"We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:.." Numbers 11:5.
The account of the children of Israel's experience in the wilderness is a picture of Christian immaturity. God's original purpose for Israel, upon leaving Egypt, was a short journey through the wilderness and then straight into the promised land of Canaan to overthrow the giants and possess the land.
Time after time in the wilderness all the children of Israel did was moan and think about their bellies. We frequently find them wishing they were back in Egypt as the quote above exemplifies. This is where many Christians are today. If they got the slightest whiff of spiritual warfare, as represented by the giants in Canaan, they would run a mile. (I cannot, with hand on heart, assure anyone that I, myself, would not be among them.)
I have observed from our own Hellier Street web-site and from many other preachers' YouTube videos, that most Christians seem to want onions and garlic. That is, something spicey. I am reminded of the apostle Paul's words to Timothy,
"...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;.." " Tim.4:3.
If I preach anything bordering on the sensational, or perhaps political, or especially about Satan, these often turn out to be my most popular messages. ('Going viral' at Hellier Street is about fifty views. Ho-hum!)
With these things in mind, I felt it might be helpful to warn about some of the preaching available on the Internet.
The apostle Paul said to the church at Corinth,
"For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified."
This ought to be the primary subject which colours the ministry of every preacher. For an example of this kind of preaching visit jesuslovesme.org and listen to the wonderful ministry of H.L.Roush Sr. Herbert rarely preached without clear gospel exhortation, often with tears, and yet expounded many books of the New Testament. This is what preaching should be like and it seems to be increasingly rare.
On the other side of the coin I will mention some of the less helpful and downright dangerous preaching that gets thousands of subscribers on YouTube.
I will not waste my time here with the downright obvious wack-jobs, like some preachers in Africa who have their audience eating grass, for example. Or the US charlatans who tell about the Lord Jesus wanting them all to get rich. Regular listeners to Hellier Street messages are less likely to fall for that particular brand of Satanic deception.
First, the downright dangerous but not so obvious. Beware of any preacher who rejoices at the prospect of any unbeliever suffering in Hell. This is what some muslims do. I would not be inclined to listen to any such man twice, even if he has tens of thousands of subscribers and seems to preach the gospel. An important passage of scripture exposing any such preacher is Matthew 18:23-35. Please read it!
How can any man who knows the depravity of his own heart rejoice at another man being lost? Such a man may have the mechanics of the gospel only and yet be a stranger to grace.
As for those who are just less helpful, I am mindful of a man who I am sure loves the Lord and can preach very powerfully when he will but much of his YouTube material is mostly politics, conspiracy theory (that is, correct conspiracy theory), devil activity and all things weird and wonderful. This brother again has tens of thousands of followers on YouTube. He will begin with a passage from the Bible and then hardly go near it again for the next 45 minutes. In fairness to him, it may be the onion and garlic lovers, who upload his videos to their own sites, rather than his own church web-site. But the warning at least holds for those other YouTubers who upload his material.
Again, listening to H. L. Roush will show the contrast. Herbert once said, and many of his quotes regularly ring in my ears, "The devil is not in the froggy-bottom saloon, the devil is in the religion business."
As for the massive numbers of followers on Youtube, John Trapp once wrote, "Truth is never measured by the poll!"