"I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (II Tim. 4:1-5).
If a preacher is to have a motto, these verses should constitute it. In view of our being in the presence of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, we must preach the word! In anticipation of the coming judgment of all men, including ourselves, we must preach the word! In compliance with the command to preach the word, we must preach the word! In understanding that whether it is convenient or inconvenient, we must preach the word! In knowing that preaching the word involves reproving, rebuking, and exhorting, we must preach the word! In patient teaching, we must preach the word! In recognition that some cannot stand the truth, we must preach the word! In being watchful, we must preach the word! As we endure afflictions, we must preach the word! In being an evangelist and fulfilling our God-given work, we must preach the word!
What makes a good preacher? Is it substance or style? Substance is the cake and style is the frosting. It's nice to have both, but substance is what's most important. Although there is benefit to be had for preachers learning how to gesture, make eye contact, etc., they should be more concerned with what is said and their attitude in which they speak it. It would be better for a man to stand as a statue and bellow out the Bible than for him to have a polished delivery by worldly standards yet tiptoe around God's truth. The church today needs more of the former and fewer of the latter!
T.B. Larimore once wrote to one of his preacher boys: "The way to preach is to preach. Just get full of spirit and truth and turn yourself loose. As a good old brother once expressed it, 'Just fill the barrel full, knock the bung out, and let 'er come.' That's the way to preach." I couldn't agree more!
Being admired and appreciated as a preacher is not wrong, but the preacher must remind himself frequently that he is not in a popularity contest. He must be a pleaser of God, first and foremost (cf. Gal. 1:10)! If he preaches the truth in love and makes enemies, so be it (cf. Eph. 4:15; Gal. 4:16).
It is nothing new for men to desire only positive, pleasant, and pleasing words be spoken to them. They may be interested in hearing what the Lord says, as long as it tickles their ears. But woe to the preacher who cries out against sin in the lives of all, and in particular, those in his audience! Faithful preachers must remember that their chief duty is to God and His word. Preach the truth with a proper spirit, preacher, and leave the results to God!