3 Reasons Preaching Is Essential to Discipleship

“Preaching is the channel God has chosen for much of the transformation that occurs in the believer’s life.”

God can use whatever methods or techniques he wants to bring life change and hope to the world.

God uses many things, but he has ultimately and sovereignly chosen preaching to be one of the primary channels he uses to bring his blessing, his truth and his kingdom to this Earth.

Preaching is the channel God has chosen for much of the transformation that occurs in the believer’s life. And as individuals are transformed to be more gracious, peaceful and loving like Jesus, transformation builds in the society around us, as well.

  • Preaching was the primary method Jesus used when he traveled Israel sharing the truth and love of his Father (see Matt. 9:35; Luke 4:43).
  • Preaching was the method the first followers of Jesus used as they taught about the God who is known to the unknown worlds around them (Acts 20:18-27).
  • Preaching has been the foremost method of communicating God’s Word over the many centuries of church history.
  • Today, preaching is still one of the main ways God makes his Word known.

In the Word, God gives high prominence to the preaching of his Word and to those doing the preaching. The world may not think much of them, and sometimes they seem the “weak things of the world” (see 1 Cor. 1:26-29), but God has chosen them, and God uses them to proclaim another kingdom among the kingdoms of this earth.

Preachers and church leaders are those called by God himself (Rom. 1:1) and set apart by the church (Acts 14:23), and they are the primary channel through which much of God’s blessing and truth flows to the world.

God can uses anyone or anything. Why is it that he has chosen preaching to be one of his main methods? Here are a few of my thoughts about this.

1. We need to be reminded often of God’s truth.

You don’t read the Bible once and you’re good. In the words of Charles Spurgeon, “Nobody ever outgrows the Scriptures. The book widens and deepens with our years.”

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In the same way, spiritual growth happens daily—it doesn’t happen in a day. God doesn’t save us and then we go on with our life. He wants us to grow closer to him and more holy like him throughout our lives.

Zig Ziglar said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.” The same is true of spiritual growth. Spiritual growth doesn’t last—we need to pursue Christ daily.

We are called to “die daily” … to decrease and to allow Christ to increase in our lives. We are called to follow him step by step (1 Cor. 15:31; Matt. 10:38; John 3:30).

Preachers are given by God to “stir you up by way of reminder” (2 Peter 1:13). They don’t preach new truths, they remind us of God’s old truths. They teach us again and again and again in a million little ways so we will never forget what God wants us to know.

[Five elements of healthy preaching.]

2. Knowledge of God’s Word is a building block for the rest of our lives.

Peter taught:

“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8)

This is powerful. This is a framework for which we can grow to be effective in our Christian walk. And it starts with faith in Jesus and growing to be more like him. From here it refers to knowledge. This is not referring to human knowledge, but rather what A.W. Tozer refers to as “the knowledge of God” or growth in understanding God through his Word.

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All of the following vital characteristics of the Christian life are built upon faith, virtue and knowledge. You can’t do better until you know better. God uses preaching to build our faith (Rom. 10:17) so we can grow to be more like Jesus, and God uses preaching to help us grow in the knowledge of God so that we can be built up in self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love—all of these working together to help us to live effective lives for his kingdom.

3. God loves using humble things like preaching and preachers.

Paul explains a bit in 1 Corinthians 1:21:

“Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.”

Paul knew how God worked—how God loves to use foolish and humble things like preaching and preachers to establish eternity in the hearts of men and women.

God sent his one and only Son Jesus to the world, born in a humble stable, and proclaimed by angels to humble shepherds who brought humble gifts to honor his majesty. God used a humble, wooden cross to offer himself as the greatest sacrifice, once and for all offering salvation for those who believe in Jesus.

God uses humble and foolish and broken men and women to proclaim his glorious gospel and mind-boggling grace. These humble methods change nations, mend families, restore sons to fathers and reverse years of sinful decisions.

The question then is not whether God uses preaching, but whether you will submit yourself to the teaching of God’s Word through “the weak things of the world” and the “foolish preaching to save those who believe.”

Matt Brown (@evangelistmatt) is an evangelist, author and founder of Think Eternity, an evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands of people with the gospel each year through live events and online. This article was originally published on Matt’s blog at ThinkE.org.