by Russell Kline
Jesus captivated multitudes of thousands of people at a time because, when He preached, “he taught them as one having authority, and not as the Scribes” (Mark 7:29). People were hungry and thirsty for righteousness, and Christ gave them food for their souls (Mat. 5:6; John 6:35). Biblical preaching is supposed to do the same thing for people in the modern world: it is supposed to feed their souls (1 Pet. 5:1-3).
That is why Biblical preaching must be authoritative. If it is not, then it will not provide the spiritual sustenance that people need so very much. The vast majority of souls walking the Earth are withered and emaciated—starving for what only authoritative Biblical preaching can provide. Paul described the condition of those whose souls are lost as being “dead” while they “liveth” (1 Tim. 5:6). Only the message of God’s Word can bring these dead souls back to life (Eph.2:1).
The problem with most preaching that is done in churches today is that it lacks authority from the Word of God to back it up. In most churches, sermons consist of one or two quotations from the Scriptures and then a series of illustrations, jokes and inspirational stories. In Second Timothy 4:1 and 2, preachers are charged to “preach the word.” God does not want preachers to entertain people with anecdotes, but to “persuade men” to obey the will of the Lord (2 Cor. 5:11). To accomplish this lofty goal, preaching must be authoritative.
As indicated earlier, it is the Word of God, which is the source of all religious authority. Colossians 3:17 reads, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” To speak or to act in someone’ s name is to do so by their authority. Therefore, preachers are required to preach and to teach in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ—having the authority of His Word to verify everything that is said.
Beware of preachers who overuse the phrase, “I think.” Frankly, it does not matter what any preacher thinks about anything. It only matters what the Bible says. Preaching that is not reinforced with multiple references in Scripture is not authoritative preaching. When I was learning to be a preacher, my teachers would say, “Always include lots of Scripture in every sermon. Then, you can be sure that at least that much of your sermon is correct.” It still rings true today.