Preachers have no right to do as they please about this matter of what they preach. They must preach according to instructions. God said to Jonah, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me” (Jonah 1:2). Jonah rebelled and fled away, but he did not get away from God. After a harrowing experience, Jonah, smelling very strongly of fish, heard the Word of the Lord “the second time, saying, Arise and go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee” (Jonah 3:1-2). Oh, that every preacher would learn the lesson that Jonah learned so hardly! Preachers are to “Preach…the preaching that I bid thee.” In the case of Jonah that meant denouncing sin in Nineveh and prophesying judgment. In the case of every other preacher in the world it means denouncing sin also. For that is the clear teaching of the Word of God. Repeatedly, preachers are commanded to denounce sin.
Isaiah 58:1 says, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Here is a clear Bible doctrine that it is proper to show people their sins, to spare not, but to be plain and clear and dogmatic in denouncing sin and calling people to repentance.
Our ultradispensational hobbyists reply, “But that is in the Old Testament.” Yes, so it is. But the God who hated sin in the Old Testament hated sin in the New Testament just the same. And in the three Epistles specially designed for preachers in the New Testament, that is, I Timothy, II Timothy, and Titus, there are specific directions for preachers to denounce sin, to reprove and rebuke.
In I Timothy 5:20, the young pastor at Ephesus was commanded by the inspired Apostle Paul, “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” Again, in II Timothy the instruction that preachers are to preach against sin is repeated, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (II Timothy 4:2) Just as certainly as preachers are to preach the Word, they are to reprove, to rebuke, and to exhort, using the Word of God for that purpose. And in the letter to Titus, the inspired Apostle Paul reminds Titus to ordain elders in every city, setting up bishops in the churches, giving instructions as to the life and work of these pastors. Paul warns Titus that “There are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped” (Titus 1:10-11). Paul reminds Titus that a prophet of Crete had said, “The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.” Paul said, “This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in faith” (Titus 1:12-13). It was a necessary duty to rebuke the unruly, the vain talkers, the deceivers, the lovers of filthy lucre, the liars, evil beasts, and slow bellies of Crete! The implication is unescapable. All Bible preachers are commanded to rebuke sin sharply in order that people may be sound in the faith and true to the faith.
A preacher who does not denounce sin, does not preach against it, does not cry out for righteousness, and demand repentance, does not obey his orders as clearly written in the Bible.
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. http://www.johnrrice.com