‘This Message Has No Content’

Just recently, I received an email from a person I know… well, at least his name was in the email. Underneath his name the e-mail stated, “This message has no content.” That was right. There was absolutely nothing in the message section or if there was, I didn’t receive it. The message about the message was accurate: “This message has no content.”

I had gotten things before that had no content but it seems to be (or it did at that moment) that this was really strange: “This message has no content.” It stopped me and got me to thinking deeply enough that I wandered off into some times gone by when I preached sermons that probably people could have said — and I may have said — “This message has no content.” I’ve even heard a few sermons from others over my many years about which it might be said, “This message has no content.”

For those of us who preach and teach and share the Word of God, we do need to pause and make sure the message we’re sending forth is not just a meaningless sound with no content, but is laced with and pack-filled with the Good News from heaven. In fact, it seems to me that if we’re going to be Bible preachers, Gospel preachers, Good News preachers, every message must have content. I know there are 66 books in the Bible, and there are thousands and thousands of verses. Our message, though it may cover a lot of different topics, must have in its content at least three things.

First, it must always include the object of our preaching. The object being Jesus. Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11).

Whatever else you may be talking about, looking at, preaching, and trying to convey to people, first, last, and throughout it must have a word about Jesus. I’ve been preaching for over 50 years, and over those 50 years I have preached books all through the Bible — series of sermons through Genesis, Ruth, Joshua, Judges, Proverbs, Psalms, Amos, Malachi, John, Philippians, Titus, Revelation, and on and on. In every case I sought to find a message that was flowing from the heart of, and laid before the feet of, Jesus.

In all these years of preaching so many sermons on doctrines, the teachings of the Word of God, I have focused on sin and salvation, the second coming, stewardship, heaven, hell, and on and on the doctrines come and go, but I am challenged again and again to anchor them to the person of Jesus. I have preached about people all through the Bible in biographical sermons, looking at the twelve disciples, Abraham, Moses, David, Balaam, Samson, Mary, Peter, Paul, and in so doing sought to bring them to encircle the person of Jesus who alone can bring us life and life everlasting. If we’re going to have a message that has content, it’s going to have the object right and that is to focus on Jesus.

A second thing our message ought to have if it has content, and that is the opposition. I’m not just talking about preaching sermons about Satan, though he is ultimately the opposition to everything that God wants to do. It is Satan himself who will stand between the Good News and the hearts of men receiving Him and making Him Lord. I know there’s the world of flesh and the devil that comes against us. I think about Job as Satan goes to God and tells him that nobody really loves Him, nobody cares about God’s will in their life, and God says, “Hast thou considered my servant Job” (Job 1:8)? Job, a test that came from Satan. God allowed Satan to do anything he wanted to Job to try to get him to turn his heart away from God. The only thing he couldn’t do was kill Job.

The opposition came, and Job remained true and faithful. Every time we teach or preach the Word of God, Satan will come to steal it away from someone’s heart and divert that person from hearing the Word. The Opposer, the opposition, is strong. People need to understand that. God wants to save them, bless them, and lead them, but there is always the opposition. There is always the Opposer. There is the opposition from Satan himself and he will come and try to lead people astray.

A final piece that must be a part of our message if it has true content: it must have an opportunity. An opportunity as presented in the very first message preached by the Apostle Peter. The first Gospel message after the resurrection by any of the disciples is when Peter stands and declares the Good News from Jesus. When Peter did that, you know that their hearts were moved. The Bible says, “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:37-38). There is an opportunity to trust Jesus. It came at that first presentation after Jesus had gone and it continues to this day as He comes into our midst and gives us opportunity to be saved.

The Bible closes with that grand and glorious word in Revelation 22:17, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”  Oh, we have an opportunity to present before the hearts of men, and this very day that opportunity comes to you. This is not a message with no content. This is a message with the content of an opportunity today that you can turn from your sins and you can trust the living Christ and you can be saved today.

Why not right now? If you’ve never done that, just bow your head and from the depths of your heart, call on Him and trust Him as your Lord and Savior right now.

The author can be contacted at directions@mbcb.org.

Jim Futral

Executive Director-Treasurer