Gospel Preaching 14

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.

The preaching of the Christ and the Gospel and general preaching seem to be thought of as different things. Preaching the Gospel is thought to be preaching something particular about Christ and His work while preaching in general is thought to be preaching things in order for people to grow and mature. For example, preaching can be thought of as preaching Reformed truths that build people up. However, if all spiritual blessings are in Christ and there is no growth but growing in Christ, there is no preaching that should not be the preaching of Christ. I would argue that Gospel preaching is what all preaching should be. Believers need to hear the Gospel and how all things relate to the Gospel and the Gospel of Christ. It is Christ Himself who is good news to poor sinners whether they are believers or unbelievers. We see an aspect of this in John 1:10 where “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to be children of God.” One receives Christ Himself and He is the good news of the sinner.

The good news that Paul preached in Acts 13 was from the Old Testament, yes, but it was preaching Christ Himself. The resurrection is a doctrine, yes, but it is far more than a mere doctrine. The resurrection is about Jesus Christ Himself who was resurrected and it is about Jesus Christ Himself who is alive and is on the throne of the universe and is also at the right hand of the Father interceding for His people. We see that it is Christ who was raised and it is Christ who is the good news in verses 38-39 when Paul starts with the word “therefore.” It is not just that God made some promises to some people in the Old Testament, but it is Christ who is THE Promised One and it is Christ Himself who carries out the promises of God. It is in light of the resurrection of Christ that Christ is the living Savior and there is a Gospel of a living Savior and a living hope. Believing that Christ died for men does no good if Christ was not raised from the dead as well. If He had not been raised from the dead, we would have a dead Savior and not a living Savior of all hope.

Paul, however, did write a “therefore” and we do have a living Savior and it is a living Savior that must be preached if there is to be Gospel preaching. It is because Jesus Christ did not undergo decay and was raised by God that the Gospel can be proclaimed and that forgiveness of sins can be proclaimed to vile and wretched sinners. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not contained in history because Jesus Christ could not be contained in a tomb. There is forgiveness with Christ because He satisfied the wrath of the Father and that was declared when He who died for sinners was raised from the dead. He who had the sins of all who would ever come to faith put upon Him had to be raised if the wrath of the Father and the perfect justice of God was indeed satisfied. Here is meat and hope for the most mature of believers and here is the simple Gospel to sinners. Christ died in the place of sinners to the glory of God and His death fully satisfied the wrath of the Father and so the Father raised Him from the dead. Oh sinners, here is hope for you. Christ has been resurrected from the dead and all your sins have been taken away.

It is in the crucified and risen Savior that we can proclaim forgiveness of sins, but also it is through Christ that those who are in Him are freed from things which they could not be freed from while under the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses did not have hope for those who sinned with intent, but in Christ there is hope that God can work a true repentance in that heart. The Law of Moses had a repeated sacrifice, but in Christ He is the once and for all sacrifice. One the animal died, it had nothing more it could do. But once Christ died, He was resurrected and would never die again. He is the hope for sinners for all eternity. There is a living Christ to be preached and as such there is a living Gospel to be preached. Gospel preachers must not limit themselves to historical facts; they need to preach a living Christ who presently saves sinners. Gospel preachers must not just preach correct doctrine; they must preach the doctrines as truths of the living Christ. One can preach justification in a doctrinal and dry way, but Gospel preaching is about a living Savior who really and truly saves sinners as He pleases. A lecture gives dry information about facts, Gospel preaching is a living Savior speaking through men with life who preach a living Savior as if they know Him.

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