Gospel Preaching 31

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)

If I shall come to glory, what a God shall I enjoy forever and ever! Into what blessed arms and bosom shall I cast my soul! And if I shall go to hell at least, can I bear up under the weight of God’s vengeance? Well, yet there is hope, God’s heart, the door of grace, and the gate of heaven, yet stands open. How would the damned in hell give thousands of worlds (if they had them) for my may be?

Can a person be given to Gospel preaching unless he is like a dying man preaching to dying men? Can a person preach the Gospel as he should apart from being rescued as a stick from the fire? Gospel preaching must have urgency to it rather than always be so calm and deliberate as if people had nothing to fear. Gospel preaching must realize and press upon men the glories of being in the arms of Christ and yet the awful state of falling into the wrathful hands of the living God.

Can the things of eternity be pressed upon sleepy souls with the greatest of calmness and a virtual detachment? This is not to say that bulging veins in the neck and virtual temper tantrums in the pulpit are what is wanted, but surely there is some warmth in the soul and some edge to the preacher who will warn people of the wrath to come. If indeed the damned in hell would give thousands of worlds if they could to have a time to seek the Lord or for just the slightest hope that they might escape the eternal torment and wrath that they are under, then Gospel preachers should set those things out with more than a dry giving of facts and with more than a monotone.

True Gospel preaching realizes that each sinner that is alive is on the precipice of eternity and God can yank the soul out of the body at any moment He chooses. Every sinner (as Edwards writes) is like the person walking around on a rotting canvas which has holes in it and is in danger of dropping in at every moment. The only thing that holds each sinner out of hell each moment is the hand of God and all unconverted sinners are in rebellion against Him and they hate Him. With every sin each sinner is casting sticks on his own fire which he will have to the utmost in eternity. The Scripture refers that to treasuring up wrath for the day of wrath.

The Scriptures are quit clear as to the weight of eternity and how this should instruct Gospel preaching. Every person in the entire world is presently building treasure in heaven or is treasuring up wrath for the day of wrath. With each sin the unbelieving sinner (whether a professing believer or not) is adding more wrath to his or her fire in the world to come. Shouldn’t Gospel preaching take that into account and shouldn’t Gospel preachers warn people about these things with some concern and some sympathy and perhaps some urgency? Do we really believe these things in our day?

If we truly believe these things in our day, then where is the urgency of our Gospel preaching? In the modern day preaching is focused on this world primarily and the eternity is not thought of that much, but the weight of eternity is rarely brought to bear upon the souls of sinners. Is it believed anymore that it is better for a person to be cast into the ocean with a large rock around his neck than it is to be a stumbling block? Do we teach sinners that they should not fear what men can do to them but they are to fear Him who can not only kill the body but cast the soul into hell? Do we press the dire state of sinners any longer?

Gospel preaching is not cold and without feeling while it simply states things that are true, but instead Gospel preaching stressed how utterly vital the cross of Christ is to sinners. Gospel preaching stresses how utterly necessary it is to have Christ as the only perfect righteousness and Christ as the only hope. Gospel preaching stresses the glories of heaven and the awful reality of eternal torments in hell. Gospel preaching drives men from any and all hope in self with feeling and urges them to behold the glory of God in the face of Christ.

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