How can they hear without a preacher?

Everyone needs to hear the gospel!

After Jesus rose from the dead, He told His followers: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15, 16).

Joel prophesied that after God poured out His Spirit, “Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Joel 2:32). On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out (Acts 2:1-4) and Peter preached the good news: “Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).

How were his hearers to call on the name of the Lord? Peter told them: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Their sins would be forgiven when they called on the name of the Lord by being baptized in the name of Jesus.

About four years later, after Saul of Tarsus believed and had fasted for three days, Ananias told him: “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Saul’s sins were washed away when he was baptized in the name of Jesus.

Thus, one “calls on the name of the Lord” for salvation by being baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). But first the gospel must be preached.

Preachers are needed to take the gospel to everyone in the world.

The missionary assignment of Jesus calls for dedicated evangelists, who know God’s word well, to fan out into the whole world with the gospel.

Paul was so thankful for God’s grace that he preached the gospel the rest of his life. We need grateful men today who will dedicate their lives to preaching the gospel.

As Paul explains: “‘Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:13, 14).

Does God want you to preach?

All tasks in the church are important (Romans 12:4-6). Each Christian dedicates his whole life to God and uses his abilities to serve God.

You no doubt are serving well now, but more preachers are urgently needed, men who are willing to dedicate their lives to proclaiming the gospel.

We can all pray that such men will arise. Jesus said: “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Luke 10:2). And we all can help to send.

What characteristics are needed to preach the gospel?

Not everyone who wants to preach, ought to preach. Paul left Timothy at Ephesus to “charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3). Some had turned aside to idle talk, “desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm” (1 Timothy 1:7).

To be a faithful preacher, you must know the truth. Paul was “a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth” (1 Timothy 2:7). When Paul preached, he spoke the truth.

The world already has too many men who preach lies. So please do not preach unless you preach the truth. “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11). “He who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully” (Jeremiah 23:28).

To know the truth you must know the Scriptures. Strive to be “mighty in the Scriptures” like Apollos (Acts 18:24). Follow the example of Ezra: “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10). First, he prepared his heart. To do what? (1) To seek the law of the Lord (2) and to do it (3) and teach it. Before you can proclaim the truth, you must know the truth and apply it to your own life.

Preaching requires faith. You must depend on God, not man. Men will betray you. Your brethren will disappoint you. Many will oppose you. But you can always depend on God and you must look to Him for support.

One must be humble to preach. This has to do with faith. Humble men trust, not in themselves but in God. Arrogant men trust in themselves. A preacher’s goal must be to glorify God, not to glorify himself.

If you think you lack the ability to preach, you are right! Paul asked, “Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:16). Yet, God may want you to preach anyway, because then you will trust in Him and the power of His word, and not in your own ability.

When God called Moses, he objected: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). “Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). Because Moses was humble, God could do great and powerful things through him. What was God’s reply? “I will certainly be with you” (Exodus 3:12). What did Jesus say after He gave the great commission? “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

When God called Jeremiah, he objected: “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth” (Jeremiah 1:6). What did God reply? “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you” (Jeremiah 1:7, 8). Jeremiah explains further: “Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth’” (Jeremiah 1:9).

Jeremiah was to place his confidence in God’s word, not in his own ability to speak. Jeremiah was an inspired prophet. God revealed to him directly what he was to say.

Preachers today are not inspired. They must study the Scriptures to know what to preach. But when, on the basis of that study, they preach the word, God’s word is in their mouth, and they can preach forcefully and with confidence. As Paul says: “‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith which we preach)” (Romans 10:8).

You do not have to be an orator to preach the gospel. God’s word is powerful enough to accomplish God’s purposes.1

Paul was not an impressive speaker. Faultfinders said of him: “For his letters ... are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible” (2 Corinthians 10:10).

Paul placed his confidence, not in his own ability, but in the power of the gospel. He wrote: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is God’s power unto salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16 RD).

Someone who preaches, deserves support.

“The laborer is worthy of his wages” (1 Timothy 5:18). “And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:15).

But a real preacher will preach whether he is supported or not. What preacher could be more dedicated and capable than Paul? Yet often he lacked support (1 Corinthians 4:11; Philippians 4:11-15). Paul worked with his hands as a tentmaker to supplement his support (Acts 18:3; 1 Corinthians 4:12). Lack of support is no excuse for not preaching.

If you preach, you are a preacher, whether you are supported or not. Many preachers through the centuries have supported themselves. Rita’s father and my father were both self-supporting preachers. Someone who is supported has more time for study and can more easily go to distant places.

To preach, you must be willing to sacrifice. Most gospel preachers could earn more money doing something else.

You must be willing to suffer. Paul wrote: “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Timothy 1:12). To Timothy Paul wrote: “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3).

The world is lost in sin. The gospel is God’s power to save. But first, people must hear the gospel. And how shall they hear without a preacher? Preachers are needed. Who will dedicate the rest of his life to preaching the gospel? Let us all pray that God will send workers into His vineyard. And let us support those who are preaching the gospel throughout the world. Amen.

Roy Davison

The Scripture quotations in this article are from The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise. Permission for reference use has been granted.


1 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 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 55:10, 11).

Published in The Old Paths Archive