Preaching Christ 7

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 Trinity, 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)

John 15:4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

If it is true that apart from Christ, that is, that apart from abiding in Him and Him abiding in the person and so all true spiritual fruit must come from Him, then it is clear that true spiritual preaching is impossible apart from Christ. Now it is true that virtually all people with any semblance of belief in the Bible and of Christ would agree with the previous statement, but that does not mean that they understand what it means. It means that all “preaching” that is not the fruit of abiding in Christ and of Christ abiding in the preacher is not spiritual preaching and has no spiritual fruit. What comes from the preacher is from the preacher rather than coming from Christ.

We know from the Scriptures that no one can come to the Father apart from Christ, yet no one can come to Christ unless the Father is drawing that person. We also know that all those who have truly seen Christ have seen the Father. We can see the clear teaching of this truth from the passages below and many others. Part of this clear teaching below gives us some idea of what Jesus is teaching regarding the Father being the vinedresser and Himself as the true vine.

John 14:8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father ‘

John 6:44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 “It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.

We must be drawn by the Father to the Son and yet when we truly behold the Son we behold the Father. This is at least part of what it means to preach Christ. In preaching Christ we are to preach Him in such a way where the Father is pointed to as being one with the Son and it is the glory of the Father that is being seen in the shining forth of Christ who was sent by the Father. We are to preach Christ with the view that the Father may draw sinners to Himself through the preaching of Christ. But it must be stressed over and over and in different ways that the mention of Christ and even talking about Christ is not the same thing as preaching Christ. It is not enough to mention the cross, but the cross must be preached. It is not enough to mention the Gospel here and there, the Gospel must be preached.

Once again the point should be clear that it takes Christ to preach Christ. It takes Christ as the vine working in His branches to bear spiritual fruit and there is no other place to obtain spiritual fruit. For there to be true preaching, then, the preacher must have Christ and must know Christ. True preaching does not just require the preacher to intellectually know doctrine, to know stories, and also to be moral; but the preacher must abide in Christ and Christ must abide in him in order for the preacher to preach Christ and bear spiritual fruit. That which is said to be “preaching” and yet is not from the heart of a man who is abiding in Christ and what the man says is not the spiritual fruit that comes from Christ is not true preaching.

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