I recently came across an article in The Banner of Truth (a Christian organisation dedicated to publications to promote, advance, and disseminate knowledge and understanding of the history and doctrines of the true Biblical Christian Faith.)
Below is an extract of an article, entitled Word and Prayer, first published in August 2013.
Regrettably, human ingenuity has, to a large extent, made the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church unnecessary, and the Bible expositor redundant . . . Because the teaching office has become so undervalued, an increasing number of contemporary churches are searching for administrators rather than expounders of the Word. In a growing number of cases, the church has become a business enterprise, sometimes big business. Head counting has become more important than the healing of souls. Financial income is a greater priority than faithfulness to the doctrines of the Word of God. Material prosperity appears to testify to success more than increased godliness among church members.
In the book of Acts, we saw that due to the rapid expansion of the church after Pentecost, problems arose. There was murmuring about partiality in the distribution of alms to widows. The apostles, who were responsible for the administration of all church affairs at that point, were required to take immediate remedial action to prevent the unrest escalating.
While no area of legitimate activity in the life of the church was to be neglected, nothing was to detract from the importance of preaching, with the prayerfulness necessary to produce it and sustain it.
In order to comprehend the logic behind the apostles’ actions, we need to understand the nature of the commission they had received from the Saviour. Before his ascension, he had directed them to go ‘into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15). It is obvious from this that preaching was intended to be the apostles’ full-time occupation. Their preaching, however, was not to be modified according to the particular environment in which they might find themselves. Jesus was specific when he sent them out in his name: ‘Go . . . and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world’ (Matt. 28:19, 20).
This sacred commission, with the Redeemer’s promise to continue with those who faithfully discharged it, obviously made such a deep and lasting impression on the apostles that they were determined to let nothing interfere with their ministry. They felt the burden of the ministry on their spirits, believing that they must devote themselves to it, without reservation.
The Lord’s praying people need to plead with God to give the church, not just able preachers, but praying preachers.
Pastor Robert Chew