Gospel Preaching 39

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)

“Preach Christ, let your end be to glorify him, to render him amiable and precious in the eyes of his people; to lead them to him as a sanctuary to protect, a propitiation to reconcile, a treasure to enrich, a physician to heal, an advocate to present, as righteousness to justify, as sanctification to renew, as redemption to save, as an inexhausted fountain of pardon, grace, comfort, victory, and glory.” (Edward Reynolds)

Clearly, from Paul, Luther, and Reynolds the Gospel is for believers and is not just some canned message that a person gives another to see if they will make a decision in order to be saved. Preaching Christ (Person and works) is the standard of what preaching is and apart from preaching Christ true preaching descends rapidly from there. What can one preach (truly) if not preaching Christ? Can there be holiness apart from the life of Christ in the believer? Can there be love apart from the life of Christ in the believer? What is the true Church apart from Christ? What is the Gospel apart from the glory of God shining forth in and through Christ and His works? The goal of preaching is of course the glory of God in Christ, which teaches us that apart from Christ the elements of preaching fall far short depending on how much or how little Christ there is in the preaching.

All things have been created through Christ and He is the reason that they have been created. How can there be biblical preaching, then, apart from the foundation of where things came from and the reason that they have a being and the goal of that being? When one thinks of how the fall of man into sin can only be seen by how man was created and the purpose man was created, we see the purpose of preaching creation and the fall. That is the dark background on which the glorious light of Christ in redeeming sinners is set forth. The Lord Jesus Christ alone redeems sinners and pays the price for them. Man should constantly look to his Redeemer who purchased him with His blood and draw upon the constant and consistent grace man needs for true obedience. Since men need to constantly look to their Redeemer and the free-grace that is in Him, they should hear preaching on Christ and His redemption on a regular and consistent basis.

It is an absolute truth that all men sin and that at all times. While this sounds quite negative, there is nothing a man does in this life that is perfect and without sin. Men are sinners by nature and as such all that they do is tainted by them to some degree. Scripture tells us that even our works of righteousness are as filthy rags. In other words, those with spiritual sight know that they fall short in all that they do and as such they must constantly look to the inexhaustible fountain of pardon that comes to the children of God by free-grace. There is no Gospel of free-grace apart from Christ. There is no Gospel but that of free-grace. Sinners, however, fall into all forms of legalism and conditionalism on a regular basis. It is so easy to fall into trusting something about self or about what we do. Preachers must preach Christ and His free-grace to the people or they will fall into their forms of legalism and conditionalism and remain there to some degree. The Gospel demands that faithful ministers preach free-grace to sinners often and to do that they must preach Christ often.

There is no end to the free and gracious pardon of God in Christ Jesus for His children. There is no benefit to hammer the children of God with the law over and over without setting this grace before them. True believers come to Christ by free-grace as well. True believers have no fountain of forgiveness apart from free-grace. There is no preaching which comforts and builds up the children of God other than preaching Christ and His free-grace. It is true enough that sin must be preached on and the refuges of men must have light shown on them and they must be driven into the open, but that is not to be done in order to beat the sheep. Men must be driven out of their refuges and hidden places that the glory of Hs free-grace may shine upon and in them. Apart from preaching the fullness of Christ, the children of God will wander in desolate places and not be fed. The sheep must be fed and it is Christ Himself who is the food of His people.

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