How does Preaching differ from an Address?

Preaching is the public declaration of the Gospel of Christ to both the saved and the unsaved. It is not a speech or private address given to a group of invited guests. It should not be seen as an uplifting talk such as the Christmas address to the nation by the Queen. Neither is it a form of entertainment as in the case of an after dinner speech. These things are often seen as a talent whereas preaching the Gospel has to come through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. It is therefore God’s voice being heard by the congregation. There is a narrow distinction between preaching and teaching. Though they are different in nature they very often overlap … “And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel” (Luke 20:1) … “Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles” (2 Timothy 1:11).

The New Testament describes preaching in terms of “announcing” the Kingdom of God to a fallen world. It opens the hearts and minds of individuals by speaking about the only one who can save their souls. It is not the presentation of personal ideas or those of another man. It is not to be based upon human philosophy, psychology, or religion. It is to be the declaration of the glorious Gospel – the very revelation of God Himself … “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (2 Corinthians 2:4-5). A preacher preaches not what pleases men but that which honours and pleases God … “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness” (1 Thessalonians 2:4-5).

True New Testament preaching relates to and is centred upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Anything outside of this cannot be Biblical … “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women” (Acts 8:12). Preaching the Gospel must be seen entirely in the realm of revealing the life, death, resurrection, and heavenly ministry of Christ. This involves man’s desperate need for personal salvation in Him, since it confronts each person with the need for repentance. Preaching God’s word has an urgency about it because of man’s need … “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16).

“The declaration of the faithful word of God” is a good description of what preaching deals with. By this method God reaches a world blinded by sin, for as Paul writes in Romans 10:14, “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?” This was the ministry of the Old Testament prophet too. It is almost impossible to separate the prophetic ministry from actual preaching. Their ministries were largely declaring God’s truth, just like the preacher in under the New Covenant. Such preaching may appear to be foolish to the unsaved, but it is the only way God has ordained to get through to them … “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).

This has been the method that God has used ever since the days of Noah the preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5). He was chosen to preach to the fallen world of that day, to show them their sin, to point to the only way of salvation, to reveal that they must have true faith in God to be saved, and to declare God’s judgement if the word of the Lord is rejected. The New Testament preacher has a similar yet much higher calling than this, for he is called to be an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). Preaching God’s word is the highest calling any person can have upon his life.