Preaching Christ 16

Isaiah 6:1 In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” 4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. 5 Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7 He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.” 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 9 He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’ 10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.” 11 Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And He answered, “Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, Houses are without people And the land is utterly desolate,

When Christ is faithfully and truly preached, that is, the true Christ who is the shining forth of the glory of God, the true God is beheld in His glory and holiness. When Christ is faithfully and truly preached, then men see themselves in contrast to His glory and holiness and they see themselves as falling short of His glory and they see just how unholy and ungodly they are. It is in His light that the darkness of men’s hearts is illuminated.

While it may sound odd to some, preaching Christ in this way is the best way for men to be convicted of sin. It is, after all, the work of the Spirit to exalt Christ and yet to convict men of sin. The preaching of the Law is indeed a tutor to lead to Christ, but the holiness of the Law is best seen in Christ. It was Christ who kept the Law perfectly and it was Christ who elevated the Law (in contrast to the Pharisees) in the teaching. Several times in the New Testament we read that men fell on their faces before Him. In His presence, when He is pleased to open eyes, the knowledge of the Law incarnate, perfect holiness, and the glory of the presence of God was seen and men could not stand. When His glory shone forth, even a disciple would say to Him, “Go away from me Lord, I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8). In His presence many armed soldiers fell down in His presence.

John 18:3 Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. 6 So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

When preachers set themselves to seeking Christ from their own hearts and then preaching that Christ, at times the presence of Christ will be there and men will be struck down in their own hearts. This is one way (perhaps the best) to set before men that they may be struck down before God and be broken before Him. Men need to be deeply humbled before God and that is done by preaching the truth of Christ and His glory. When the Law is preached as a tutor, it should be preached as before the majestic God. When the Law was originally given it was given with thunder at Mount Sinai. Now the Law should be preached by showing men that they are in the presence of the Lawgiver.

Isaiah saw that he was undone and he had nothing to save himself with and he had no plea. Such is the case of men when God opens their eyes and shows them that their sinful lives have been lived in the presence of the all-knowing eyes of God. When Christ is truly preached in His glory and holiness, there will be something that happens whether men admit it or not. God has made it clear to men who He is and His basic nature (Romans 1:18 ff), so when Christ is truly preached the Father is made known and men know that they are in the presence of a holy God. When something of the Law is spoken, men know that they are guilty in the presence of the Lawgiver. They can hear many things and go on with life, but they need to hear the true Christ declared.

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