Preaching to Please Whom?

J.D. Cox

It is impossible to preach to please all men if we preach the truth.

If we preach that there is a God, atheists will be upset.

If we preach that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, orthodox Jews will be displeased.

If we preach on baptism, sectarians will be displeased.

If we preach against observing the old Jewish sabbath, the Seventh Day Adventists will be unhappy.

If we preach the church is the kingdom of God and that Christ now reigns on David’s throne, pre-millennialists, and Jehovah’s Witnesses will be displeased.

If we preach against worldliness, most people in the world will be displeased.

Therefore, it’s folly to try to preach to please all people. Paul recognized this and in Galatians 1:10 said, “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.”

The purpose of preaching is to save souls. It isn’t the purpose of preaching to please or offend men, although these are often the results of preaching. We must preach to tell men the truth that they may obey it and be saved. But when truth offends, we shouldn’t become excited about it. Jesus is our example in this. In Matthew 15:3-11, Jesus had condemned the traditions of the Pharisees and branded their worship as vain.

Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended after they heard this saying?(Matt. 15:12). His entire speech offended them. Their worship was void and abominable and he disturbed their self-satisfaction. He told the truth, but the truth offends those whose hearts are filled with human traditions if they aren’t willing to turn from them and accept the truth. The only way to save those who are in sin and error is to tell them the truth.

Strange as it may seem, it grieved the disciples to see Jesus offend these “reverend gentlemen from Jerusalem.” Like many people today, they became tenderfooted when the path was made rugged by opposition.

It’s interesting to note the Lord’s reaction to the alarm of the disciples at the offended Pharisees. Instead of offering an apology for having condemned the Pharisees, he strengthened his condemnation of their traditional system by saying, “Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind (Matt. 15:13-14).

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Author: Editor

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