There are several Bible characters that significantly speak to my heart. Elijah is one of my favorites. His Hebrew name is actually Eliyah which means: My El is Yehovah. We’re given some interesting information about him in James chapter 5.
— 17. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. —
“He was subject to like passions as we are.” Now, I’m not really sure what all that means. But I think it means, in part, that he was human just like the rest of us. And if you read the story of Elijah you will see his humanity come to the fore. However, even though he was very human he was still a mighty preacher for God. I find that refreshingly encouraging.
I heard Lester Roloff, my hero of the faith, preach in relation to I Kings 17:1. He could preach on a verse in a way that had nothing to do with the context and yet he was right on in what he said. That’s a gift actually. What I heard him say (in essence, as I remember it from around 30 years ago) was something like the following. “What we need are preachers with a ‘BITE!’ We don’t need a bunch of preachers gumming us to death!!” (TishBITE)
Granted, that has nothing to do with anything. However, Lester saw this preacher (Elijah) as one that preached what needed to be said and did it with force and conviction, regardless.
Perhaps you would agree that we’ve had several decades of preachers in America that are “gumming” us to death. What happened to the Hell Fire and Damnation preaching? Where is the preaching that boldly declares what is sin? I know some will say: “What do you mean? There are plenty that preach like that.” I agree. However, the preaching that had the BITE like Lester refers to used to be the norm coming from our pulpits. It’s not the norm anymore.
I used to go to a mega-church that had a membership of 10,000. The present pastor was stepping down so they had guest preachers come in. There was one gentleman in particular that was a very good preacher. One day he got to really preaching. I think he got so involved in what he was preaching that he actually forgot about himself and where he was. It seemed like at one point he realized what he was doing and held back on the intensity.
But then people, scattered throughout the congregation, started clapping and the applause sounded forth. It was wonderful! It was encouraging to see that there are still people hungry for preaching with intensity and not just informative teaching.
Enough with the teaching already. We’re dying on the vine from the lack of preaching. Why is that so hard to recognize? I guess maybe because it takes “guts” to stand up and really bellow out —THUS SAITH THE LORD! The Scriptures weren’t given to be a collection of “user friendly” documents.
I contend it doesn’t do anybody any good when preachers tone down the impact and force of what Scripture says. If God didn’t want certain things to be talked about with emphasis then He could have easily left those things out. Remember what Paul said to Timothy? “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” (II Timothy 4:2)
I also contend that, deep down inside each person, there is a cry for someone to be honest enough to say the hard truth … which they already know about themselves anyway. That’s the kind of love that will encourage others (saved or unsaved) to take heart and seek the only One that can change them — Yeshua.
I miss Lester Roloff. He was an old time preacher that loved sinners and saints enough to proclaim the truth of the Scriptures with a BITE.