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 Unbiblical Preaching Against Sin

Someone recently asked me what unbiblical preaching against sin would be. Because of the many discussions on these boards about open air preaching and about preaching against sin, I thought I'd share this here.

Jesse, what would you say is unbiblical preaching against sin? Is there such a thing? I am curious to know what your thoughts are? Is it possible to be too hard on sin in the way we present the truth?

I would say unbiblical preaching against sin would be if:

[b]Someone had the wrong motive:[/b]

If they did it simply to make themselves feel better about themselves. Some people feel better when they put others down. Or if their motive is so others could see how great they are. Or if their motive is anything at all selfish rather then for the glory of God.

Their motive must be love for God and love for people. They must be deeply troubled and burdened inside for the dark and dying world around them.

[b]Someone had the wrong Spirit:[/b]

If they were simply contentious, spiteful, hateful, or mean-spirited. If they do not have the Spirit of Christ who gave Himself over to be mocked, beaten, and even crucified, all so that others could recieve life.

Their Spirit must be one of love. Even if it's hard love, it must be love non the less.

[b]They don't intend to present the gospel:[/b]

Now I understand the principle, "law to the proud and grace to the humble". There are times when Jesus Christ never presented the message of forgiveness, luke 10:25;18:18, but only the message of the Law.

However a preachers [i]intention[/i] must be to ultimately present the gospel to see a soul harvested into the Kingdom of God. The crowd might be made up of only hard hearted sinners who will only take the gospel and trample it under their feet, a crowd in which the Law has not yet fully done it's work, they might be without conviction of sin and without the fear of God, in such a case it would be unbiblical to present the message of forgiveness. However, it must be the deep, burning, longing desire of the preacher to not just preach against sin, but to lift up Christ and declare forgiveness and grace and mercy [b]even more boldly[/b] then he preached against sin.

[b]If they do not pray much:[/b]

A preacher who does not have a ministry of deep private prayer has absolutely no right to have a public ministry of preaching. And I do not mean praying 10-20 minutes a day. But deep, agonizing prayer for the lost. Even days of prayer and fasting.

A preacher who only wants to preach, but doesn't want to pray, must ask himself if he really loves the lost at all. The greatest thing a preacher can do for the lost is not preach to them, as great as it is, but ultimately it is to pray for them.

[b]Can you preach to hard against sin?[/b]

But regarding being too hard on sin. No, I do not believe it is possible to be too hard on sin. THe problem I see today is that preachers are not hard enough on sin.

God sends souls to hell to burn for eternity because of sin. Is God too hard on sin?

Is sin not that much of a vile thing, not that terrible, not that evil, that we should deal lightly and unseriously with it? We must not be harder then God, or stricter then God, but we also must not be lighter then God!

I believe one could preach too little of Christ, but not that anyone could ever preach too hard against sin.

We must pray hard and we must preach hard!

Any other thoughts on this issue??

 2006/6/23 22:07

Joined: 2006/6/12
Posts: 524

 Re: Unbiblical Preaching Against Sin

Regarding preaching against sins, this verse came to my mind quickly, the Lord said in

John 8:7
So when they continued asking Him, He lifted up himself, and said unto them, he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

If I were to preach against sins to anyone, I would :

l. Condemn and confess my own sins or sinfulness before GOD first.

2. Make sure that I don't practice whatever sins I try to preach against.

3. I would definitely use the approach of being one of the sinners, rather than projecting myself as some 'righteous' preacher.

Nobody, especially the unbelievers, would take a preacher against sins seriously if they remotely sense that the preacher has any sin issues in their own lives.

I hope these are biblical, sorry if they're not.

mml, :)

 2006/6/23 22:48Profile

Joined: 2005/11/2
Posts: 3707


There is a time to clean out the temple, but Christ was pure righteousness Himself and was justified.

There is a time also to cast the first stone, which none is justified except Christ: His choice was go and sin no more, you are forgiven.

What did the Law do to Paul? It killed him. Rom 7:11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew [me].

In Christ: Phillip


 2006/6/23 23:43Profile

 Re: Unbiblical Preaching Against Sin

Brother Jesse,

you wrote:

We must pray hard and we must preach hard!

I got to disagree with you, and I don't disagree, just to disagree, or to be disagreeable...not at all. But I believe in the leading of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, that all God requires us to [b]DO[/b] is to believe Him, just as Abraham did, in the one finest bits of Scripture in the Bible, "Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness".

I believe God, with every fiber of my heart mind and soul.

Now let me stop for moment, if Jesus speaks to Jesse Morrell and says, "get out there and preach against sin and inequity, preach hard, and if you offend some so be it".

That is between you and God, that is your calling as the Spirit and your spirit have detrimined in Christ Jesus.

Now the way the Spirit has revealed it to me, is that I have to do nothing other than to enter His Rest as detrimined in the Epistle to the Hebrews, or as Paul set in his epistle to Romans:

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart, that is the word of faith , which we preach:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in they heart that God haith raised hin from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Romans 10:8-9

Thats what I mean to say to you, religion is about [b]Doing[/b], what you can "do" for God, the things you have to "do" for Him. It's just religion, man-made, and the Son of Man came to save us from this hopeless system, that's why it's called Grace..

It was the queers, and the whores and the lepers and those elements of 1st Century life that were the lowest of low that flocked to Jesus, because He was the exact opposite of all the repressive elements of [b]RELIGION[/b] Jesus was the Messiah, and their spirits testified to that truth.........they believed God...and He credited it to them as righteousness.

Thta's why I disagree with the onus of your ministry, because, to me, it's not about preaching [b]against sin[/b], it's should be preaching about [b]believeing God[/b] and His promises that if you confess with mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved, and you will enter the Rest of God.

Then and only then will the Holy Spirit begin to do HIS work on don't have anything to DO, but to say "yes and amen, and be compliant to Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, praise His Name!

Hug on the lost, love them, smile on them, serve them, make them jealous as to the peace and joy you possess in Jesus....

taking a soundsystem to a swimming hole or outside a bar and excoriating them on their reprobate lifestyles and their Christless hearts will yield little fruit.

Preach faith as a gift in counterjuxtaposition to our Adamic curse of sin.

Preach faith as the Divine gift of Messiah.


 2006/6/24 2:37

Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776

 Re: Preach the GOSPEL = the GOOD NEWS = the LIGHT

Jesse, you’ve been on my mind a lot lately, and I’ve been praying for you. I have been rejoicing in God for you. I think of Is. 44: 3: I will pour our my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.”

Lately you have raised some critical issues that we believers all need to address on a personal level. Because they involve us all, as part of God’s refining process.

I have discovered that the word, “preach” in the gospel is usually closely connected with the word ‘Gospel” or Good News. Preaching is a calling we all have if we are truly in Christ. In fact, it is an outpouring of what is within us. It can’t help but come out.

Sadly, the word, Preach, has come to be associated with much that is not preaching. In other words, it is not closely attached to the GOSPEL. It is like a dry wind.

The Gospel is LIGHT – that is the LIGHT of Christ. It is this bright, radiant Light that exposes what is in darkness – that is – sin hidden in the consciences of man.

When we merely try to “preach sin” (which is not really preaching) we cause our “victims” (that’s how they feel) to feel hopeless helpless, or they simply toss out what we have to say. They trample on the good things we may have to offer. We have lost their respect - not because they saw the Light within us, but because they failed to see the Light in us.

Lately I am being more and more convicted of own personal call to preach the gospel – that is, to LET THE LIGHT SHINE, through my life and through all that I do. It is either there or it is not. People see beyond my words. They see what’s there. And when the light within me shines on the darkness in their hearts, they feel convicted (by the Spirit)– even without any mention of their sin. I’ve seen it often. My role is to become more and more Christ-like. That is the best gift I can give the sinner.

We are called to be ready to give an answer for the faith that is within us. That means, that people will seek us out when they want to know. Many sought out Jesus. They came to HIM. He made himself available – walking on their turf, eating in their homes, and loving them as a servant. They came to him because the news had spread.

The Pharisees were threatened by Jesus, and jealous of him long before he preached his woes on them. They couldn’t take the LIGHT, and THAT is why they persecuted him.



 2006/6/24 11:27Profile

Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC


To somewhat piggy back off what Diane was saying, I'd like to add that when speaking out against sin, it's not simply enough to say "Do you do this and that? If so, don't do it anymore." Instead of just speaking against a sin, and what people SHOULD NOT DO, we should also speak for what the gospel says they SHOULD DO.

You can see this contrast a lot throughout the Scriptures. Take for example in Galatians 5, where the works of the flesh are set in contrast for the fruit of the Spirit. God doesn't desire for you to just stop stealing, instead God desires for you to be produce something.

Jimmy H

 2006/6/24 11:45Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7474

 Re: Unbiblical Preaching Against Sin

No, I do not believe one can preach too hard against sin.

Now, exactly what is sin? Is it not anything that will separate one from God Almighty? This separation, unless repented of, will doom a person to hell. Do we have any concept of the horrors of hell? Do we have any concept of spending eternity in such a terrible place? Have we ever smelled the fire and brimstone of hell? Have we ever heard in our spirit the shrieks and cries of people so doomed? (My husband's uncle was a very ungodly man who never repented of his sins. He died while hospitalized with a nurse in attendance. She said his death was so horrible she hopes she will NEVER have to witness anything like that again!)

People become angry when you confront them about sin. They want to have the assurance of being saved without repenting of their pet sins. They have chosen to deceive themselves with lies. They will tell you they are not as bad as..... and justify themselves and then vilify you for challenging them.

On the other hand, when people become angry at you for pointing out sin, you can count that as a blessing! What is really disturbing is when you preach against sin and people are NOT moved or disturbed! Now THAT should give one pause for concern. The reason for this is because they are acting out of guilt and are trying hard to defend themselves. This usually happens in the early state of conviction settling in. Man will fight against what he knows to be true and if you represent that growing conviction you will become an object of his persecution. Now if people do NOT react against the message, it could well be they have become gospel harden, which is a tragedy that has fallen on our beloved nation in huge proportions.

Modern Christianity has seen very little of the gift of evangelism operating. During the heyday of evangelism, sin was exposed and people cried out in sorrow to God, imploring Him to have mercy on their souls. How often have you been stricken with this sense of your own sinfulness and asked God for his mercy on your soul?

A loving person will not allow a person to proceed on the path to eternal damnation without warning him. Now do I love enough to act in this way? So how do we warn the unrepentant sinner? By listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit: he will instruct you. All you have to do is be willing to speak. All you have to do is start talking. He will be there to give you the words to say and the emotion to match. Sometimes you will be so very gentle and maybe at times you will have to take them to the woodshed! The only correct method in confronting sin is to be in TOTAL obedience to the Spirit's leading. To act out of your own opinions/emotions is missing the mark.

Yes, a loving person will not allow a person to proceed on the path to eternal damnation without warning him.


Sandra Miller

 2006/6/26 3:01Profile

Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776

 Re: How do we preach against sin?

I looked up every reference for “preach” in scripture (about 140), and not once do I see the phrase: “Preach against sin”. That, of course doesn’t mean that we are called to ignore sin and overlook it. But think for a minute: What is the most powerful attack against sin: Is it not the Gospel? No wonder we read over and over again in Scripture: “Preach the Gospel”, preach righteousnes, preach forgiveness, preach peace, preach the remission of sins preach the kingdom of God, and mostly PREACH THE GOSPEL

I fear that we don’t really believe in the power of the Gospel to transform lives. Friends, It is THE GOOD NEWS!!!! Consider this: When a cancer victim visits a doctor, it does little good to tell him that he has cancer because he smoked or ate too many free-radical-producing foods. Merely stopping those sins won't help. He needs to be told that there is HOPE. And he needs to be given that hope.

Of course, modern medical means are shaky at best. I fear that we view the Gospel in the same way: shaky at best. So we try to fix the sinner ourselves, by trying to pluck out his sin (the speck in his eye) If we really believed in the healing power of the Gospel, we would preach it! We would live it!

Modern Christianity has seen very little of the gift of evangelism operating.

I believe this is because we haven’t faced our own sins adequately. (I speak collectively) Until we get to the core of our hearts, we will never value the power of the gospel, and we will never preach (=evangelize/live) it with convicting power.

“Preach the Gospel” has been reduced to an appendage at the end of a sermon, added just in case “some here might not be saved”. And then, it is merely a simplistic formula that fails to transform lives.

Friends, according to statistics less than 10 percent of those who believe they are saved really are!!! It’s probably much less. Jesus himself supports that truth. “Many will say, Lord, Lord…. But….”

We have failed to acknowledge the real sin. Jeremiah hit the core problem of all sin:

My people have commiteed TWO sins;
They have FORSAKEN me, the spring of living water,
and have dug their won cisterns, cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jer. 2:13

Essentially all visible manifestations of sin are attributed to these two core sins. If you read on in Jeremiah, you will see these thoughts repeated over and over again in. You will also see this same idea in Romans 1.(they did not want God) Romans 2 it hits home (yikes!). That is all a back drop to the solution: the Gospel. Both the Books of Jeremiah and Romans are powerful presentations of the GOSPEL – the GOOD NEWS.

I say, how can we have anything to offer our folk on our streets when we have utterly failed to face our own need for the Gospel, or our own core rebellion: not wanting God. Our fixation on the superficial is like the blind leading the blind, like trying to take the speck out of his eye, while being blinded by our log. We end up gouging his eye.

St. Francis of Assisi in the 13th century, wrote some words that express a powerful attack against sin. (Compare it to Eph. 6:10ff )
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

This is primarily how God has called me to attack sin in my town, my church, and my family. It is living a life by the power of the Gospel - which is Christ in me.

Where there is stinginess, plant generosity
Where there is worry, live with peace of heart,
Where there are curses, plant blessing.
Where there is an obsession with material possession, build relationship.
Where there is bitterness, plant forgiveness and mercy.
Where there is unbelief, live a life of faith.
Where there is infidelity, model a life of fidelity.
Where there is a demand of payment, do things for free.
Where status is valued, be a servant.
etc, etc

This is the kind of stuff that preaches very, very loudly. It brings conviction of heart. It softens hearts. It prepares the way for the Lord.



 2006/6/26 8:42Profile

Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776

 Re: A time to and a time not to

In case it might seems like I’m suggesting that we should never point out another’ sins, I felt I should add a thought.

For me, personally, I have learned to see my sins through Spirit revelations combined with Scripture. I also learned about myself through discerning between Godly lives and godly-appearing lives. That helped me realize that I was a godly-appearing life and needed to repent of that.

Yet, there was one memorable time where someone did point out a sin. He noticed that I had been worrying about one of my children. After much prayer, and waiting for divine timing, he gave me the verse, “Whatever is not of faith is sin”. He then very tenderly pointed out that my worry was the result of unbelief. My spirit immediately agreed. I was deeply broken. What still amazes me is that I could not see it before that time.

Many times I have wanted to point out another’s sins. On occasion God allows me; but many times, just as I opened my mouth, the Lord closed it. A leader from the Canadian Revival Fellowship once said to me, ”Don’t hoe too close to the corn.” I guess that’s because you can damage delicate roots hidden under the surface, and maybe even kill the plant.

One more thought:
Has anyone here found that admitting your own sins, or your struggles with past sins is a very effective way of encouraging honesty in another? I have. Perhaps that’s because it puts us on level ground.


 2006/6/26 12:44Profile


Thta's why I disagree with the onus of your ministry, because, to me, it's not about preaching against sin, it's should be preaching about believeing God

Bartle, I think I'd like to clarify. I'm not saying, "The only thing a preacher needs to do is preach against sin". Rather, I'm saying that one of the things a preacher MUST do is preach against sin.

We must preach against sin (or preach repentance as the bible calls it), we must preach about hell (as Jesus very OFTEN did), we must preach about judgment, and we likewise must preach about grace, mercy, and forgiveness for those who repent and start obeying God.

Heresy, as defined by Tozer, is so highly exalting one biblical truth that other biblical truths become neglected. If that's the definition of heresy, I'd say the modern Church today is full of love-heretics. They want to hear about love, love, love, because they are in sin, sin, sin. The love of God, which is a solid biblical truth, has been so highly exalted that other biblical truths, such as hell and judgment, are ignored or at least neglected.

I looked up every reference for “preach” in scripture (about 140), and not once do I see the phrase: “Preach against sin”.

Look up the word, "repent" in the New Testament and see how often that is preached. To repent is to turn away from sin.

What did John the Baptist preach? Repent and believe. What did Jesus preach? Repent and believe. What did the Apostles preach? Repent and believe. Heresy would be preaching only believe or only repent. It seems many today lean more on preaching only believe then on only repent. But either would be unbiblical just the same. We must preach to this unconverted world, REPENT AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL. That means, turn from your sins and put your faith in Jesus Christ.

Mr 6:12 - "And they went out, and [b]preached that men should repent.[/b]"

Ac 14:15 - "And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and [b]preach unto you that ye should turn[/b] from these vanities unto the living God"

Out of all the preaching today, the most uncommon type of preaching is repentance preaching. And yet that is the most common type of preaching I can find in the New Testament! We must declare to the world, TURN from sin and LIVE in Christ!

Yes, a loving person will not allow a person to proceed on the path to eternal damnation without warning him.

Ginnyrose, I think your whole post is right on. I find it to line up both with the scriptures and also with my personal experience preaching.

 2006/6/26 14:51

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