Preaching TO People

Do we forget that preaching is meant to bring people from where they are (wrong) to faith? It is important to realize that preaching is not to the Lord it is to people. We won’t preach forever but only while there are people that don’t know the truth. In heaven, preaching is not necessary. So we must always be considering where people are coming from who are sitting in front of us. Let me explain:

A man who pastored for many years in Latin America preached to three Muslim friends who came to a Bible study about Christ. He used this illustration to prove God’s love:

“A man was in a retractable bridge. Boats would come and he’d push the button to cause the bridge to rise and allow the boats under. One day he brought his son to work and his son was climbing in the gears when a boat was coming by with many passengers. The man had to decide to sacrifice his son for the lives of those on the boat or those on the boat for this life of his son. He chose to kill his son to save many. That is how God did it with Jesus.”

That makes a lot of sense to a Catholic who takes for granted that God has a son. But for a Muslim that illustration makes no sense. Why? Here is the response of these Muslims:

“The child was stupid to be climbing in the gears and his dad was irresponsible. Is Jesus stupid and God irresponsible? I am glad that man chose to save all those people but that doesn’t answer “how”. How does God have a son? Are they two beings? This is not logical.”

It’s not logical for them because they, unlike the Catholic, need to be shown what it means for God to have a son which in no way was well represented by that illustration. Be careful using illustrations that cause more confusion than they do answer questions. When chosing illustrations make sure that you get into the mind of the audience and understand where they are coming FROM and where they need to ARRIVE. Are you answering the right question? Maybe they are asking “How?” instead of “What?” or “Why?” instead of “What?”

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