How Men Should Preach
2 Corinthians 4:1-6
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;…

I. WITH FAITH. Many preach with despair and prepare the way for failure. We should reflect that the preaching of the gospel is the divinely appointed way for saving men. We are likely to have success if we lay hold of God when we seek to lay hold of men. Our own salvation furnishes abundant evidence of the Divine power to save. "God shined in our hearts" (ver. 6); "We obtained mercy" (ver. 1). What God has done for us he can do for others. And we have the Divine promise that the Word shall not return unto God void. "Light shall shine out of darkness" (ver. 6). We must seek a faith which will prevent us from fainting even when the outlook is darkest (ver. 1). If we have not faith, how can we expect our hearers to have it?

II. WITH COURAGE. We must not faint because of foes. Many an assault upon strongholds has failed because of half-heartedness and cowardice. Preachers should be very bold and very brave. We have nothing to be ashamed of in our message. Shall the devil's work be done more bravely than Christ's? Shall the highest service on earth be marked by vacillation and timidity? "But that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death" (Philippians 1:20). The Church would be more aggressive if she were more courageous. Preachers should have stout hearts as well as tender ones.

III. WITH PERSEVERANCE. We must not faint because of difficulties. Discouragements are many, but persistency will bury them all. The preacher's motto must be, "On! on! on!" He must spend and be spent in the service. After the manner ascribed to British soldiers, Christ's soldiers must never know when they are worsted. "Line upon line, precept upon precept." Many things come to the preacher who can wait and work.

IV. WITH GREAT HONESTY AND SINCERITY, "Not walking in craftiness" (ver. 2). The preacher who wants his hearers to walk in holy ways must not walk in devious ways himself. He must not be a trickster. Some seem willing to do anything to please; but the object of the ministry is not to please. Meat cut with a dirty knife is likely to become unsavoury, and the gospel administered with knavish arts will lose its beauty and power.

V. WITH PURE DOCTRINE. "Not handling the Word of God deceitfully" (ver. 2). "Manifestation of the truth" (ver. 2). Christ gives us pure doctrine to preach, find woe unto us if we adulterate it! We must not season it to the tastes of the carnal, or keep back portions likely to offend influential sinners.

1. We preach in the sight of God. How, then, dare we tamper with his troth!

2. We are to commend ourselves to every man's conscience. Nothing but preaching the truth will do this. We may commend ourselves to men's fancies by preaching our own, and to their predilections by trimming doctrines according to their demands; but only by preaching pure doctrine shall we reach the consciences of men. Theological juggling may please men not a little; gospel doctrine will convict them. To our own Master we stand or fall. 'Tis a poor thing to please men if we displease him. Let Luther's caustic saying, "Counterfeits of money are burned, but falsifiers of God's Word are canonized," be never so true, the preacher must adhere to the doctrine delivered to him, though he lose all earthly things by doing so. In a heterodox world nothing is so likely to be so popular as heterodoxy.

VI. WITH PURITY OF LIFE. "We have renounced the hidden things of shame" (ver. 2). If we preach we should practise, Christianity is often weak because Christians are inconsistent. Men want to see the gospel as well as hear it. A preacher must live as well as talk. A man cannot preach without himself. There is always more in the pulpit than the sermon - there is the man. We inevitably wonder what the gospel has done for the gospel preacher when he so earnestly recommends it to us. And life has a strange power of revealing itself in preaching. It peeps out. If the preacher has a Judas-life it will betray him sooner or later. But when the man speaks as well as his sermon, a mighty influence is exerted. The light must shine in our own hearts and lives (ver. 6).

VII. WITH DISCERNMENT AS TO CAUSES OF NON-SUCCESS. The apostle teaches that those who reject the gospel when faithfully proclaimed are those whose minds are blinded by the god of this world (ver. 4). They have yielded themselves so utterly to evil influences that the gracious message of God through Christ fails to interest or arouse them. They are "perishing." Their rejection of the gospel says nought against the gospel or against the manner of its promulgation. The fault is not in it or in the preacher, but in themselves. It is well for a preacher to realize the possibility of such cases, so that undue discouragement may be avoided when they are met with.


1. Preachers are not to preach themselves (ver. 5). A man may very easily preach himself even when he takes his text out of the Bible. There is not a little temptation sometimes to ministers to preach themselves. "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."

2. Preachers are to be servants for Jesus' sake (ver. 5); servants of those to whom they preach. Not only servants of Christ, but servants of men - "your servants" - for Christ's sake. The preacher who would win souls must sacrifice self. For acoustics it is well for the pulpit to be above the people, but not otherwise. He who would catch fish must not be seen.

IX. WITH LOYALTY TO CHRIST. (Ver. 5.) Preachers must be true in all things to him from whom they have received their commission. They must believe in him, love him, follow him, preach him, live him, obey him, and in all things seek to glorify him. - H.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

WEB: Therefore seeing we have this ministry, even as we obtained mercy, we don't faint.

Glory of the Apostolic Ministry; How its Duties Were Discharged
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