I have read too many books and articles on how preaching has been toned down as to not offend people in the congregation. Really? I have also heard that passionate preaching or preaching that is a little on the harsh side does not work anymore. I disagree.
Shepherds should not yell at their flock but I do think passionate (in your face) preaching has its place. If you go to work and screw up, your boss will chew your face off and maybe even write you up. What happens? You go home mad, eat supper, take a cold shower, go to sleep, wake up and go right back to work. The gospel is important. If the sermon does not first grab the preacher, it will not grab the congregation. The preacher should communicate with some notion of angst and passion. He needs to preach like a man that has been set on fire. There is no room for complacency in the pulpit.
I do not think that it is any coincidence that Peter stood up to preach his first sermon at Pentecost saying, “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” Acts 2:23 ESV. Then again in verse 36, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” ESV
Peter, in his sermon, calls out everyone within the sound of his voice and 3000 people were saved.
There are people in the congregation every Sunday sitting in the pews that are unrepentant, ignoring conviction, hard-hearted, stubborn and their idea of going to church is just a game. They don’t see the need to change. There is nothing coming to them in the sermon that shows them that they need to conform more to the image of Christ. Why?
I think the sad reality from listening to and reading about this subject is preachers are preaching out of fear and not out of their relationship with Christ. Some preachers do not want to offend people because they are afraid that people might get mad and leave. Other preachers are afraid of the people that write their paycheck. Preachers should have a Holy, reverent, fear of God and preach what God tells him to preach and not worry so much about what a created piece of clay in his congregation thinks about him.
God will never lead a preacher astray. Have faith! Faith and belief in God that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do. In Acts 4, Peter and John stand before the Sanhedrin with boldness and confidence knowing that the people they speak in front of have the power to throw them in jail or kill them. After being released, they go back to other believers and ask them to pray that will have even more boldness and confidence.
Sheep need to be led. Wolves need to be shot.
Preach as God leads you. God does not give us a spirit of fear. Preach with boldness and confidence in the God who called you to the pulpit to proclaim His Word.