Gospel Preaching 21

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,

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.

Some pastors and preachers are lazy and no good. They rely on these and other good books to get a sermon out of them. They do not pray; they do not study; they do not read; they do not search the Scripture. It is just as if there were no need to read the Bible for this purpose. They use such books as offer them homiletical helps in order to earn their yearly living; they are nothing but parrots and jackdaws, which learn to repeat without understanding, though our purpose and the purpose of these theologians is to direct preachers to Scripture with such books and exhort them to plan to defend our Christian faith after our death, against the devil, the world, and the flesh. (Martin Luther)

As pointed out in the previous post, one great difference between those who preach sermons of some kind and Gospel preachers is not always the content alone, but the preacher himself. It is vital to have Gospel preachers if there is to be Gospel preaching. Some who practice the art of preaching as opposed to the spirit of preaching are able to give orthodox lectures of truth, yet they cannot penetrate into the spiritual depths because they are not looking beyond an orthodox statement of truth. When a man is not seeking the face of the Lord to give Him a taste of Himself and spiritual understanding of the Scriptures, that man is essentially doing nothing but what a parrot does. They learn to repeat true things but are never taught of the Spirit the depths of the things of God.

The use of good books is important, yet they are not to be used in order to avoid prayer and the study of the Scriptures themselves. Good writers and commentators will point men to the Scriptures and men must be driven to the Scriptures by those they read. It is also the case that preachers are to preach Christ and Him crucified as the heart of their sermons, yet they are to preach Him in such a way that avoids using men’s wisdom instead point to the Spirit and His power. When men preach orthodox sermons and do so without a true seeking of the mind of God and a seeking Him for themselves to be conformed to Christ, their sermons will rest on the wisdom of men.

One man can preach away and give learned lectures about the truth of Christ and yet I would argue that it is not Gospel preaching as long as it is something which can rest in the wisdom of men. What must happen is that the preacher must be transformed according to Christ during the week by the Spirit during prayer and prayerful study. When the Spirit has transformed the man and has spoken to the man, then the man is a preacher and in his preaching he will preach a Christ that he has tasted and he will point to the need of all men to have the Spirit work this understanding in them as well. The power of Gospel preaching is when the Spirit is speaking through His man and the man is pointing back to the real power.

The Gospel appears to have been reduced to some basic facts about history and so preaching has grown dull and insipid, which is to say it is no longer Gospel preaching. The Gospel is the power of God to save and so Gospel preaching must not be dull and certainly not without power. The true Gospel goes forth with power when a Gospel preacher is preaching Christ and Him crucified in the power of the Spirit. There is no Gospel preaching when men give little more than a historical lecture and there is no Gospel preaching when the preacher has not been gripped with the Gospel of Christ alone and His grace in that Gospel.

When the Gospel has been reduced to some basic facts of history as opposed to the risen Christ who is presently on the throne, the power has been lost. Preachers begin to give some information about history and simply ask people to believe those things instead of declaring that the living God applies those things in our day. This is one reason why a Gospel preacher is different and that is because he is gripped with the living God of the Gospel. That man is not speaking of something in a distant past, he is speaking of his communion with the living God.

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