Gospel Preaching 18

Romans 1:9 For God whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you,

Romans 16:25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past,

I Corinthians 2:2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

It would seem quite obvious that if the Word is the eternal and only begotten Son of God who took human flesh in order to make the Father known, that should determine the primary aim and goal of preaching. It would seem just as obvious (if not more so) that if the human flesh that the Word took was the very tabernacle of the glory of God that should point us in the direction of the primary aim and goal of true preaching. Preaching appears to have become a profession with many aims and goals that do not fit with the primary aim and goal of preaching. There are many things that a modern “church” must do and get done if it is going to have the proper buildings and the proper programs to build on its “success.” Where are those who will preach Christ and Him crucified as the central core of their sermons? Where are those who will preach Christ in demonstration of the Spirit so that the faith of men would not rest on them and their preaching but on God?

The modern day seems to have many good speakers and educated men giving educated lectures. We can hear branches of theology stressed here and there, though it seems as if the end times is far more interesting to people than Christ and His Gospel. The seminaries seem to be churning out people who are instructed in how to make “sermons” interesting and to hold the interest of people, but it seems as if people are not interested in Christ. “Sermons” are given that have been made to be “relevant” to the modern day, but that is only if one thinks Christ and His Gospel are not the most relevant for any day. We have so many books and so many techniques on and about preaching, even books on Christ-centered preaching, but the focus of those things seem to be how men are to focus the content of the preaching. One can have a focus of a “sermon” that is supposedly centered upon Christ when indeed the focus is on the preacher and his preaching rather than Christ Himself. In other words, the main desire of the sermon may be regarding the sermon about Christ rather than Christ Himself. It can be that the sermon on Christ may be about how the preacher crafts the sermon to be about Christ rather than Christ. It can also be how a preacher preaches Christ so he can be known as a preacher about Christ rather than just preaching Christ.

The great weakness of preaching in our day has to do with preachers and preaching being the focus rather than Christ Himself. This happens when churches and preachers have things that they want to accomplish rather than seeking Christ to see what He wants to accomplish. This happens when preachers are more concerned about how they are seen by the people or other preachers than how they stand before God. This happens when preachers are not broken from pride and self and so they preach self regardless of what they are saying. A true sermon cannot truly be Christ-centered unless the heart of the preacher is captured by Christ. A true sermon cannot be one that exalts Christ as long as the heart of the preacher did not exalt in Christ during the preparation and is not exalting Christ during the preaching. But again, the heart of the preacher must be prepared by the Spirit rather than by the preacher himself. Christ is not truly preached unless the heart of the preacher is full of Christ and is speaking from the life of Christ that fills him and the abundance of life flows over his lips.

In a sense true Gospel preaching cannot be done by anyone but Christ Himself who speaks through a man that He has broken and prepared for preaching in general and even particular sermons. Paul asked for the Colossians (4:3) to pray for him so that he could speak forth the mystery of Christ and make it clear. It was not just information that he learned in the past, but it was something he had to obtain from Christ by His Spirit each time he preached. In Ephesians 6:19 he asked for prayers that utterance would be given to him: “and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.” Preachers have to learn that if Paul was so needy for each sermon and for words of each sermon, that they are that needy too. We must depend on Christ for our justification, our sanctification, and for each word of sermons. Preachers can preach and it will be nothing but foolish preaching, but when they become vessels for Christ to preach through, real preaching occurs.

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