Preaching Christ 19

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.”

They are so poor in spirit that they cannot even deal with grace but by the help of the Holy Spirit. On His grace and power they are entirely dependent. They cannot even buy without His aid. One is so weak in sickness that he cannot tell the physician what is the matter with him. He can take no food nor drink, nor put such into his mouth. He cannot take them without help on his bed. So dependent are these on the grace of the Holy Ghost. And they know how easily quenched are His influences. How poor, when in one unwatchful moment they can deprive themselves of His gracious aid! “No man can come to Me except the Father who hath sent Me draw him.” Distinguish between those who think they are looking to the grace that is in Christ and yet seek no communication and those who seek this. (John Kennedy, 1819-1894, Expository Lectures)

The essence of preaching Christ is to have the Person of Christ and the work of Christ as the center of each sermon, or at least the sermon should lead to and then focus on Christ and His work. However, the essence of preaching the Person of Christ must include how the Father has manifested Himself in and through Christ. In Jesus the Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, the Divine nature and the human nature was joined. In order to truly preach Jesus Christ then a person must show the glory of God shining out in Christ. In preaching Christ a person should be able to say when Christ is preached that the Father was seen in Christ.

When the Christ in the previous paragraph is preached, sinners will see themselves as vile wretches in the presence of God and they will see themselves as they are, and that is that they are undone. They will see themselves as so sick that they cannot take the medication that the Physician prescribes, but in fact they are dead and cannot help themselves in the slightest. The Great Physician alone can raise them from the dead and He alone can apply life and what is needed for life. Dead sinners cannot feed themselves and Christ must feed them by His grace alone. Even those He has raised to life must have Christ give them every spiritual thing that they need by grace.

Those sinners that God has graciously opened their eyes to behold Him in Christ and to see the true nature of Christ and His work are those who see that they have no claim and no help but in Christ. When God opens the eyes of sinners, whether converted or not, they will see something of their utter dependence upon Christ and His grace. They see that apart from Christ they can do absolutely and utterly nothing spiritual or good. They see that they must have the Spirit work the fruit of the Spirit in them or they will have no true love and no true joy at all. All they will have will be pseudo joy and love.

In preaching Christ and His glory the preacher is enabled to speak of His favorite subject and His greatest love. When preachers speak often of themselves rather than Christ, they are showing that they are the focus and center of their own love. When preachers speak of Christ in a way where the glory of the Father is not seen, but instead Christ is treated as a mere doctrinal or intellectual subject matter, then preachers show that Christ is subject to them and they are more concerned with being orthodox than preaching the truth of Christ.

When preachers do not preach the wonders and glories of Christ, then preachers show that they are not concerned to break the hearts of sinners from self. Preaching the truth of Christ will make people uncomfortable since the natural man hates God. Preaching a Christ that does not reveal the hatred of the natural man for God is a way that preachers can avoid persecution and remain orthodox. Preaching a Christ who is sovereign in salvation will provoke the hatred of the natural man and it provides preachers another excuse for not preaching the glory of God in salvation. Christ should and must be preached in the glory of His Person and work or it is not true preaching.

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