Despite popular opinion, preachers of the gospel of Christ are not in love with the sound of their own voice. I know of no gospel preacher who likes to constantly repeat themselves to the same old crowd over and over again, with no results. So, when does the responsibility of the preacher end when it comes to your soul?
It was the apostle Paul who wrote to a young Timothy to, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Tim 4:2-5). A preacher has the responsibility to preach the gospel when his listeners want to hear and even when they don’t want to hear it. However, this is not to say that a preacher is responsible for your soul once you have heard the gospel preached.
In fact, a preacher must teach all who have ears for the gospel, which means that his time must not be consumed by a select few while neglecting the masses (Mk 13:9). Many gospel preachers who remain at the same congregation for many years find themselves repeating the same gospel and same doctrine of Christ to the same audience. This is both a waste of their talent and abilities, and deprives many who need to hear the truth from ever hearing it.
A preacher must warn the wicked lest their blood be upon them. Paul made the claim that all preachers of the gospel one day hopes to make: “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:26,27). This is not a choice but a responsibility of all gospel preachers. Woe unto the preacher who preaches not the gospel of Christ (1 Cor 9:16).
As Ezekiel records, “When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul” (Ezek 3:18,19).
Yes, a gospel preacher must preach the truth in and out of season, and must warn the wicked lest their blood be upon his own head. However, the listener also has the responsibility to hear the Word and obey it (Mk 16:15,16). Surely, a preacher seeks to save a soul from death, but once they have presented the Word, the decision is in his listener’s hands (Jam 5:19,20). This is where the preacher’s responsibility ends and the sinner’s begins.