The Failure of Isolated Preaching

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
(Isaiah 55:11 NKJV)

I have often wondered if we rely on this verse in Isaiah a little too much when we are out preaching the gospel. Something that has crossed my mind is that we speak to so many people who don’t believe the Bible to be legitimate, yet we turn to this verse and say that it’s in God’s hands. Meanwhile, the person we just spoke to doesn’t believe a word we just said.

Preaching needs evidence

There’s a popular saying by Francis of Assisi that goes “Preach the gospel always, and if necessary, use words”. This quote has come under a lot of fire from evangelicals in many denominations, and one of those reasons is that the gospel MUST be preached and cannot be lived out.

To an extent, the only One who lived the gospel was Jesus Himself, but we are in such a time and era that many people just don’t want to hear it, they want to SEE IT!

Rescue the perishing

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22 NKJV)

As I go about any given day in the down-town, I look around every street corner and see multiple church buildings. There is no shortage of them where I live. What I also see is many homeless people who can’t make ends meet. It’s often heartbreaking to see that many of us as believers tend to keep ourselves safe in the four walls of the sanctuary.

We hear messages about a dying world, sing the hymn “Rescue The Perishing”, and understand very little of what the lyrics mean on the grand stage of eternity. When the world outside does not believe a word we have to say because they see that many don’t seem to believe what they preach on Sunday either, what are we supposed to do then?

Repentance comes first

And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:6 NKJV)

We read of John the Baptist preaching repentance before Jesus arrived to begin His earthly ministry, and this is what we just might be missing in some of our assemblies. We have plenty of teaching, prayer and fellowship, but is it all falling flat with God because we will not often humble ourselves before the Great and Mighty Creator?

Pride kills preaching

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3 NKJV)

I don’t say this as a rebuke to the church, because I understand very much how I have failed in so many ways. What I have a passion and zeal for is to see men and women who call on the name of the Lord to go forward in genuine faith to not only proclaim the gospel salvation to the lost, but to also live out the faith that is preached from our mouths.

I love the church, but how much more does our Saviour love His bride, whom He bought with the price of blood? As William MacDonald once wrote “We owe Him our heart, our life, our all”.

Supernatural encouragement

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works (Hebrews 10:24 NKJV)

So I encourage you brothers and sisters, let us march on forward with the gospel, living like it matters, and praying earnestly for those who don’t believe it. Let us no longer rely on lingo and clichés that only those who are in the church would understand. Let us not fall back on a single verse and feel that we are vindicated in our lax attitudes by it.

There is a world out there that needs the gospel. Go forth, and rescue the perishing…

Pat Van Horne


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      Interesting, perhaps it should be edited to say “Saying attributed to…” rather than being from. As I read the Gospel Coalition article, it only reinforces the fact that some people think there’s only one method of reaching the lost, which is false.


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