It is not the work of the pastor to say whatever seems relevant or whatever seems noncontroversial or whatever is especially interesting to itching ears. Our responsibility, before God and for the sake of God’s people, is to declare the whole counsel of God (Acts 10:27).
The teachers of the church must disclose all of the glorious parts in Scripture and all the hard parts, all the promises and all the warnings, all the blessings and all the curses, all the parts that make us smile and all the parts that make us wince.
While we do not like to upset people and we do not wish to be thought uncouth, we answer to a higher authority. It is the solemn task of the preacher–weak and failing though he may be–to stand fast as a watchman on the walls. We cannot shrink back from the uncomfortable bits in the Bible (Acts 20: 20-21, 25-32). If we see the sword coming upon the land and refuse to blow the trumpet, the blood of the perishing will be upon our hands (Ezekiel 33:1-6).
It should make us shudder to think about some churches and pastors and what sort of judgment they might fall under when all they did was give people what they wanted to hear, instead of speaking to them of righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment (Acts 24:25).
“Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” is what the Good Shepherd and most loving man who ever lived once said (Luke 13:3).
People may not want to hear hellfire and brimstone sermons. But as a pastor, I don’t want to face hellfire and brimstone for failing to preach as a dying man to dying men.
For the watchman on the walls must give a warning; he must speak of this judgment which is to come; he must herald the glorious salvation found in Christ alone; he must share the glad tidings of peace on earth and good will toward men; he must tell the hard news that we need a Savior, the unpopular news that there is only one Savior, and the unimaginably good news that there is one who actually saves.
O shepherds, may it never be that someone sitting under your preaching or someone subject to your elder care could stand before God on the Day of Judgment and say, “No one ever told me I needed a Savior.”