Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 21 Number 3 March 2019
Page 13

Fear of Preaching

Ed Benesh

Ed Benesh“And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear” (Philippians 1:14). As a preacher, I have the responsibility and the pleasure of speaking publicly the Word of God on a regular basis. It is what I have been trained to do and the area of my greatest proficiency, since it is the core of my scripturally defined work. Despite the fact that I speak often, there are few times that I “mount the pulpit” when I lack at least some sense of anxiety or what you might call fear. I am not alone here either. We have so many capable men who are great students of God’s Word, but they too have the same fear and trepidation. Perhaps you have experienced such as well. Oh! You may never deliver a sermon in front of a large audience, but we are all called to speak openly about the Scripture, engage in Bible study and win many for Christ. Thus, we are all susceptible to this fear.

When examined closely, however, what we will find, from the preacher’s sermon to the individual Bible study effort, is that most of this fear revolves around who we are and our ability to deliver the message. Typically, there are two errors that play into this fear. First, we often labor under the impression that we are being judged actively by the words that we speak. Second, we believe the subject of the talk is us, or to put it another way, the focus is on us rather than on the subject matter. Neither of these is true.

It should help us overcome our fear to know that the words that we speak are not our own, if indeed they are God’s. If we have studied and can claim, like Christ, that the words we speak are not our own, but from the Father, then fear should dissipate. Furthermore, when we deliver a lesson, we ought to give the benefit of the doubt to the audience and assume that they are more interested in the content rather than our performance. Hence, our auditors will not judge us but the message itself. Even if we believe they are seeking some entertainment value, it does us little good to assume such. You are not an entertainer, but a herald of truth—a truth that should cast out fear and empower because it is God’s truth.

Thus, be bold. Be strong. Fear not. Seek and proclaim truth always without fear and trepidation. If it is of God, then it is not about you and to criticize the message is to criticize Him, not you. Fear not, and, as we used to say, “Preach it, brother!”

Crucified with Christ

Derek Broome

There are many verses in the Bible that most people can quote off the top of their heads. Many of these verses are taught to children, and, at times, they are even put to the tune of a song to help engrave them in our memories. Galatians 2:20 is a very popular verse in the Bible and can be quoted by most. While this verse is often taught to children, this verse is still so very powerful in its meaning. It is applicable to all Christians of all ages.

First let us look at the last line of this verse, “ …who loved me and gave Himself for me.” As we read in John 3:16, the love of God was so great toward mankind that He sent His only Son to us. However, Jesus did more than just come to Earth. We read in Romans 5:8, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus Christ came to earth and willingly died for all of our sins. He rose on the third day and is now in Heaven preparing a home for those who will obey Him. Before I give my life to Christ, it is important that I recognize what God has done for me and how lost I would be without Him.

Now, we come to the rest of Galatians 2:20. “I have been crucified with Christ…” As we look at this opening statement, I hope that we see the power in these few words. Upon our decision to give our lives to Christ, it is necessary for us to do away with our former selves. Here in Galatians, the death of one’s former self is described by the word “crucified.” To be crucified is to go through a very painful and certain death. Christ was crucified for the sins of the world. We, too, are to die to our former selves in the likeness of His death. We are buried with Him in baptism and rise to walk anew.

When we make the decision to follow Christ, we are not just deciding to give up our former selves, but we are also deciding to walk in the ways of the Lord. It is His life and not our own lives. As I live this life for God, I am to do so out of faith, fully submitting to God and His will.

The writer of Galatians, Paul, was a man who knew what it took to truly live for God. When we look at our lives today, can we truly say, “I have been crucified with Christ”?

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