Musings 65

The facts are that man has a great need if he is to be saved and that man is utterly helpless in saving himself. The facts are that the Church is to be proclaiming the helplessness of man and the absolute sufficiency of God in saving sinful men. The Church is not to go about its task with a casual indifference, but it is to have some degree of urgency about it. Men and women should be encouraged to flee from sin as they would flee from fire and they should be encouraged to seek the Lord Himself. Men and women should hear these things from the pulpit and they should hear those things with some degree of intensity, or at least a modicum of concern. Dry and orthodox lectures do not seem to be used of God to awaken men to their danger. Who would stand outside of a neighbor’s house as it burned and with no feeling, no show of concern, and in a monotone simply recite from a book the danger the neighbors are in if they do not awaken and get out of the house?

The prophets of old wept over the people. The prophets of old would get angry and do all sorts of things to get people awakened to at least hear the words they were speaking. It is true, however, that the prophets of old were thrown into holes into the ground, they were burned, they were sawed in half, and they were mocked and abused. All of those things were done to them because they spoke as dying men to dying men and so they spoke with fire and conviction. They spoke things that men did not want to hear and yet it was what they needed to hear. The fine and effeminate preaching of today would awaken no one and communicates nothing but what can be read in a creed or a commentary. As the scribes and Pharisees of old would quote the rabbis and learned men of their day, so preachers today seem to find their information and base their authority on scholars of our day. Jesus, on the other hand, spoke as one with authority as He spoke the truth of Scripture. We must have men who will speak the truth of Scriptures while resting on the authority of God and so speak with real conviction.

1 Corinthians 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,

2 Corinthians 4:5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.

Galatians 1:15 But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased 16 to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood,17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus.

It is Christ who must be preached. It is the cross of Christ that must be preached. It is Christ Jesus as Lord who must be preached. It is not just what the creed says about Christ that must be preached, but it is Christ Himself who must be preached. It is not just what commentaries say about Christ that must be preached, it is Christ Himself who must be preached. It is not just what an exposition says in its own context about Christ that must be preached, but it is Christ Himself who must be preached. Yes, we are told to preach the word. But the Scriptures point to Christ Himself. So many seem to preach as if Christ was executed on the cross and He is still there in history in some way. But Christ was resurrected and He is NOW alive and NOW reigns in glory. People need to hear of a crucified Christ, but of course, and they need to hear of the resurrection of Christ that happened in history. But they also need to hear of the present, living, and sovereign Lord Jesus Christ.

It is not possible to preach Christ crucified in truth as if His cross was only part of history and has nothing to do with the present. But that is what dusty orthodox sermons can do just as much as the liberals do. We must preach the cross in such a way where people need the blood of Christ and the living Christ to apply that blood now. We must preach Christ in such a way as for them to understand He really was resurrected and He really lives now to intercede for His people now. It is because Christ really and truly lives that He can really and truly intercede for His people now. It is because Christ really and truly lives that we have a throne of grace to go to now and for eternity. Somehow ministers must be awakened to the real and present reality of Christ so that they can preach the real and present reality of Christ. Somehow they must do so or Christ will be ignored in reality in the churches and in society. The only way this will happen is for ministers to be broken before God and become instruments of His glory by His grace. Then and only then will ministers begin to preach the living Christ instead of giving lectures on doctrine that are based on the quotes of scholars rather than on Christ Himself. Until then, we languish.

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