Keep It Simple
The above statement is the “mantra” of a friend of mine. When it comes to the preaching and teaching of God’s word, he has told me often, “Keep it simple.” This sentiment was impressed upon my mind even further when a sister in Christ told me, “The main problem that high school students have today is not which church to go to, but whether or not to believe in God in the first place.” Think about it: This lady has observed that we live in a society that has so pushed God aside that she said she knows high school students who need to be convinced about the very existence of God! A few generations ago, such a thought would be ridiculous; now it is reality!
The sister’s observation told me that, yes, my friend is right in saying, “keep it simple” as I preach. Her observation also tells me that I need to be preaching and teaching these “simple” sermons not only to the teenagers, but also to the PARENTS of those teenagers! After all, children are the students of their parents. Therefore, if parents are not exposed to God, the Bible, to truth, etc., then how can we expect their children to know these things? God has placed the responsibility of teaching children with parents (Genesis 18:19; Deuteronomy 6:6-9, 11:18-21; Ephesians 6:4; 2 Timothy 1:5; etc.)! Parents, how are we doing in this area of our lives? Are we spending the time teaching, or are we merely assuming that our children know the truth that we have learned?
Furthermore, when I think about the statement, ““Keep it simple,” I find that this is not an encouragement to make things simplistic, or speak down to people. Rather, it places responsibility on the teacher to make sure things are said in such a way that all those listening can understand. Brethren have said for many years that one does not need to be a “Greek scholar” to go to Heaven. This is true. In like manner, we do not need to have Ph.D.’s in order to understand the Bible! The apostle Paul said, “Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:4). Jesus encouraged the reading and searching (studying) of Scriptures, for He knew that by so doing, mankind can understand the truth and can follow it (John 5:39; 17:17; Revelation 1:3). Not only did He state this truth to others, but He lived it, Himself (Acts 1:1)! How are we doing with the reading and study of the Scriptures? How are we doing at living what we have learned?
Bear in mind, that when Jesus spoke, “the common people heard him gladly” (Mark 12:37). Those who listened to Jesus were often the “unknowns,” the “rejected,” “the general population,”” or the “throng” (ESV). In contrast, the social “elites,” and their ilk did not like Jesus. In fact, they conspired against Him to keep Him from preaching. Their conclusion was that Christ needed to die (John 11:47-53)! After Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, the apostles continued preaching His simple message to the “common” folks all over the world (Acts 1:8, ch. 2, etc.). When they preached that simple message, the “elites,” and “educated” people marveled, at their words, noting, “...they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
Therefore, to “keep it simple” means to preach like Jesus and the apostles did. Can we think of any better examples to follow than Christ and His apostles when one today wants to communicate God’s will in the best way? I can’t! When we determine to preach and teach as Christ, then we will “keep it simple” for all people who are searching for the truth. Let no man get so caught up in his own ability and talents that he forgets to “hide behind the cross” when preaching! Keep it simple so that the “common people” can hear the truth, believe it, and obey it! Start at home! Keep it simple!