Positive PreachingI like positive preaching. I like to hear it. I like to do it. It is like watching the sunshine glisten on the dewy leaves of the apple tree by my window, fresh from a springtime shower. I appreciate the knowledge that the sunshine and the rain will make the tree grow, bloom, and bring the delicious ripened fruit. I know that it takes positive preaching to make the Christian grow in grace and knowledge, blossom in faith and fervor, and bear the delightful fruit of a mature working Christian.
Only one year, however, made me see that it takes more than sunshine and rain to produce a bountiful harvest of golden apples from the tree. I saw that the tree needed annual pruning. It needed spraying or some other natural preventive of disease and contamination of the fruit. Otherwise, a pretty little moth would find a lodging place for its egg in the bloom and every apple would be wormy and ruined.
It took no longer for me to learn that positive preaching is not enough to produce the good fruits of Christians. It takes pruning, cutting away the superfluous growth, the weak limbs, the diseased branches, and the crossed branches that would abrade other good ones. This is after the order of the Lord's parable of the vine and the branches (John 15:1-8).
Some negative preaching and work has to be done to clear the church of such branches; including, "strife, jealousy, wrath, factions, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults" (2 Corinthians 12:20).