly said that “Negative preaching leads to positive living.”
I am not hear to tell you what you like to hear. To give you SMOOTH WORDS.
To prophesy, Peace, peace.
We are told that wrath shall be poured out…
We are told to FLEE FROM THE WRATH to come…
Let us come as we are, yes…
But know this, that God loves us too much to leave us as we are…
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
He gives us warning we must heed…
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.
We want to be negative in a positive way…
I am positively against sin.
I am positively against false teachers.
I am positively against all that God hates.
- Hard preaching
- Holiness preaching
- Hellfire preaching.
Preaching against sin.
There is needful warning to those who reject the saving message–
“but he that believeth not shall be damned”
“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ”
Paul tells of some,
…rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God”
There is a place for rebuking, for hard preaching. We must preach against error and sin.
This kind of preaching is not framed to impress the influential and draw in the powerful.
One of the worst things that ever to happen to the Lord’s church was when it decided to tone down its preaching in order to attract the world’s crowd.
As someone has said, “take a look at practically every single Old Testament prophet. Ninety percent of their preaching was negative.
“They seldom had anything positive to say, especially about the way their nation’s leaders were behaving.
“They were often jailed, beaten, starved, or even killed. They were as familiar with prisons as they were with pulpits. They were despised by political leaders, rejected by religious leaders, and shunned by business leaders.”
May the Lord give us grace never to let up, but to preach up a storm. To be a people on fire with God’s truth and burn ever more brightly for His glory.
A preacher has put it likes this, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.
“I like that word ‘against’. There are things that you and I are against. Yes, we are against them.
“I am against the Pope! You remember that. I am against the World Council of Churches! I am against the National Council of Churches!
“I am against the great apostate denominations whether they be Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Baptist or called by any other name!
“I am absolutely and totally against them; from the top of my head to my big toe! I am against them, every bit of me against them.
“And I want to tell you, brethren, when you go to a little country town to start a church you let people know you are against something.
“You let them know you have not come as a sob voiced sissy to be another pulpit ornament two times on Sunday… that you are not a soft pedalling, fence straddling cream puff pie preacher, that you are a man of God with fire in your belly and you are going to preach the Word with power!”
I am against the devil and all his works of darkness.
I will preach against sin and error.
I will contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints.
I will preach against apostasy, liberalism and feminism, and the abominations that cover our land, with an acceptance of sin and the massacre of the innocents in the womb.
I am against the Pentecostal movement and their false tongues. And all their false prophets, like Benny Hinn, and David Wilkerson, and Joyce Meyer.
I am against Hillsong.
I am against the Uniting church and the like, and its accommodation of sin.
I am against the ecumenical movement in all its forms.
I am against the false bible translations.
I am against Calvinism.
I am against Arminianism.
I am against contemporary charismatic Christian music.
I am against the smooth cross.
I am against demon drink and all the damage that strikes Christians who dabble with drinking booze.
I am against the backsliders, the compromisers and the carnal who try and excuse their sin.
I am against leaven in the lump and pray that God will perform radical surgery where it is necessary.
I am against any fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.
I am against any compromise of working with false teachers.
I am against those who gossip and murmur and backbite and speak evil of one another. I urge you to get it sorted with God.
You may say, how judgmental!
God is a judge.
I tell you today that sin is ugly and hell is hot.
I am against the health, wealth and prosperity gospel.
I am against those who will not leave their sin but still cherish it and excuse it.
I am against the attitude in some that have no loyalty to fellowship and commit to a church but rather want to float around instead of being stable and faithful.
I plead with you.
I have to speak plainly with you.
I am against those who claim, Thus saith the Lord when the Lord has not sent them.
I am against the Christians who gossip and backbite and sow discord.
The Lord is against you.
But it’s the truth.
You may say I am being unloving.
We have to be lovers of the truth.
You may say, preacher, you are being threatening.
I say to you, Unless you repent you shall likewise perish.
We need to challenge the status quo.
Christ was no weak sissy. He was forthright and plain speaking. He cleansed the temple and overthrew the evil workers.
(11) For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
(12) Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
(13) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
(14) Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
(15) These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
We must be vigilant. We must be resolute.
We will not back down.
There is authority in this Word, and I will stand without apology for it.
We believe in this Book and we will proclaim it without compromise and without pussy footing around.
We will contend for it and we will fight for it till our dying breath.
Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?
I want to urge you to be positively faithful.
Let God’s hammer do its work.
Let us yield to His word.