Preaching Christ 4

They doat about the letter of the law, but are strangers to the spirituality of it; and, as far as the glorious gospel of the blessed God, they cannot preach it. They may talk about the one God, about the Holy Tirinity, and the trinity in unity; about the divinity of Christ, and the unity of two natures in him; about the ancient settlements of eternity, and preach up what they may call the important doctrines of election and predestination, particular redemption, and effectual vocation, regeneration, justification, and sanctification, efficacious grace, and final perseverance, and yet at the same time be as destitute of the gospel of Christ as Satan himself. Men may speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and be nothing (I Cor 13:1-2). Yea more, be destitute both of the law and of the gospel; and be no more than the letter of the law and the word of the gospel. But the law is spiritual, and that is more than letter; and the gospel of the kingdom stands in power, and power is more than word. (William Huntington, 1745-1813)

There is “preaching” that is talking about Christ, but there is preaching that is full of Christ. There is “preaching” that is about a false Christ, but there is true preaching that is full of the true Christ. There is preaching that is nothing more than a lecture or an energetic lecture, but there is true preaching that is from Christ Himself. There is “preaching” that is from the religious self, but there true is preaching that is from the life of Christ who dwells in the soul of man. There is “preaching” that is from the fleshly self, but there is true preaching from the spiritual self. This is to say that just because a man stands up in front of people and delivers and orthodox message about the Bible is not to say that the man has truly preached.

While this is most likely repetition from things before, it is still a vital need in the professing Church. A very learned man can stand in front of a congregation and give a very learned lecture on a particular doctrine, and while that may be true and even fine, it is not the same thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified. A man may stand in front of a congregation of professing believers and may give them a heated and even tearful message, but that is not the same thing as the true preaching of Christ and Him crucified. The preaching of Christ is a spiritual message from a spiritual man, that is, from a man who has the life of Christ in him and is preaching by the power of the Spirit of God.

The power of preaching is not the power of a powerful intellect. The power of preaching is not the power of good speaking skills. The power of preaching is not because one lives a moral life. The power of preaching is not because a person has a great knowledge of the Bible. The power of preaching is a spiritual power and nothing less than that. Each and all of the things listed above (and more), except spiritual power, can occur by the speaking of an unbelieving person. There must be a huge difference between the truly spiritual man preaching by the power of the Spirit and the unbeliever preaching by the power of self and self-love.

It should be easy to see, then, that there should be a major difference in the “preaching” of a man powered by the spirit of self and self-love than the one truly preaching by the power of the Spirit of Christ. The doctrines of grace can be preached by the unbeliever and be preached by the power of a vast knowledge and powerful speaking and personality. However, only the true believer who is taught of the Spirit can preach Christ and Him crucified in the midst of these great doctrines of grace. The unbeliever has no true taste or experience of these doctrines in a spiritual manner, but instead can only be guided by his mind, talent and feelings.

The true believer who is under the power of the Spirit can preach out of love for God, for people, and for the truth of God which is what the people of God need to hear. The unbeliever cannot preach out of love for God, His people, and a true love for the truth. The reason for this is that the unbeliever cannot love God because the unbeliever is not born of God and does not know God (I John 4:7-8). When the Spirit works the fruit of love in the preacher then there is a true love for God and a true love for human souls in the preacher and that as a fruit of the Spirit will have the power of love and the power of the Spirit attending the preaching. A powerful personality apart from Christ and His Spirit cannot preach Christ crucified because that person is only moved out of love for self. A powerful intellect cannot truly preach Christ because Christ cannot be known only by the intellect. The true preaching of Christ can only be done when the preacher has been taught of Christ and His Spirit and then preaches by the life of Christ in him and the power of love by the Spirit.

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