What Does Your Preacher Teach?

What Does Your Preacher Teach?

Stephen Russell

Thank you for joining us today. I appreciate you taking the time to visit with us. I would like to tell you a little bit about myself and my work here with the Pepper Road church of Christ.

I made preaching the gospel my vocation beginning in 2000. Later the same year I met the woman who became my greatest friend and aide. Amy and I married in 2001. We have two daughters, Emma and Anna. Our family worked with a church in Birmingham for 5 years and then with a church in Montgomery for 8 years before accepting an invitation to come and work with the Pepper Road church in February of 2015.

In 2 Timothy 4:2 Paul charged Timothy to “preach the word.” I have made it my aim to do just that. I have several reasons to make that my goal, not the least of which is this solemn charge from Paul to the young evangelist. Every teacher assumes a great responsibility because James writes that we shall receive a “stricter judgment” (James 3:1). In speaking to the elders of the Ephesian church, Paul says that preaching all of God's word means he is innocent of the blood of men (Acts 20:26-27). This implies that failing to preach would have made him guilty of that blood! So, I preach as one who recognizes that I will be held accountable before God for the things I say – and for the things I don't say.

In addition to those sober considerations, I also preach the word because it alone is the “power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16). In an earlier letter to Timothy, Paul instructed him to “pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching” because it would “ensure salvation both for yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16). I want salvation for me; I want salvation for you, so I preach the word and only the word. And, when the word is hard to preach or hard to accept, I think of the words of Peter in John 6:68. Jesus had just preached some hard things. Many left because they were too hard for them to accept. When Jesus asked the apostles if they wanted to leave also, Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Finally, I preach all of the truth of God's word because it is all valuable. Once again, Paul's words to Timothy come before us: In 2 Timothy 3:16 Paul writes, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for correction, for training in righteousness.” Every time we read the Bible, we are reading words from God! Can God speak and it be unimportant? I want to hear every word that He has to say about every subject He addresses. I want everyone else to hear His words too. So, I will preach from Genesis to Revelation. I will seek to find the profit of every word that God has spoken. I want that to define my work as an evangelist. I want to be able to say with Paul that “I did not shrink from declaring anything to you that was profitable” (Acts 20:20).

Are you seeking to know the God of the Bible? Would you like to know more about the words of eternal life? Those are my aims, and I invite you to join me in that pursuit. Whether in our assemblies or sitting across a table with each other, let's open our Bibles and see all that God has to say.