Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 21, 1963
NUMBER 29, PAGE 2,10c

Rejected Preaching

J. David Tant

In Jeremiah the 18th chapter, the prophet is writing of the disobedience and hardness of the people of his day, and the destruction Jehovah was to visit upon them. The stubbornness of the people is emphasized in verses twelve and eighteen: (12) "But they say, it is in vain; for we will walk after our own devices, and we will do every one after the stubbornness of his evil heart"; (18) "Then said they, come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet, Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words."

The mission of Jeremiah was largely to testify to a doomed people, and he witnessed their stubbornness and their doom. As these things "written aforetime were written for our learning," let us note that although the times have changed, people are basically the same, and as Jeremiah struggled with an obdurate people, we have the same problem today. This is probably the single greatest problem — people will not accept the word of God, but rather reject it and thrust it from them. This attitude is prevalent both in the church and out of the church. Let us, then examine some facts about rejected preaching, that we might gain from such a study.


The Best Preaching May Be Rejected. One of the great mistakes that many people make is in judging the value of the thing preached by the popularity of it. Serving God and upholding his word has never been a matter of popularity, nor has it been crowned with success in counting the numbers of followers. In the days of Noah, God numbered man's days at 120 years. In all of that time, Noah, a "preacher of righteousness," was able to save only seven souls besides himself. (1 Peter 3:18-20) The prophets of old were not popular with the people, as Christ testifies in Matthew 23:29-36. Christ, himself, did not "make the grade," as John writes that "he came unto his own, and his own received him not." Christ promised no popularity for his followers, informing them that "ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake...." (Matt. 10:22)


But regardless of this, is is the duty of a faithful preacher to bear his testimony even if rejected. This obligation is clearly defined in Ezek. 3:16-21, as God told the prophet that if he did not warn the wicked from his wicked way, God would require the blood of the wicked man at the hand of Ezekiel. Paul, in exhorting the elders of the Ephesian church, said: "....I am pure from the blood of all men. For I shrank not from declaring unto you the whole counsel of God." (Acts 20:26-27) He further expressed his feelings on the matter in 1 Cor. 9:16: "For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me; for woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel." Paul knew that his preaching the truth might make enemies and cause unpopularity (Gal. 4:16), but this did not cause him to falter in the least. He loved his soul and his Master more than he loved the praise of men, People should realize that a preacher has absolutely nothing to gain personally when one becomes his enemy of the truth. Those who become offended at the truth seem to think the preacher is trying to take advantage of them in some way, or to make gain by them. But they should know that the preacher is trying only to save their souls as well as his own. Those who think "it's none of your business what I do" are either ignorant of the Bible teaching, or have no concern for it.


This rejection of the preaching of truth is often attributed to the pride of intellect. Man has always had his own ideas, and will continue to do so as long as this world remains. Nadab and Abihu thought they had devised a way of worship just as good as the one given by God. (Lev. 10) Moses relied upon his own judgment rather than submit to God's will in the matter of obtaining drinking water for the children of Israel. But every time man depends upon his own wisdom, it leads him astray, without fail! Paul refutes reliance upon our own intellect or wisdom in I Cor. 1:17-2:16. "Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Math not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe.... because the foolishness of God is wiser than men...." "....your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."

God's truth does not require that man's intellect must contradict it, nor that man must suppress his intellect, but rather faith in God requires that we must submit our own intellect and wisdom to a well-grounded faith in a God who is worthy of such a truth, even when such submission might require the acceptance of a painful doctrine. When the facts of the gospel, or rules for Christians are presented, all in the world we have to do is accept.


Many others reject the preaching of truth due to the stubbornness of their own will. The Jews exemplify this, as noted in the beginning of the article. With regard to the preaching of Jeremiah, they said: "It is in vain; for we will walk after our own devices, and we will do every one after the stubbornness of his evil heart.... Let us not give heed to any of his words." Many people with this attitude have no doubt as to the truth of the message proclaimed, but they simply refuse to accept from sheer opposition to the spiritual requirements involved. Jesus lamented the fact that Jerusalem would not allow him to save her children. (Matt. 23:37-39)

We see this spirit manifested often today: "I know that's what the Bible says, but I'm not going to do it....Nobody tells ME what to do," etc. Such an attitude can best be described by one simple word — STUPIDITY. This is as if one were warned not to put his hand in the fire, but just to show he can, the individual goes ahead and puts his hand in the fire, getting burned in the process. Just why anyone would take this attitude relative to the eternal welfare of his soul is a great mystery, yet it is done every day with complete nonchalance.

The stubbornness which results in a refusal to acknowledge Christ will be overcome one day, as Paul stated that "every knee should bow....and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil. 2:10, 11) But it will be too late then...

It would almost seem that some think that by refusing to accept the truth of the gospel, they will not be subject to it, not receive the consequences of disobedience. But the truth preached is not affected by the rejection of it. We cannot alter facts by closing our eyes to them. The only conceivable thing accomplished is that such a one might meet his doom "blindfolded." Israel refused to hear the law of Jehovah, and said to the seers, "see not; and to the prophets, prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits...." (Isa. 30:8-14) The men in the days of Noah refused God's counsel, mocking Noah, and continued as if nothing would happen. Yet, all came to pass. Rejection of the truth changed it not one whit! This will also apply to every law God has given, whether it be baptism, attendance, giving or bearing fruit.

Furthermore, the rejection of the preaching of divine truth is in itself a great sin. It is, of course, direct resistance to the will of God. (Luke 10:16) It is also a refusal to accept the mercy of God, (Titus 2:11) And, it is returning insult for favor. (Romans 5:6-8)

We must bear in mind that regardless of our motives in rejecting the gospel, or whatever we hope to accomplish in our rejection. We will be judged by the very things we have rejected. Jesus warned: "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day." (John 12:48) We further notice that Christ has promised that if we reject Him, He will reject us. (Matt. 10:32, 33) This also shall come to pass.

If any one of us, then, yet resist the truth, let us carefully consider what we shall lose by continued rejection, as compared with the untold blessings the Lord has promised to those who accept and obey.

— 2622 Snapfinger Road, Decatur, Georgia