The Lord has not left His people "in the dark" regarding anything He would have them to know, teach, or practice. He has furnished us with all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3), and has given us a Word which will both make us wise unto salvation and perfect if we follow it. (2 Tim. 3:15-17) He desires us to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), and to be able to rightly divide the Word of Truth. (2 Tim. 2:15) He desires that each one of us improve our souls by good works. (Tit. 2:8, 14) In all of this, God has cast His light abundantly upon us through his word. (Ps. 119:105)
The apostle Paul tells us that it is through the foolishness of the preaching that God makes known His wisdom. (1 Cor. 1:18-25) We certainly must hear the gospel in order to be saved (Rom. 10:17), and we must have a preacher in order to hear. (Rom. 10:14) Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded that His gospel be preached to the whole world. (Matt. 28:18-19) Paul labored to see that it was fully preached. (Rom. 15:19) Seeing then that preaching plays such an important part in the plan of God, it is good that we study from the Word of God to determine just what He would have us to know regarding it.
The scripture is perfect (2 Tim. 3:15-17), and so tells us all that we need to know about preaching. In Isa. 58:1 we read: "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet...." A trumpet was, and still is, used to warn people of an approaching danger. (Ezek. 33:3) We in proclaiming God's message to the world must "cry aloud"; we must make the message clear and full of meaning. We should speak plainly enough so that even a fool can understand. (Isa. 35:8) We must preach in such clear language that the hearers can easily comprehend our message. (1 Cor. 14:19) There is no place in the preaching of the gospel of Christ for a half-hearted approach or for the eloquence so many feel compelled to use. Just preach the old, old story of Christ loud enough to be understood. This is how we should preach. (1 Cor. 2:1-2)
Where shall we preach? We should preach from the housetops (Matt. 10:27) and in the market place. (Acts 17:16-17) We should preach in the meeting place of the heathen (Acts 17:22) and in the churches of Christ. (Acts 20:7) We should preach anywhere in the world. (Matt. 28:18-20) In short, we should preach the gospel of Christ any where and at any time we have an opportunity, and should make an opportunity where we do not have one otherwise. (2 Tim. 4:1-2)
What should we preach? We should preach on the sins of the church (Isa. 58:1) and on the sins of the world. (Ezek. 3:18-21) We should preach on doctrine. (I Tim. 1:3; Matt. 15:9) We should preach on first principles. (Heb. 6:1) We should preach on giving. (1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 8:5) We should preach what the people want to hear, and on what they do not want to hear. (Acts 7:51-54; 2:22-24; 4:19-20; 5:29) We should preach only the Oracles of God. (1 Pet. 4:11) We should preach on judgment. (Dan. 7:1011; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; 2 Thess. 1:7-8) We should preach on hell. (Rev. 10:20; Rev. 20:10) We should preach the whole counsel of God any time and in any place possible. (Acts 20:27)
When should we preach? We should preach the gospel any time and at all times. (2 Tim. 4:1-2) The world needs the gospel of salvation and the church needs to hear the truth preached over and over again, as Peter did, (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-2; 2 Pet. 3:1)
To whom should we preach? To every living creature. To the lost sinners we must preach the first principles of the doctrine of Christ. We must preach so that by hearing the word of God they will have faith in Him. (Rom. 10:17) We must preach so that they will accept the gospel (Acts 16:31) and be made to repent of their sins. (Lk. 13:3-5) We must not stop preaching the first principles to the sinner until he confesses the name of Christ and is baptized. (Matt. 10:32-33; Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 6:4)
We must preach to the saved, the church. We must preach how to live right (Rom. 1:16; 2 Tim .4:12), and how to build the kind of character God expects us to have. (2 Pet. 1:5-8; Tit. 2:1-15) Every soul under heaven needs the gospel.
Why should we preach? We should preach because it is the way God devised to save man. (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 15:12; Tit. 1:3) We should preach because the Word of God will build up those who hear it. (Rom. 14:19; 1 Tim. 3:15) We should preach to be more like Christ. (Eph. 4:14; Phil. 2:15)
What should be our attitude in preaching? We should know nothing but Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2), and should strive at all times to keep our doctrine pure and uncorrupted (Tit. 1:7), and our speech seasoned with salt. (Col. 4:6) We must preach the pure doctrine, not striving to please men but God. (Acts 4:19-20; Acts 5:29; Gal. 1:10) We will rejoice if the truth is preached, regardless of the motives of the preachers. (Phil. 1:12-18) We must have the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5), and be able to forget the past and move forward in His work. (Phil. 3:13-14) We must think only of the pure and good things (Phil. 4:8-9), and be willing and able to communicate them to all men. (2 Tim. 2:24; 1 Tim. 6:17-19) We should constantly remind our brethren in the Lord to stir up the gifts which He has given them and to use the talents of God rightly. (2 Tim. 1:6; 1 Cor. 14) Finally, we must be willing to submit ourselves to God completely and trust absolutely in His grace. (James 4:7-10) We must follow the advice, nay, the commands of 2 Thess. 5:19-20, Rom. 12:9, 2 John 11 and related passages. It is our responsibility to be on the watch for ungodly men who corrupt the church and reject them as heretics. (Jude 4; 2 Pet 2:1-3; 1 Tim. 1:3-7; Tit. 1:10-11; 2 Tim. 3:5)
All of this being true, we should have but one reason for preaching. We should preach to save the souls of men. (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-2) We must realize that without Christ the world will perish and that there is salvation in no other name. (Acts 4:11)