Gospel Preaching 24

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 is the devil, it is the world, it is our flesh that are raging and raving against us. Therefore, dear sirs and brethren, pastors and preachers, pray, read, study, be diligent. Truly, this evil, shameful time is not the season for being lazy, for sleeping and snoring. Use the gift that has been entrusted to you, and reveal the mystery of Christ. (Martin Luther)

Here is another serious and vital point of Gospel preaching. It is the realization that we are in a spiritual battle and that the Gospel will always be fought against and be in a spiritual battle. It is the realizations that sinners are truly going to hell and that the glory of God is under attack. Gospel preaching is not some easy method where the mind and heart never have to work and fight the flesh, but instead it is precisely at this point where the battle rages. Those who are going to preach the Gospel in earnest must be those who are in an earnest battle against their own flesh, the world, and the devil. It is only when the preacher is at war with those things that he will understand the battle well enough to be one who is a Gospel preacher in the midst of the war. It is far easier to come up with a lecture that is theologically correct and perhaps even interesting to the hearers than it is to fight with the flesh, the world, and the devil in order to preach in a way where those things are fought.

The Lord Jesus was at war with the devil in His time on earth and He is still at war in and through His people. Prayer is a means of grace, yes, but it is also a means of war. The Gospel is a means of grace, but it is also a means of war. If we pray in accordance with the Lord’s Prayer we will pray for His kingdom to come, but for His kingdom to advance and to gain is for it to advance against the power and dominion of darkness. The Gospel is the means God uses to bring sinners out from under the dominion of Satan and to bring them into the kingdom of His beloved Son (Col 1:13). The preaching of the true Gospel is an attack on the evil one and the preacher that truly attacks the evil one must be one who is somewhat used to the battle.

The evil one does not care if people preach in a general way and even if they casually preach the truth, for that means that the ones doing the preaching (so-called) are not at war and are not preaching as if they are in a way or battle. II Corinthians 4:4-12 shows us something of this war and it would behoove all who stand up and say they are Gospel preachers to study those verses.

4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you.

In v. 4 it is the evil one who is blinding the minds of the unbelieving, but not so that they cannot see the truth, but that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. It is God (v. 6) who must shine this light in the heart. Behold the battle on at least two fronts. The battle for Gospel preaching is not just over truth, but it is over people beholding the glory of Christ. The battle for Gospel preaching is over who can overpower the evil one and bring this light into their souls. But also notice the battle that is going on with the preacher. He was afflicted, perplexed, persecuted and so on. Why is that? It was so that the power of this Gospel could be seen as the power of God and not the preacher. It was so that the life of Christ could be manifested in the dying of the preachers. The Gospel of glory must be preached, but it must be preached in the midst of a battle. Only then will it be in earnest.

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