The Cost of Preaching


12 Therefore, just as tsin came into the world through one man, and udeath through sin, and vso death spread to all men5 because wall sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but xsin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not ylike the transgression of Adam, zwho was a type of athe one who was to come.

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for bmany. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For cthe judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought djustification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness ereign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

18 Therefore, as one trespass6 led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness7 leads to justification and life for fall men. 19 For as by the one man’s gdisobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s hobedience the many will be made righteous.

Matthew 4:1–11 ESV
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “ ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’ ” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
Last Week: Big Idea: Preachers of the Gospel must point to Christ
Only Jesus is the Christ
Christ must increase while the preacher decreases
Jesus’ baptism is of fire
This morning:
Big Idea: Declaring the Truth will always make enemies
Exhortations and Reproof
Reproving is not popular
Prison or Death are sometimes the vocation of the preacher
Luke 3:15–22 ESV
As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison. Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Big Idea: Declaring the Truth will always make enemies
Exhortations and Reproof
Reproving is not popular
Prison or Death are sometimes the vocation of the preacher

Exhortations and Reproof

Preachers are not called to only give heart-warming messages:
Osteen: “I just want to stay in my lane”
Health and Wealth: “Jesus will make you healthy and rich”
Moral Therapeutic Deism: The term Moralistic Therapeutic Deism was first coined by sociologists Christian Smith and Melina Lundquist Denton in their 2005 book Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (Oxford University Press). Based on extensive research, they identified the predominant beliefs of American teenagers, even those that claim to be Christians. They named the core beliefs Moralistic Therapeutic Deism or MTD. The five core beliefs of MTD are as follows: 1. A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth. 2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions. 3. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself. 4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem. 5. Good people go to heaven when they die. The beliefs of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism are “moralistic” in that they place a high value on “being good” as found in #2 and #5, above. Good is really defined by popular culture rather than the moral imperatives of the Bible. So tolerating behaviors the Bible calls sin might be seen as “good” while calling those behaviors “sin” might be seen as intolerant or hateful, which is bad. The beliefs of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism are “therapeutic” in that the primary value is feeling good about oneself as articulated in beliefs #3 and #4, above. God’s “job” is to take care of us.
Moral Therapeutic Deism does no one any good. No one can possibly be ever saved by this type of thinking. It is not the gospel. There really is no good news in it at all. It is quite contrary to the good news John preached. The word exhortation in verse 18 means something like a pleading, or entreating, or urging. Yet, at the same time, this word has an element of comforting. Most of us do not use the word exhortation in our day to day. But the idea here is of speaking a truth that has a comforting element, an encouraging element. Someone who exhorts others, in a sense is pleading with them to do something, and generally this refers to something that will have a positive outcome.
An example might be used this way: :He exhorted them to follow God and obey His commands. You see there is a pleading, yet with a good intention and a hopeful good result. Moral Therapeutic Deism contains an element of exhortation, but it is incomplete. We may say folks like Joel Osteen are exhorting their listeners, but that is incomplete. Prosperity gospel preachers are exhorting people to get rich, but this is a false gospel anyway.
A preacher should be giving exhortations, and John the Baptist is an excellent example for any preacher. Yet there must be a qualifying condition for this to be the right kind of exhortation. It must be biblical. You see, you can listen to all sorts of worldly people who will tell you to be a nice person, to find enjoyment in life, to think positive thoughts. All of those things are good things, of course. The Bible tells us to be kind, the Bible tells us to find enjoyment. The Bible tells us to think good thoughts. The Bible, though, tells us to seek these things within a context.
The best way to be a kind person, to find enjoyment in life, and to think positive thoughts is by thinking biblically. By learning God’s plan and design for us...
Biblical exhortation, then, is giving people positive encouragements, pleadings, and so forth that involve God’s Word, teaching it, explaining it, and commanding people to come to obedience to it. Luke3.18
Luke 3:18 ESV
So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people.
The good news John preached was repentance. Repentance is good news. John was saying something that is based in truth. That is the gospel, that God calls all people to repent of their sins, and that those who come in true repentance will receive mercy and grace. John was preparing people to put faith in Jesus by calling them to repentance. So John clearly was not preaching Moral Therapeutic Deism. He was preaching a true gospel.
So a preacher of the gospel of God preaches good news with many exhortations. They are not all positively presented. A preacher makes what we would call positive and negative statements. A positive exhortation may be to call people to put faith in Jesus. An exhortation with a negative command would be to say stop sinning. Stop lusting. Stop hating. Stop your pride. Yet, even these negative exhortations, if obeyed, have a positive result in the end.
Along with exhortations sometimes come what goes just a little further, and that is reproof. Luke3.19
Luke 3:19 ESV
But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done,
Reproof, or reproach, involves a little higher level. This may be more specific. In this case, John called out Herod for being with his brother’s wife. Now we have something more like the world more and more is becoming acceptable. It wasn’t acceptable to God, though. Not then, not today. His commands are clear. adultery is a very bad thing, but much worse when it involves family members. It was a gross, sick, sin that Herod was guilty of...
You don’t hear most of the popular preachers on TV or radio doing much, if any, reproving. Can you imagine one of them calling someone out by name and naming their sin, and reproving them? It won’t happen. They don’t want to lose their audience. The false preachers are clever. It is no wonder they have people who would personally disagree with one another, but united in their love and admiration for these preachers. Why? Because they affirm everyone. They stay in their lane, and their lane is the path of least resistance when it comes to being popular and loved.
If they reprove anyone, they reprove those who ware trying to hold a biblical view. Andy Stanley is an example of this. He recently said to his congregation:
"A gay person who still wants to attend church after the way they've been treated, I'm telling you, they have more faith than I do… they have more faith than a lot of you." - Andy Stanley
In other words, Andy Stanley said that the LGBT people who come to his church have more faith than many of the people in his church. I could do a whole sermon on why that is wrong. In short, if anyone comes to true faith and repents, they will be accepted, but true repentance means turning from their sin, and if anyone is in the church who claims to be a true believer with true faith in Jesus, they will fight against their sin, to put it to death, and this is why Paul, when he listed many sins, said “such were some of you”. A true believer no longer identifies with their sin, they identify with Christ and His Righteousness.
So it is impossible to call someone who identifies with their sin a person with faith, because they do not have faith. If someone insists on remaining in their sin, that is proof that they are not saved, they are God haters. They literally hate God. Can you imagine if Andy Stanley had said it a little differently? What if he had said this?
"An unrepentant adulterous person who still wants to attend church after the way they've been treated, I'm telling you, they have more faith than I do, they have more faith than a lot of you."
"An unrepentant abortion doctor who still wants to attend church after the way they've been treated, I'm telling you, they have more faith than I do, they have more faith than a lot of you."
"An unvaccinated (or vaccinated) person who still wants to attend church after the way they've been treated, I'm telling you, they have more faith than I do, they have more faith than a lot of you."
"A unrepentant child abusing person who still wants to attend church after the way they've been treated, I'm telling you, they have more faith than I do, they have more faith than a lot of you."
You see, you take any other sin (or perceived sin) and put it in there, and Andy Stanley would never have said it. So why does he feel comfortable using a particular sin, homosexuality, and saying that people who continue in that sin have more faith than the others in his congregation? Why does he feel comfortable for reproving his non-gay members for not being accepting enough while at the same time commending those who are gay?
Is that what a preacher does? Not a true preacher. The preacher who would do such a thing condemns themselves. Isai5.20
Isaiah 5:20 ESV
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Andy Stanley is not alone. Many high profile pastors say very similar things. You should not listen to Andy Stanley or anyone like him. He is a false teacher. I doubt he will ever listen to my sermon, but Andy Stanley, if you are listening, then you need to repent. If the gay people in your church have more faith than you, you should resign as pastor.
So why do these popular preachers, and frankly, many less known pastors, even many with smaller congregations, why do they not call out sin? Why not offer reproof as John did?
Exhortations and Reproof
Biblical reproving is not popular
Prison or Death are sometimes the vocation of the preacher

(Biblical) Reproving is not popular

I say this with a caveat, I mentioned it early. It is popular for many of these preachers to reprove those who are trying to be biblical. I can tell you from first hand experience, when I try to be biblical, I have been called legalistic. Now, I want to tell you quickly, don’t call someone trying to figure out what the bible commands and trying to live it out to the best of their ability legalistic. It is not legalistic to try and be biblical. It’s a shameful thing to call someone trying to learn how to live out their life in Christ in a manner worthy of their calling legalistic. That is not legalistic.
Legalistic is demanding that people follow rules or procedures that are not laid out in scripture. I have been at churches when they changed the service time. You want to see legalistic, try and change a sermon time. Legalistic is when you take your own preference and make it sacred and then try to impose it on others.
Legalistic is not saying, The Bible says we ought to do this, so let’s do it, or the Bible says we should not do this, so we don’t. If you leave a church simply because the service time changed, you may be legalistic....
The Bible does give us many commands and instructions. Trying to follow any of them is not legalistic. Commanding things that Bible is silent on, that is legalistic. Do you see the difference?
So now that is out of the way, Let’s talk about this. Biblical reproving is not popular. Reproving those who are trying to be Biblical is very popular. There is a term being used, a derogatory term, a term filled with animosity towards those trying to be biblical, that I have begun to see more on Christian Twitter accounts. TheoBros. A TheoBro, as close as I can figure it, is a sort of mean way of saying, “someone who cares about theology”. Many, many people who call themselves Christian have a visceral reaction to anyone who will dare to bring up what the Bible says.
So when people called out Andy Stanley for saying gay people had more faith than the rest, the defenders of Andy came out and said, “there go those theobros again!”. In other words, those guys who are way too worried about being theologically accurate. Rather than being a positive thing, many so-called Christians say this is a decidedly negative thing. Why would they want to Bible to define the behaviors of people when they instead can use the culture to define what the Bible says?
It is not unpopular to make fun of someone who is trying to understand what the Bible says and to live it out. But is unpopular when a preacher calls out real sin. It is unpopular when the preacher calls out sin, and especially when he gets personal.

Prison and Death are sometimes the vocation of the Preacher

Matthew 14:1–12 ESV
At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus, and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus.
The party and the dancing. Herodius, daughter Salome...
Exhortations and Reproof
Biblical reproving is not popular
Prison or Death are sometimes the vocation of the preacher
The Works of Josephus: New Updated Edition Chapter 5: Herod the Tetrarch Makes War with Aretas, the King of Arabia, and Is Beaten by Him; As Also concerning the Death of John the Baptist. How Vitellius Went up to Jerusalem; Together with Some Account of Agrippa, and of the Posterity of H

2. (116) Now, some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist; (117) for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing [with water] would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away [or the remission] of some sins [only], but for the purification of the body; supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness. (118) Now, when [many] others came in crowds about him, for they were greatly moved [or pleased] by hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion (for they seemed ready to do anything he should advise), thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties, by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it should be too late. (119) Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod’s suspicious temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death. Now the Jews had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, and a mark of God’s displeasure against him.

Josephus was not a Christian, yet he records that Herod feared John the Baptist. Herod and his family were full of murderers, who killed anyone who they thought may be a threat to their power. Later in the gospels we learn that Herod feared Jesus because he was said to be John come alive again. Herod lived in constant fear of being deposed.
So that was probably a factor of Herod putting John into prison, but the main reason was John reproving him for taking his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things he had done. Yet Herod did not kill John at first. He kept him alive. Perhaps he realized that John was in the right. But when the daughter of Herodias danced, he let his lusts in that moment take over.
What will the preacher today encounter if he continues to preach the truth? Are we in a time that we will see preachers killed as John the Baptist was? Can any true follower of Jesus expect to not share in his sufferings?
Joel Osteen would say, no, you will not suffer for Jesus. He will give you your best life now! But Jesus said something a little different than what we hear form Joel Osteen, or the Moral Therapeutic Deists, John 16:1-4
John 16:1–4 ESV
“I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.
Then what do we do? We may bot be killed for our faith, but it is not impossible that in our nation, the tide could turn quickly against those who desire to be biblical. What then? How will we make it? Will we have the faith to be strong if this type of persecution comes?
There is hope! When Jesus said these things, he was saying them not to scare people, but to prepare them. They will put you out of the synagogues, or churches. The hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. Do you realize what this means? People who think they are doing the work of God will kill you for your faith. It will seem completely upside down. In fact, many people who have tried to be faithful have been driven out of their churches. If you speak up for biblical morality in many churches, you will be sent away.
I see reports every day of violence towards people who disagree, on many different topics. Is it really so hard to believe that we are very far from people killing you for your beliefs? People standing on a corner, with a choose life sign, violently beaten, screamed at, having things thrown at them. You see, it is already happening in many places. Do you really think, Christian, that your life will never come to a place of persecution for your faith?
Peter said if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you will be blessed. And he says suffering for the Christian should not be a surprise to us: 1Pet4.12-14
1 Peter 4:12–14 ESV
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
But how in the world are we supposed to do that? Are we strong in and of ourselves? Do we think by our own sheer strength we will endure these things? Do not put any confidence in your flesh. You do not have this strength on your own. Anyone of us, if left completely alone, and facing the pain of trial, would give up hope and despair. We cannot do this on our own. Jesus did not leave his disciples hopeless. He did indeed tell them to expect persecution, perhaps even to the death. and after he said this, He showed how we would endure.
John 16:5–15 ESV
But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
John 14:15–31 ESV
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more