Gospel Preaching 40

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)

When Christ is not the center of sermons, sinners do not feed upon Him and the faith which Christ gives to His beloved is not strengthened. Children of God are under attack by the evil one and they need to hear of the free-grace of God in Christ. When these weak ones feel the weight of their sin, they should hear the glories and riches of Christ who is their righteousness even though they have none of their own. These poor sinners need to hear of God’s free-grace is sending Christ to take away His wrath from them that they may be reconciled. These poor sinners that fill the pews are weak and helpless in themselves if they see themselves as they really are. These poor sinners feel their bondage to sin in some way and they need to know that a Redeemer has purchased them and is sovereign over them even now. These poor sinners who are harassed by the evil one and accused need to hear that they have an advocate with the Father. These poor sinners need to know that they cannot exhaust the foundation of God’s pardon and grace. These poor sinners need to know that Christ comforts the worst of sinners and in Him there is victory and in Him they may glory.

The children of God grow in their sense of their sinfulness and as such they need to hear of Christ and the Gospel of His free-grace on a constant basis. As God gives these children more and more light, more and more of their own dark hearts can be seen. These children of God begin to wonder if they are in reality children of the devil because of their horrible sin, so they need to hear of the fountain of pardon and grace that cannot be emptied or exhausted. Can a child of God actually have sin that is greater than His infinite grace and love? Can a child of God actually empty the infinite supplies of pardon that are found in Christ? Is the fountain of grace that was purchased by the blood of Christ actually be emptied? Of course that is not the case, but sinners who are feeling the fiery darts and the accusations of the evil one need to hear that declared.

Christ is also the Comforter of His children, so this needs to be expounded and feelingly declared from the pulpit. It is a preached Christ and a felt Christ that comforts, not just the intellectual part declared. Sinners must hear more than the doctrine, they must hear preaching that brings sinners to the living Christ and receive comfort from Him. It is not enough for surgeons to tell patients that they need surgery, they must actually do the surgery and then provide the care (through nurses and medication) needed for the patient to get better. Christ comes to His children and comforts them by free-grace and not because they have merited this. Sinners who are being attacked need to hear of Christ and be comforted by Him.

Poor, weak, and distraught sinners who are under attack need to hear of the victorious Christ. Indeed sinners may think that they are losing battle after battle, but the war has already been won by Christ. This is not just positive thinking, but it is reality. Jesus the Christ has crushed the head of the serpent and the war has been won. It is now a matter of looking to Christ and fighting to the end by His strength. We must know that sinners are saved and sanctified by Christ and His free-grace, and Christ never does anything that is not for the glory of His Father. It is not that sinners glorify God by their works as such, but they glorify God as Christ works in them and as Christ upholds them. Sinners are instruments of His glory and not those who add to His glory. Christ must be preached to the children of the devil that they may become children of God. Christ must be preached to the children of God that they may not be deceived into thinking that they are children of the devil. Christ and His free-grace must be preached and that weekly at the very least.

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