POSITIVE AND CORRECTIVE PREACHING -
FROM THE MASTER OF PREACHING
INTRODUCTION: We often hear today about how we should only stress positive
things in preaching. We should never mention, or at least mention negative
things as little as possible (and never stress it!) it in our preaching.
Jesus is said by many of these advocates to be the "Lord of the positive."
Is this the full picture of our Lord.
Let's look at the seven churches of Asia, to which our Lord spoke, as
models for the kind of preaching that God wants.
I. JESUS WAS VERY POSITIVE IN HIS PREACHING.
A. To the church at Ephesus - Standing against false teaching.
1. Revelation 2:2, 8-9 "I know your works, your labor, your
patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested
those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;
2. Christians are urged to hold onto the doctrine received from the
a. 2 Thessalonians 2:15- " Therefore, brethren, stand fast
and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.
b. Ephesians 5:11
c. Jude 3-4 " Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to
you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you
exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all
delivered to the saints. 4- For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who
long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the
grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord
B. To the church at Pergamos - Remaining faithful in the face of
1. Revelation 2:13- "I know your works, and where you dwell,
where Satan's throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny
My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who
was killed among you, where Satan dwells."
2. We are to bear up under persecution had difficult times!
a. 2 Timothy 2:3- " You therefore must endure hardship as a
good soldier of Jesus Christ.
b. 2 Timothy 3:12- " Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ
Jesus will suffer persecution.
c. Matthew 5:10-12 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness'
sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11- Blessed are you when they
revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely
for My sake. 12- Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward
in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
3. We should use our Lord for our example when we grow weary and
are tempted to abandon Christ.
a. Hebrews 12:2-3 " looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher
of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of
God. 3- For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against
Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
C. To the church at Thyatira - They were more active in the Lord's
work now then at the beginning.
1. Revelation 2:19- "I know your works, love, service, faith,
and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first."
D. To the church at Philadelphia - They had remained faithful in all ways!
2. Christians are to be active in the work of the Lord and be zealous
after good works.
a. 1 Corinthians 15:58
b. Galatians 6:9- " And let us not grow weary while doing good, for
in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
c. 2 Thessalonians 3:13- " But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary
in doing good.
d. Colossians 1:10- " that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing
Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge
1. Revelation 3:8- " "I know your works. See, I have set before
you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength,
have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
2. These are the brethren who have stay loyal to God's word, remained
loyal in the face of persecution, and had continued zealous as God's people
were to be.
3. A call to remain faithful unto death.
a. Revelation 2:10- " "Do not fear any of those things which you are
about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison,
that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful
until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
II. BUT JESUS SPOKE IN A NEGATIVE, OR CORRECTIVE MANNER.
A. To the church at Ephesus - They had left their first love.
1. Revelation 2:4- " "Nevertheless I have this against you,
that you have left your first love.
2. They had somehow let the original fire for Christian living had burned
low. While they had remained as defender of
the truth, they had lost their zeal for living the Christian life.
3. They were determined to "hold the line" for the truth but had lost
all the joy and zeal from the Christian life.
B. To the church at Pergamos - They had tolerated false doctrine
in the church.
1. Revelation 2:14-15 "But I have a few things against you,
because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught
Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things
sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15- Thus you also
have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I
C. To the church at Thyatira - They had tolerated moral sin in the body.
2. For all their bearing up for the name of Christ against persecution
and pressure from without, they disregarded the enemy from within, false
3. Romans 16:17-18 " Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause
divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and
avoid them. 18- For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ,
but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive
the hearts of the simple.
1. Revelation 2:20-21 "Nevertheless I have a few things against
you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess,
to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things
sacrificed to idols. 21- And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality,
and she did not repent."
2. They had worked harder and harder for the Lord, while winking at
moral sin in the body.
3. The Scriptures urge God's people to live lives morally pure.
a. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 "Flee sexual immorality. Every sin
that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality
sins against his own body. 19- Or do you not know that your body is the
temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you
are not your own? 20- For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify
God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's."
4. Must not let sin remain in the body without being dealt with.
a. 1 Corinthians 5:6-7 "Your glorying is not good. Do you not
know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7-Therefore purge out
the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened.
For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us."
III. JESUS, IN HIS OWN MINISTRY, SHOWED THAT PREACHING WAS BOTH
POSITIVE AND CORRECTIVE IN NATURE!
A. Jesus stressed positive themes.
1. Sermon on the Mount, Loving enemies, lack of worry.
B. But Jesus spoke what man would call Negative preaching.
1. Matthew 7:13ff
2. Matthew 15:3-9
3. Matthew 15:12-14
3. Mark 16:16
4. Mark 8:33-34 " But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples,
He rebuked Peter, saying, "Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful
of the things of God, but the things of men. 34- When He had called the
people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, "Whoever desires
to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow
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