Gospel Preaching 32

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.

Gospel preaching has earnestness to it that dry doctrinal and/or moral lectures cannot have. Gospel preaching has seriousness about it that all the humor and anecdotes cannot have. Gospel preaching has a sense of eternity around it that light and frothy teaching cannot have. Gospel preaching is serious about the things of eternity and wants to press eternal things home to the conscience and to the depths of the soul. Paul was with the people “in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.” He was not there with the newest and most relevant joke or story. He was not there to give story after story and then bring it to a close with a shallow mention of Christ. Paul was serious and weighty in his message rather than being hollow and light.

The reality of eternity does not come into our consciences but rarely, yet it is the most important and vital thing in our future. We would consider it important if a person was to prepare for time away that lasted for five years. We would understand that person extensively planning and preparing for the time away. We would understand that the person needed to prepare for such a long absence and that s/he may not have time for frivolity. Yet each and every person on this planet will be in an eternal dwelling before long. Each and every person will face eternal judgment before very long. Shouldn’t it be the case that we should face that reality with more earnestness than we do?

Imagine a person that knew s/he would be in hell in one week (or less) and did nothing but spend time joking with friends, going to movies, and drinking a lot. While we may find that a bit strange of a person who will be in hell in a week or less, we seem to think that it is quite acceptable in those who have no guarantee that they will not be in hell the next minute. We want to be nice and smiling and entertaining to those around us, but perhaps we should have other things in mind both for ourselves and for others.

Gospel preaching should and must take eternity seriously and as such should take preaching and life seriously. When a person who has recently received news that s/he has a terminal illness attends a church service, that person does not want to hear and does not need to hear some abstract philosophy or some moralizing. That person does not want to hear a person in the pulpit telling jokes surrounded with many stories. That person should hear a Gospel preacher who is earnest in light of eternity and wants the listeners to be engaged with the living God around the Gospel of the glory of Christ.

When a person is faced with death, what type of preacher will that person need? While the person may be more comfortable around a positive person and one who is nice and speaking nice things, hell is full of people who were more comfortable around positive people and those who were nice. What kind of preacher should a person want to listen to when a person is on the way to hell? What kind of preacher should a person want to listen to when a person is headed before the judgment seat of Christ? What kind of preacher should a person want to listen to when that person is going into the arms of Christ? It should be self-evident that each person should want to listen to a man who is earnest about eternity and is earnest about the Gospel of the glory of God.

While humanistic thinking tells us that people who are dying want to be comforted by people who are positive and encouraging and have sweet morsels (of words) to help people, in fact all of those things can be nothing but assisting people to feel good as they go off into hell. Gospel preaching will not happen when preachers are preaching the doctrines of the Gospel, even if they are accurate teachings. Gospel preaching will only happen when men are gripped with the weight of eternity concerning themselves, others, and the glory of God. The weight of eternity must be upon our souls if we are going to be Gospel preachers. The weight of eternity must be upon our souls if we are going to speak to men and women about the true nature of eternity. The weight of the eternal God and His judgment must be upon us if we are going to preach the eternal Gospel of the eternal God in any measure as it should be preached. We cannot work this weight up and it cannot be just another correct theory, but instead it must be taught to us and put upon our hearts by Christ Himself.

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