(This week’s blog postings are adapted from the theme address, “Preaching Under Pressure,” presented at the EK Bailey International Conference on Expository Preaching in July.)
We preach under pressure because the church is struggling and the world doesn’t care. There’s one other reason we preach under pressure . . .
We preach under pressure because time is running out
The clock of time is ticking, and we stand on the brink of eternity. Every day, an average of 155,000 people die around the globe, and most of those depart this life and tumble into eternity with no hope because they are without Christ.
There are now nearly seven billion people on earth, with no more than two billion, at most, who are Christ-followers. That means 5 billion people are lost and without Christ. In fact, out of those 5 billion, more than 3.5 billion have never even heard the Gospel; they have never heard the name of Jesus. That includes more than 6,000 people groups that are still waiting to hear. The nations have not yet heard. And in our own nation of 310 million people, there are likely more than 200 million who have never responded to the Gospel; they have never given their lives to Christ, and are just as lost as the most primitive and remote tribe on the planet. Even America has not yet heard.
We preach under pressure because time is running out for those who have not yet heard. And time is running out for you and for me. God has called us to proclaim His Word, and every day is a precious gift, an opportunity to preach God’s love and grace to a lost world. But you and I are not promised another day. Every time you step into the pulpit to proclaim God’s Word could be the last time you do so.
We preach under pressure because the church is struggling, because the world doesn’t care, and because time is running out. And pressure will either crush you or turn you into a diamond. God wants to use the pressures you face to produce diamonds in your life and ministry.