Gospel Preaching 13

Acts 13:29 “When they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb. 30 “But God raised Him from the dead; 31 and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people. 32 “And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, 33 that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.’ 34 “As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID.’ 35 “Therefore He also says in another Psalm, ‘YOU WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.’ 36 “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay; 37 but He whom God raised did not undergo decay. 38 “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.

Preaching is a subject with as many opinions about what constitutes good preaching as there are preachers. Of course that is hyperbole, but there are many views. However, there are some teachings in the text above that we should take note of and then take to heart. While the subject is preaching, it would also include those who evangelize and those who try to live before others and shine the light of Christ on them.

The first thing to note is that preaching is a witness. Paul is the one who is speaking what Luke wrote down above and he says (31) that those who Christ appeared to were the very people who were witnesses now. Of course there is no one alive in our day that saw the risen Lord in that time, but people can be witnesses of what the risen Christ does now. Preaching is not a mere lecture where the preacher is the dispenser of a series of facts, but instead preaching is a heart that has the risen Christ in it and the preacher speaks from that heart and in some manner is a witness. Every Sabbath day is to be a celebration of the resurrection of Christ and every true Gospel sermon is a witness to the historical Christ and the present Christ who is at the right hand of the Father. It is a dry lecture that pretends to be a sermon that does nothing but deal with facts of history.

Paul said that he preached the good news of the promise made to the fathers. The resurrection is not just a bare fact of history, though indeed it is a fact of history, but the resurrection is a fulfillment of the promise of God. Paul said that it was good news that this promise was fulfilled. So Gospel preachers should learn to look at the events of the New Testament as they relate to God and His promises. Paul said that this promise was to our children as well. In other words, the good news of the resurrection was one that would go on beyond those who were standing there. The resurrection was to be preached because the power of the resurrection was found in the promise of God and this resurrection guarantees the salvation of the people of God. Gospel preaching is not just being a witness, but it is being a witness of the faithfulness of God and admiring how He keeps His word. Gospel preaching also points to the continuing results of God’s promise and how that promise will always be true in Christ. The Gospel does not need to be made relevant, but it simply needs to be declared in a biblical way.

The Gospel of grace alone is by grace alone for several reasons, but one reason that the Gospel is of grace alone is because of the resurrection of Christ who was resurrected on the basis of promise. God never promised Christ as a result of a man’s goodness or holiness. God never promised Christ as a result of a man’s faith or foreseen faith. No man can have faith unless the power that raised Christ from the dead raises that man and gives him faith. The Son was promised in the Garden as a curse on Satan and the last thing that man had accomplished at that point was the fall into sin. God promised a Savior who would crush the head of the serpent. One way Christ crushed the head of the serpent was to die on the cross and then to be raised again never to die.

These plain truths from the text show us about Gospel preaching. The Gospel must not be preached as historical fact alone, but instead it must be preached as if Christ is still alive and is on His throne. The Gospel must be preached as if He is the reality behind all things. Christ must be preached as Lord and King of the universe and the only Savior. Christ must be preached as the fulfillment of promise and the promise that extends from the past all the way through eternity. It is no wonder that people find the resurrection boring (so to speak) when preachers preaching about it in such a boring way. God raised Christ from the dead and preachers should be raised from the dead so that they will preach this with life.

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