Gospel Preaching 35

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.

He should also open his mouth vigorously and confidently, to preach the truth that has been entrusted to him. He should not be silent or mumble but should testify without being frightened or bashful. He should speak out candidly without regarding or sparing anyone, let it strike whomever and whatever it will. It is a great hindrance to a preacher if he looks around and worries about what people like or do not like to hear, or what might make him unpopular or bring harm or danger upon him. (Martin Luther)

The Lord Jesus Christ is the very shining forth of the glory of God and He is the express image of His person. For a person to have truly seen Christ was for them to have seen the Father. The Lord Jesus came to reveal the Father and in and through Him there is no real sight of the Father. There is no Gospel other than that of the glory of God that shines in the face of Christ. It is Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life and is the only way to the Father. It is in Christ and Christ alone that we are given all spiritual blessings. It is only in the name of Christ that we can offer a prayer. How, then, can we speak of one being a Gospel preacher if one is not preaching Christ?

While Christ was on earth He was hated because He spoke and lived the truth of God and about God. When men are at enmity with the true God, they will hate hearing about Him. They will love to hear false things about Him, but since they are at enmity with Him they will hate the truth that shines forth in Christ. But instead of bowing to the venom of men toward the true God, the Gospel preacher will preach the truth of God in and by Christ. The true Gospel preacher is called of God and is supposed to preach the truth of God and that truth can only be preached when the true Christ is preached. Preachers must not be worried, at least to the point of it changing the message, of what people say or if it might bring him less honor (or no honor or even dishonor). They must preach the true Christ in such a way that the glory of the true God shines forth.

Part of the great enmity which men have toward the Gospel of Christ alone is that it leaves them helpless and unable to do anything to earn merit with God. One cannot preach grace alone without preaching that men have no merit before God and that they even have ill-merit before Him. Grace will only be given to the humbled and until men are humbled (in a legal way at first) they are not ready or able to even understand true grace. Proud man hates God, hates Christ, hates the Holy Spirit and hates grace because man loves himself and values his own sufficiency out of self-love. The Gospel is a humbling message and requires men to be stripped of all their hope in self and the efforts of self so that they can go through the narrow gate. The only way to go through that narrow gate is to be stripped of all and not trust in self.

When a true Gospel preacher preaches the glories of God in the face of Christ, unregenerate men will hate that. Unregenerate men can be very religious, but they will always be stirred at the hearing of the true Gospel and of the true God. It is in light of the true God that man sees the true man and he does not like a view of the true man and so sets out to destroy and ridicule the idea of the true God. It is in the true preaching of Christ that men see their inability and their total insufficiency to do one good thing and so this drives them to behold the glory of God and His grace in the face of Christ. But preaching of this type is not for unbroken and unhumbled men who would rather please men by building them up in the strength of self rather than seek to destroy self that men would look to Christ alone. Gospel preaching is to preach Christ which is not to preach humanism. Gospel preaching is to preach Christ which is to show men their sinful hearts and their total inability in spiritual things. But this requires broken men who preach only out of the fear and love of God. Gospel preaching is ultra-rare because there seems to be few men who fear God and not men and seek His glory rather than the glory of men.

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