As a preacher, having to stand before the same “audience” week after week one finds it is not always an easy job. Especially once you have got to the point where you know the people and their weaknesses and you feel an obligation to try to speak relative to those areas which they need help. Often in doing so, though, you find yourself in conflict with those you are seeking to help. The Apostle Paul dealt with this problem in the book of Galatians as he addressed the problem of the Judaizing teachers who had infected the church (Galatians 1:6-10; 4:16). With these passages in mind, we see that this is an age-old problem that must be confronted in each generation.

When it comes to preaching, it must be understood that the faithful preacher will proclaim the entire counsel of God (Acts 20:27). It can be no other way. He will “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2) when people want to hear it and when they do not want to hear it. Sometimes this results in his being fired, but if that be the case, then so be it. It is much better to be fired for preaching the truth than to face the fires of hell for failing to do so! To be the kind of preacher that God wants, the preacher must not get caught up in seeking to please men instead of God. When we are concerned about pleasing men instead of God, the result will be powerless preaching. In this article we want to consider the subject of seeking to please men instead of God.

WHAT COULD ONE PREACH, AND PLEASE MEN?Not that there is a God as seen beginning in Genesis 1:1 as this would offend the atheist. Not that Jesus is the Son of God, as seen in Matthew 3:17, as this would offend the Jew. Not that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, as seen in 2 Timothy 3:16, 17, as this would offend the liberal. Not the creation account for the existence of all as seen in Genesis chapters one and two, as this would offend the evolutionist. Not about the miracles of the Bible as things that actually happened, as seen in John 20:30, 31, as this would offend the modernist. Not that sin exists and that all accountable people, other than Jesus, have sinned as seen in Romans 3:23, as this would offend the humanist who denies the existence of sin.

THE FAITHFUL PREACHER CANNOT BE NEUTRAL – EXODUS 32:26 Balaam sought to compromise as seen in Numbers 23:12 and 25. The New Testament Scriptures warn us to be careful lest we be guilty of the same sin (Jude 11). Doctrinally wise, some want to “straddle the fence” on certain matters. But if we are to please God, this cannot be done (Matthew 12:30).

Pilate is an example of moral cowardice when it came to the crucifixion of Jesus as seen in Matthew 27:24. He knew that Jesus was innocent, but he sought to please the Jews. Tragically today there are many like Pilate in the world. Even more tragically is the fact that there are also many in the church who would rather please the world than take a stand for the truth. Yet when truth prevails these same people want in on the “victory celebration” (Matthew 10:32, 33).

THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS SERVE AS EXAMPLES OF FEARLESS PREACHINGWhen one studies the Old Testament prophets they see men who fearlessly proclaimed God’s message. These were men who taught without fear or favor. In their preaching the “chips” fell where they would. However, today in the church it is different. When someone speaks fearlessly concerning the truth of God they are told that their preaching is unloving. On other occasions they are told, “Your preaching is negative preaching, and I like positive preaching.” Without being unkind, the preacher’s job is not to provide the kind of preaching that man likes, but to provide the kind of preaching that God likes!

JESUS SERVES AS AN EXAMPLE OF FEARLESS PREACHINGJesus’ teaching is an example of how ignorant people are of preaching. People today say things like:

                                                “Just go along to get along.”

                                                “Whatever you do, don’t rock the boat.”

                                                “If you keep preaching like that, you won’t have anyone

                                                to preach to.”

But what about the way that Jesus preached? Look at Matthew 15:3-9 (you might read all of chapter) and note that what He said was said to the religious leaders of the day. Move on to consider what Jesus taught in Matthew 19:16-22. Note that when the one Jesus was teaching walked away, Jesus did not call him back and offer an alternative way of salvation. Look at Jesus’ teaching to the disciples as seen in John 6 and how that many of those who heard him said that His teachings were “hard sayings” (John 6:60) and soon turned and walked away (John 6:66).  Notice that Jesus did not call these people back and say something like, “Well, I didn’t really mean what I said.” He loved these people! But He would not compromise the truth.

In Matthew 23:13 Jesus, in this “chapter of woes,” spoke plainly and forcefully to the scribes and Pharisees. Study the chapter and see what Jesus called them. Do you suppose they liked it? Of course not! Do you suppose Jesus was telling the truth? Of course he was! Do you suppose He loved them? No doubt!

It is past time for the church to understand that we need men in the pulpits who will stand up and speak out for truth. Truth is what saves as seen by the words of Jesus in John 8:32. Pure unadulterated truth purifies the soul as seen in the words of the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 1:22. As preachers, if we are to be pleasing to God, we must fulfill the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 4:2. As the “wise man” said so long ago, we must “buy the truth, and sell it not” (Proverbs 23:23). Anything less is less than God demands and anything more is more than He demands.