Gospel Preaching 26

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.

A Christian, whether he is preacher or hearer, must be sure that he is speaking and hearing, not his own word, but God’s Word; otherwise it would be better if he had never been born, and preacher and hearer together must go to the devil. (Martin Luther)

These are very sober words of Luther, though if they are not true then they can be dismissed. But how can these words of Luther be anything but true? Preachers are commanded to preach the Scriptures, preach Christ, and preach the Gospel and nothing else. But of course those three things are all one in reality. If one is to preach the Scriptures with the same intent as the intent of the Scriptures, then one will preach Christ and the Gospel. If one is to preach Christ, then one must find Him through the truth as set out in the Scriptures. If one is to preach the Gospel, then one must preach Christ and the Christ of the Scriptures.

Gospel preaching is not a man who is standing up and speaking of frivolities and inane things, but Gospel preaching happens when a man has been gripped by the fact that what he is preaching is the very Word of God and that he is speaking forth the very words that God has spoken. Gospel preaching is not one man speaking to another, but instead and in a very real sense it is a man that is speaking forth the words of God to men.

The Christ that is declared in Gospel preaching is not just one that a man has come up with in his own brain, but He is the Christ that God has revealed through Holy Scripture but has also opened the mind of the man and has shone His light of glory into. Those who have been given ears to hear are hearing the words of God though they are spoken through a frail and sinful man, but they are also hearing with ears that have been given to them to hear the words of God spoken.

The Gospel that is declared by a man set apart by God is not one that he has discovered because of his own study and brilliant (or not) intellect, but it has been shone into His heart by God Himself. The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Gospel of the glory of God and the Gospel of grace alone is not just a few words about a few historical facts, but the Gospel is the whole Christ put on display in His work that He has accomplished out of love for the Father, to the glory of God, and in the place of sinners. The Gospel cannot be watered down and made to be man-centered because it is no longer the Gospel at that point. The Gospel preacher must have the Gospel taught to him by the Spirit and it must be the burden of his heart. The Gospel preacher does not preach just because he is paid to do so and not because he is expected to do so, but the Gospel preacher has an inward drive and desire to make known the wonders and glories of God in the Gospel and by the Gospel.

The Gospel preacher has a burden concerning men and wanting them to look to Christ rather than his own preaching and his own wisdom. As long as men look to the preacher for wisdom or trust, then will not be looking to the power of God alone. But instead the Gospel preacher has a message from God and that message must be accompanied with a desire for men to look to Christ and not the preacher or his preaching. It is deadly to the souls of men and women to look to the preacher and his wisdom and powerful speaking or anything else. Men and women must look away from the preacher and pray to behold Christ. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation and it is not in the power of the preacher to do anything but speak as God gives the words and heart.

Paul had weakness and fear and was trembling in and of himself, yet the Gospel he preached was a demonstration of the Spirit and of power. It was not a demonstration of his own power because he had none. Instead, we see Luther’s words agreeing with those of Paul. The preacher must preach the words of God. The best of Gospel preachers will see themselves as the worst of sinners and see what a privilege it is to preach the Gospel. The best of Gospel preachers will know that they can say nothing good or spiritual unless it comes from God first. The best of Gospel preachers will have no hope in themselves and not trust in themselves but clinging to the cross themselves they will preach Christ and Him crucified. The best Gospel preacher is the most broken and the most humbled.

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