The Declaration

"God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed...some began to sneer, but others said, 'We shall hear you again...But some men joined him and believed..." Acts 17: 31-34

Preaching calls for a response to be made to The Declaration of God. Preaching that does not call for a response, has confused communication with declaration. Preaching is not the mere dispensation of information. Preaching is the incarnation of the declaration of God, by a faithful messenger. Regardless of the choices people may make, preaching calls for a choice to be made. Paul did not get all the fish in the boat, but his preaching drew the net. Biblical preachers still follow his lead.

Blood bought, God called preachers should never dilute preaching into nothing but the delivering of information. Preachers are not postal workers delivering mail, or UPS employees, driving around town, ringing doorbells, dropping off packages, and then driving home with sense of accomplishment.

UPS drivers don't stick around to see the receiver's response to what has been delivered. They drop the package, ring the door bell, and drive off. Preacher's do more than that. They look into the faces of people, and ask, "What do you intend to do about what God just told you to do?" To do less than call for a response is to fail to deliver The Declaration.

Preaching doesn't just deliver the message to a listener's doorstep. It drives it home to the person's heart. Before The Declaration of God arrives to the listener's ears, it must pass through the preacher's soul. This is rarely painless.

Incarnational preaching is not merely informational. It is transformational. If preaching doesn't change the life of the preacher in the pulpit, it will have little impact or influence on the people in the pews.

Without the blood transfusion of The Spirit of God, there is no incarnation of the message in the life preacher. Great preaching is not marked by a cute illustration, or a profound quotation. Perspiration, elocution, and education are poor substitutes for incarnation. The message must reveal a change in the messenger. If the message is missed in the heart of the preacher, it will not hit the mark in the heart of the listener.

Paul preached for a response. Biblical preaching calls for a decision to be made. It is about life-change and right choices, not preachers parsing phrases, or listeners taking sermon notes. People filling in the blanks in a sermon outline have not had an encounter with the word of God, until The Declaration has made a transformation in them.

Note to self: When you preach, declare the full counsel of God, and call for a response, NOW, not later.

So much preaching today is void of theology, but high on technology. There is no fear of God. Paul's message reminded people that the God of creation was making a declaration to them that called for them to REPENT.

The Declaration of God's love for His children is made with an exclamation point in the form of The Cross of His Son, Jesus Christ. The Cross declared God's love. Jesus was, is, and always will be the incarnation of God's love. Knowing about the cross and being transformed by the crucified Christ are two different things. Those who preach Jesus must reveal the change Jesus has made in their lives, before their preaching will lead people in the pews to a life-changing encounter with Him.

God is not nostalgic about the loss of His Son, in the past tense. The Declaration of His love is always in the present tense. Remembering the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, in the past must lead to repenting, in the present. HIS story is not just focused on what God has done in the past, but what He is doing right NOW in the lives of those who respond to The Declaration.

"God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent." v. 30b

Without repentance there is no remembrance. Biblical preaching calls for both, and is not embarrassed by either. To repent refers to a change of heart, and a change of mind, that leads to a change of direction. This turn around takes place in the present tense, not in the past or the future, but right NOW. As Henry Blackaby has often been quoted as saying, "Delayed obedience is still disobedience."

Hearing from God without obeying God is neither remembrance or repentance. It is rebellion. Preaching calls for a response to The Declaration of God in the form of obedience and allegiance.

Preachers would do well to remember that most of the people who show up to hear them preach live under a flag of rebellion. Secession resists repentance to the will of God. Intercession seeks the will of God. The Spirit of Intercession urges people to lower their flag, and end their rebellion.

Preaching calls for the lowering of the flag of rebellion, and the bending of the rebel's knee to the will of God. Rather than a Declaration of Independence, the citizen of The Kingdom of God calls out to God in prayer with a Declaration of Dependence.

Prayer prepares the heart of the rebel to respond in repentance. Praying prepares the preacher to call for repentance with a broken heart. Both are essential. Pray for preachers. They need it and you need the practice. Hearing from God is always improved by praying for your preacher. Praying improves the listener's hearing and the preacher's preaching. The next Great Awakening hangs in the balance. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!