Preachers Must Preach Against Sin or Leave Out Part of the Bible


The Bible command for preachers is “Preach the Word.” Naturally the same verse says, “Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (II Timothy 4:2). One cannot preach all the Word without reproving and rebuking.

Second Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” That verse says that all Scripture is given by inspiration, yes; but it says much more than that. It says that all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, reproof, and correction and instruction in righteousness. Every preacher ought to use all the Bible. It is all profitable for the hearer and should be used for reproof and correction, as well as for doctrine and instruction, says the Word of God.

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That means that the Old Testament should be preached as well as the New. Remember that Christ and the apostles continually preached from the Old Testament; that was the only Testament they had!

It means that preachers should preach law as well as grace. No one was ever saved by the law, but “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ” (Galatians 3:24). The Old Testament has grace just as the New Testament has, and the New Testament has law just as the Old Testament has. The Ten Commandments say in Exodus 20:15, “Thou shalt not steal.” And Paul says in Ephesians 4:28, “Let him that stole steal no more.” The Ten Commandments say in Exodus 20:14, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” In the New Testament Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” You see that both the Old and the New Testaments rebuke sin.

Many Bible teachers gloat over the rich teaching of the mysteries that had been hid in God until revealed in the first three chapters of Ephesians. But it is a perverted, dishonest Bible teaching that emphasizes the first three chapters of Ephesians and down to the seventeenth verse of the fourth chapter, and then does not preach the rest of the book, the nearly three chapters with its practical application to Christian life, particularly denouncing sin.

There are preachers who are hobbyists, preachers who have gone off at a tangent, who preach “believe,” but do not preach “repent.” They preach only one side of the truth. They preach a mutilated Bible, a one-sided Gospel, an emasculated message. All the Word of God is profitable, and all of it ought to be preached and taught.

See how the Bible always deals with both sides of the question of law and grace, this question of damnation and salvation, this question of God’s love and God’s wrath. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Every honest preacher should preach both parts of that verse. It is only after one sees that “the wages of sin is death,” that he will be interested in the blessed truth that “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Honest Bible preachers must preach both parts.

The same truth is taught again and again in the Bible. “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already,” says John 3:18. Preachers should preach the condemnation as well as the forgiveness. And John 3:36 says, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Preachers should preach the everlasting life, but they should also preach the abiding wrath of God on unbelievers.

Isaiah 55:7 says, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”Bible preachers ought to preach first the forsaking of sin and then the returning to the Lord for mercy and pardon. That is the order of the preaching in the Bible. It is “law and grace.” It is “repentance and faith.” I do not mean that there are two steps in salvation, for there are not. The instant one turns from his sin, he turns to Christ. Salvation is an instantaneous transaction whereby the penitent sinner turns to Christ for mercy. But there must be both elements in the preaching of the Bible preacher. There must be a preaching against sin and a preaching of the offer of mercy for sinners. No man can preach or teach all the Bible who does not teach and preach against sin, who  does not name and denounce particular sins and call for repentance.

Excerpted from Why Preach Against Sin? by John R. Rice

The famous preacher John R. Rice is one of those rare people whose faith and practice have made him an icon of 20th century evangelism. The Baptist evangelist preached around the country for decades, and was a friend of Billy Sunday, H.A. Ironside, and other well-known early twentieth century Christian workers. In addition to pastoring churches, Rice started several churches through the evangelistic labor with which God had entrusted him. He wrote over 200 books during his long life time as well as preached on the radio and in large crusades. He is perhaps most famous today for founding The Sword of the Lord and serving as its president for many years. The Sword of the Lord is still operating today, publishing books, the famous newspaper, and conducting revival conferences. Dr. John R. Rice died in 1980, aged 85 years, leaving six daughters as dedicated to serving the Lord as he was.

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