Question #15

Is preaching required?

At the congregation of the Lord’s church that I attend, it has been stated by one of the elders that we do not necessarily need preaching in the congregation. All we are commanded to do is partake of the Lord’s Supper, pray and sing. I do not agree with this comment. I believe, “Faith cometh by hearing, hearing by the word of God.” If no one preaches, then no one hears. If no one hears, there can be no instruction, correction and reproof. Would you agree? Or am I wrong to think that way.

The Answer:

The elder is right and wrong. First, the public assembly involves more than the Lord’s Supper, praying and singing. It also involves worship in giving and in study or reading of the word of God. If by “commanded” the elder refers to a direct command, there is no “command” to observe the Lord’s Supper, pray, and sing. However, that does not mean that those acts are not “bound” on the public assembly worship. Until recent years when some began to espouse a “new hermeneutic,” it was consistently and universally taught that the Scripture bound by direct command, approved example, and necessary inference. For example, observing the Lord’s Supper is both apostolic example and necessary inference. Acts 20:7. The church with Paul’s participation set the example of observing the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week. That example necessarily implies (from which we infer) that in order to obey (or follow) that example the church must observe the Lord’s Supper each Lord’s Day. Had the passage said that the church came together to break bread on the first Lord’s Day of each quarter, that would be sufficient. While it is true that the passage also refers to preaching (“and Paul preached unto them”), the Greek word so translated means “1. to think different things with one’s self, mingle thought with thought; to ponder, revolve in mind . . . 2. . . . to converse, discourse with one, argue, discuss. . . .” Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Accordingly, there must be discourse on the Word, but it need not be “preaching” as we now think of that term.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)