Nature of True Preaching 6

I would have you notice, moreover, that theology itself, in certain of its aspects, has shared in the pessimistic reaction. There are those, for example, whose reflections on the contemporary scent have landed them in hopeless dualism. The world, as they see it, is the battleground where dark demonic forces wage war unceasingly with the hosts of heaven. By this conflict God Himself is limited, thwarted in His purposes, constrained to strive and struggle indecisively for the realization of His holy will. It is quite oblivious of the repeated trumpet note of the New Testament—that at the cross once for all Christ raided the dark empire and vanquished the demons, and led captivity captive. (James Stewart, Heralds of God)

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

Men and women (and children too) live in a world where the system is set up and running quite apart from the need (it thinks) for God. People are living and the world is operating where God is not needed, wanted, or mentioned. This is the atmosphere that the people preachers are preaching to breathe in and out every minute of every day. The people are bombarded with news of murder, war, rape, and all sorts of horrible crimes. There are mass shootings and countless numbers of other crimes. We see wickedness of all sorts as nations are fighting other nations and numbers of people are being slaughtered. There are atrocities by terrorists who brutally down and behead the infidels as they call them.

As the people file into the church buildings, they have been attacked by the thoughts of the world and by the darkness of the world. The little god that is preached (if even a little god) is not match for what the people hear day after day. The people hear of a sentimental god and of basic morality, though at times the “preacher” may give some strong statements on morality. But where is the living God of creation, Scripture, and of all reality? Where is the sovereign God who works all things after the council of His own will? Where is the God who is not out of control but punishes sin by hardening hearts and turning people over to more sin? Where is the God who is sovereign over every detail in life? This great and glorious God is not frustrated and is not unhappy in the slightest, but instead He delights to behold the Christ who dwells in His people in what they feel is great weakness.

Indeed the rulers of the earth are wicked and vile men who strive after their goals with ruthless abandonment, but let us remember that the living God reigns. There is not one ruler whose heart He cannot turn as He pleases and the moment He pleases. There is not one ruler who himself or herself is not ruled over absolutely by the living God. All of those evil people who are carrying out their evil deeds cannot lift one finger apart from the living God who holds their every breath in His hands. God is working all of their evil for a greater good that they cannot see or understand, but neither do they want or intend any greater good than the satisfaction of their own evil desires. God is not working the evil in them and is not working to give them evil desires, but He sovereignly works so that they carry out their evil desires in such a way that it always works for His glory.

Preaching involves the heralding of the truth of God in the world today. Preaching heralds forth the glory of God in His pure and perfect sovereignty so that the eyes of the people of God are taken off of the world as if it is all-powerful and those eyes are fixed on the living God and His glory. The world, even though it is appears to be given completely over to evil, is set up in a way where it works to the greatest good of the true sovereign of the universe. Lift up your eyes and behold the glory of God in calling out all the billions and billions of stars by name and upholding them in existence at His mere pleasure. Behold the living God who is upholding each human soul in existence by His mere pleasure and know that nothing can happen which He has not ordained from all eternity. That is the God that the people of God need to hear about and be reminded of week after week. That is the true God who has already won the ultimate victory at the cross. Heralds of God must preach the cross so that the glory and sovereignty of God and His glorious victory over evil will be set out.

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