Archive for the ‘Gospel Preaching’ Category

Gospel Preaching 45

November 25, 2016

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.

“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)

There is spiritual wisdom in understanding the mysteries of the gospel, that we may be able to declare the whole counsel of God, and the riches and treasures of the grace of Christ, unto the souls of men. See Acts 20:27; I Cor 2:1-4; Eph 3:7-9. Many in the church of God were, in those days of light, growing and thriving; they had a great insight into spiritual things, and into the mysteries of the gospel. The apostle prays that they might all have it, Eph 1:17-18, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” Really it is no easy thing for ministers to instruct in such kind of duties. If there be not some degree of eminency in themselves, how shall we lead on such persons as these to perfection? We must labor ourselves to have a thorough knowledge of these mysteries, or we shall be useless to a great part of the church. There is spiritual wisdom and understanding in the mysteries of the gospel required hereunto. (John Owen, Sermons to the Church)

The apostle Paul prayed for the believers in Ephesus that the Father of glory would give them a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. He prayed for them that the eyes of their understandings would be enlightened and that they would know what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints really are. This is something that should shock us and grab us. Paul prayed for spiritual understanding for the people. Surely he would not pray for this if they (or us) could understand things simply by reading a commentary style book that explained the words of the text. It takes spiritual insight to understand spiritual things.

Gospel preaching, therefore, should be preaching that is focused on spiritual things. Gospel preaching cannot be attained apart from the minister giving himself to prayer and the Scriptures looking for spiritual things in order to preach spiritual things to spiritual people. If the preaching of the Gospel requires spiritual preaching, then the study of the preacher in his preparation must include seeking spiritual understanding. Spiritual understanding cannot be found in a commentary and it cannot be found by doing what carnal men do. Spiritual understanding can only take place when spiritual men seek the Spirit to give them light as it shines out in Christ and His Gospel.

Owen notes that this is not an easy thing for preachers. In order for the preacher to preach and guide people into spiritual things, the preacher must be spiritual himself. The preacher must long for and seek the Lord for insight and light into these mysteries of the Gospel or the preacher will be of no help to the people. This should be a great insight into the true nature of preaching and the true nature of preparation. The true nature of preaching is what is taught of the Spirit in the soul of the preacher during the week so that the preacher is doing more than just lecturing on words. The preacher of the Gospel must seek these things from the hand of God and he must seek them on the basis of grace alone.

The preparation of the preacher for preaching the Gospel must no longer be simply the use of commentaries and the study of works, but it must be an entering into the mysteries of the Gospel in a spiritual sense. The preacher must know what it means to understand spiritual things of the Gospel. The preacher must understand how to be taught spiritual things of the Gospel. The preacher must understand how to point people to Christ who must teach the people spiritual things. This requires the preacher to seek a broken heart and a humble heart before God that he may seek understanding by grace alone. It is only when Christ by His Spirit has taught the preacher in the inner man the Gospel that the preacher will preach the Gospel.

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Gospel Preaching 44

November 24, 2016

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.

“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)

There is spiritual wisdom in understanding the mysteries of the gospel, that we may be able to declare the whole counsel of God, and the riches and treasures of the grace of Christ, unto the souls of men. See Acts 20:27; I Cor 2:1-4; Eph 3:7-9. Many in the church of God were, in those days of light, growing and thriving; they had a great insight into spiritual things, and into the mysteries of the gospel. The apostle prays that they might all have it, Eph 1:17-18, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” Really it is no easy thing for ministers to instruct in such kind of duties. If there be not some degree of eminency in themselves, how shall we lead on such persons as these to perfection? We must labor ourselves to have a thorough knowledge of these mysteries, or we shall be useless to a great part of the church. There is spiritual wisdom and understanding in the mysteries of the gospel required hereunto. (John Owen, Sermons to the Church)

The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the glory of God in Jesus Christ is not simply a few propositions that are to be mentioned on occasion. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Gospel which is about Jesus Christ and shines forth the wonder and glory of Jesus Christ. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about His humanity, but let us never forget it is also and perhaps primarily about His Divinity. It is also about how the Father shines forth in Christ. Clearly, then, the Gospel has spiritual meanings and spiritual truths that are to be preached. If the preacher is just focused on the physical things or the words and things that the natural man can explain and understand, then the preacher is not preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If God has given His people all spiritual blessings in Christ (Eph 1:3), then unless the preaching involves the things that are spiritual the preaching will never reach the souls of men and it will never get at the heart of the Gospel. Yes, it is true, this sounds so mystical to some. However, the Scriptures are quite clear that there is a spiritual knowledge, a spiritual wisdom, and spiritual blessings. These things cannot be dismissed so easily if we are to be faithful to Christ and the Gospel of Christ. If there is nothing spiritual, then what of the things of the Holy Spirit and how we must be illumined in order to understand the things of God? The Gospel is not just two or three points and the Gospel is not something the natural man can understand. The Gospel is spiritual and it is spiritual food to spiritual people. This is also to say that spiritual people (people who are regenerated by the Spirit and have the fruit of the Spirit as He dwells in them) will not be fed apart from having spiritual food. True preaching that is faithful to the God who is spirit must be spiritual.

In our own day we see many men and women who are on the televisions who think that the blessings of God are primarily health and financial. They have failed to understand the nature of spiritual blessings and so they focus on the only blessings they can really understand. While this may seem obviously wrong to many, it is not so obvious when people focus on the externals of Christianity and do not preach the spiritual things of Christ and of His Gospel. As Jesus taught so clearly, a person must be born from above in order to see or enter the kingdom. It is not just information given joined with some urging for the people to make a decision, there has to be preaching regarding spiritual things.

The Gospel is not something that the natural mind can just hear and understand. The Gospel is a great mystery and it cannot be understood unless the Spirit opens the hearts and minds of souls and reveal the spiritual things of the Gospel. Apart from preaching the spiritual things of God and the Gospel the whole counsel of God cannot be declared as that is cutting off the primary issues of the Gospel. This is once again pointing to a great error of our day. We are so afraid of mysticism that we are focused on things that the carnal man can understand and so we have chased the biblical Gospel out of the churches out of fear. The Gospel is a Gospel of spiritual blessings and of spiritual beings (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and so the Gospel cannot be preached apart from spiritual understandings.

Gospel Preaching 43

November 23, 2016

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)

The duty of such an officer of the church—a pastor, teacher, elder of the church—…”is to feed the church with knowledge and understanding.” This feeding is by preaching of the gospel. He is no pastor who does not feed his flock. It belongs essentially to the office; and that not now and then (according to the figure and image that is set up of the ministry in the world—a dead idol) as occasion serves. But the apostle says, Acts 6:4, “We will give ourselves continually to the word.” It is to “labor in the word and doctrine” (I Tim 5:17). (John Owen, Sermons to the Church)

Paul said that he determined to know nothing among the Corinthians but Christ, and Him crucified. Reynolds (above) tells us that in preaching Christ our goal should be His glory. It is Christ that is to be preached to the people as the all in all rather than stress doctrine to the intellect alone and rather than stress morality and good works. It is from Christ that true doctrine flows and it is from Christ that true holiness and good works must come from. We do not do works in order to receive grace, but we receive grace in order to do good works. Since we can do nothing (spiritual or good) if we have not received it from Christ, then we should preach Christ as the root, spring, and foundation of all that is spiritual. Since we must have grace to perform any of God’s commands, we must preach Christ as the source of all grace and the goal of all the commands of God. Apart from Christ we do not have the strength to obey any command and apart from Christ and the glory of God in Him we do not have a proper goal or motive.

The essence of preaching is the Gospel. The Gospel is precisely the only true message suited to the soul of all sinners, converted and unconverted alike. Those poor believers who are being harassed by the evil one and troubled with his fiery darts need to hear that they are saved by grace alone and Christ alone. They need to hear that Christ is an inexhaustible “fountain of pardon, grace, comfort, victory, and glory.” Justified sinners must hear of Christ or their hearts will be hardened into self-sufficiency and various versions of moralism. Justified sinners need to hear of the glorious Gospel that they may rely upon Christ and Christ alone and look to His grace to enable them to rely upon Christ alone.

If the preaching of the Gospel is so important for both the converted and the unconverted, then it should be clear that Owen is hitting the issue where it needs to be hit. A pastor in name is not being a true pastor if he is not preaching the Gospel (preaching Christ) in such a way that sinners see He is all in all. There is nothing that we must have spiritually that Christ does not procure and apply, so there is nothing more important to preach than Christ and the Gospel of Christ. A preacher that is not preaching the Gospel is not preaching what the unconverted need to hear and he is not preaching what the converted need to hear. A preacher that is not preaching Christ and the Gospel is simply not a true preacher at all.

But again, if this is what the converted and the unconverted need to hear and/or must hear, then regardless of the orthodoxy of the man and regardless of the orthodoxy of the sermon that man is not preaching. There has to be a famine in the land when those in the pulpits will exposit a text and make application to the people for them to be moral and do works and yet the Gospel is not preached. The lack of Gospel preaching of which there is a severe shortage in our day should be demonstrative evidence that we are in a spiritual famine. We do not need conferences on this subject and we do not need committees and the like, we need broken hearts and the strength of grace to seek His face to turn us from our cold hearts to Him. No man or woman in elected office can change one heart or extend the smallest amount of grace to our hearts. We need God and the only way to God is Christ and so we must preach Christ and Him crucified.

Gospel Preaching 42

November 22, 2016

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)

The duty of such an officer of the church—a pastor, teacher, elder of the church—…”is to feed the church with knowledge and understanding.” This feeding is by preaching of the gospel. He is no pastor who does not feed his flock. It belongs essentially to the office; and that not now and then (according to the figure and image that is set up of the ministry in the world—a dead idol) as occasion serves. But the apostle says, Acts 6:4, “We will give ourselves continually to the word.” It is to “labor in the word and doctrine” (I Tim 5:17). (John Owen, Sermons to the Church)

Whatever a pastor does or does not do, he is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that feeds the people. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that feeds the church with knowledge and understanding. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and of God that is what people must hear to be converted and is what they need in order to grow. While it may be thought and said that the Gospel is nothing but a little message that a person hears and is then converted, that is far, far from the truth. One can never outgrow the Gospel. One can never mature enough to where the Gospel is not needed.

When a church tires of hearing the Gospel, something is far, far off. The church would then be only a church in name or the person preaching is not preaching the true Gospel. True believers do not get tired of hearing the true Gospel of the true Christ. The true Gospel is not just some little message to be given here and there, but the true Gospel is wound in and around all the truths of Scripture and the whole of the glory and character of God is set forth in and by Christ in the Gospel. The Gospel is not just some little message that is given to get people to agree to it, but instead the Gospel is where the greatness of God is set forth in Jesus Christ Himself. In fact, one cannot preach the truth of who God is apart from preaching Christ and one cannot preach Christ apart from preaching the Gospel of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Gospel of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Owen tells us that a person that does not preach the Gospel is not a pastor because preaching the Gospel is essential to the office. If we take that one step farther, the preaching of the Gospel is necessary to a church being a church. The ramifications of what Owen sets out are enormous. The failure of a man to preach the Gospel consistently would then show us that the man is not a true pastor and the professing church is not a true church. The non-preaching of the Gospel would at the very least lead to a people being weak because they are not being fed with sound nutrition. In other words, the preaching of the Gospel sermon after sermon is necessary to a church being a true church, to the pastor in name being a true pastor, and for the church to be nourished and fed. As Owen sets out, “It belongs essentially to the office.”

We must at the very least take care of where we attend church and where we join. While we may not notice it, the souls of those who attend a church where orthodoxy is preached, where morality is preached, and good doctrine is set out is not necessarily a place where Christ and His Gospel are preached. It must also be pointed out that there is no preaching of the true Gospel apart from preaching Christ and there is no preaching Christ apart from the true Gospel. There is no other option for preachers and there is no other option for professing churches. The Gospel must be preached.

Gospel Preaching 41

October 30, 2016

 

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)

I was blessed to be in a service with a truly good sermon this morning. The goal of the sermon appeared to be to drive people to Christ and then set Him forth before them. They were then urged to Christ. It is truly a blessing to be in a service where sermons like this are preached. As I thought and reflected on this sermon this afternoon and evening, both to think through it and also to think about what was so good about it, several things stood out.

1. The preaching was plain and it was crystal clear.
2. The preacher did not try to be thought of as wise or profound, but set forth Christ and the need for Christ.
3. The preacher did not try to set out an extensive background, but just enough to illustrate his points.
4. The preacher spoke of sin, but tried to show people that they were sinners too.
5. The preacher pressed home the fact that God hates sin, even theirs.
6. The preacher pressed home that sin is of the heart and not just the actions.
7. The preacher pressed home the fact that there is a wrathful God.
8. The preacher pressed home the fact that God is sovereign in salvation.
9. The preacher stressed that if Christ did knock on the door of the unregenerate, the person inside was dead and could not open the door.
10. The preacher pointed out that the person inside the door must be given ears to hear to even hear the knock.
11. The preacher stressed that life can only come when God grants it and gives it.
12. The preacher pointed out that all men are sinners and there is only one way of salvation.
13. The preacher stressed that the blood of Christ is the only way of salvation for anyone.
14. The preacher did not appear concerned with what people thought of him, but instead spoke of the sins of the people and their need for Christ.
15. This sermon put men down in their place and held up God in His place.

This sermon was not fancy and had no intent to tickle the ears of the moralist, the intellectual, or those who like dry doctrine apart from life. This sermon, however, as a result of the things in the previous sentence, was used of God to penetrate my heart and set forth Christ. It was not just about a doctrine of Christ or a doctrine of the Gospel, it was preaching Christ Himself as if He could really save. It was not just about some doctrine of the Gospel; it was about the Gospel itself. It was also far more than a mere lecture; it came from the heart and was aimed at the hearts of those in the building. It was an example of true preaching and that is not common in our day.

Gospel Preaching 40

May 13, 2016

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.

Gospel Preaching 39

May 12, 2016

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)

Clearly, from Paul, Luther, and Reynolds the Gospel is for believers and is not just some canned message that a person gives another to see if they will make a decision in order to be saved. Preaching Christ (Person and works) is the standard of what preaching is and apart from preaching Christ true preaching descends rapidly from there. What can one preach (truly) if not preaching Christ? Can there be holiness apart from the life of Christ in the believer? Can there be love apart from the life of Christ in the believer? What is the true Church apart from Christ? What is the Gospel apart from the glory of God shining forth in and through Christ and His works? The goal of preaching is of course the glory of God in Christ, which teaches us that apart from Christ the elements of preaching fall far short depending on how much or how little Christ there is in the preaching.

All things have been created through Christ and He is the reason that they have been created. How can there be biblical preaching, then, apart from the foundation of where things came from and the reason that they have a being and the goal of that being? When one thinks of how the fall of man into sin can only be seen by how man was created and the purpose man was created, we see the purpose of preaching creation and the fall. That is the dark background on which the glorious light of Christ in redeeming sinners is set forth. The Lord Jesus Christ alone redeems sinners and pays the price for them. Man should constantly look to his Redeemer who purchased him with His blood and draw upon the constant and consistent grace man needs for true obedience. Since men need to constantly look to their Redeemer and the free-grace that is in Him, they should hear preaching on Christ and His redemption on a regular and consistent basis.

It is an absolute truth that all men sin and that at all times. While this sounds quite negative, there is nothing a man does in this life that is perfect and without sin. Men are sinners by nature and as such all that they do is tainted by them to some degree. Scripture tells us that even our works of righteousness are as filthy rags. In other words, those with spiritual sight know that they fall short in all that they do and as such they must constantly look to the inexhaustible fountain of pardon that comes to the children of God by free-grace. There is no Gospel of free-grace apart from Christ. There is no Gospel but that of free-grace. Sinners, however, fall into all forms of legalism and conditionalism on a regular basis. It is so easy to fall into trusting something about self or about what we do. Preachers must preach Christ and His free-grace to the people or they will fall into their forms of legalism and conditionalism and remain there to some degree. The Gospel demands that faithful ministers preach free-grace to sinners often and to do that they must preach Christ often.

There is no end to the free and gracious pardon of God in Christ Jesus for His children. There is no benefit to hammer the children of God with the law over and over without setting this grace before them. True believers come to Christ by free-grace as well. True believers have no fountain of forgiveness apart from free-grace. There is no preaching which comforts and builds up the children of God other than preaching Christ and His free-grace. It is true enough that sin must be preached on and the refuges of men must have light shown on them and they must be driven into the open, but that is not to be done in order to beat the sheep. Men must be driven out of their refuges and hidden places that the glory of Hs free-grace may shine upon and in them. Apart from preaching the fullness of Christ, the children of God will wander in desolate places and not be fed. The sheep must be fed and it is Christ Himself who is the food of His people.

Gospel Preaching 38

May 11, 2016

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)

The preacher should be vigorous and confident in preaching the Gospel of free-grace. Why should one be silent or mumble around concerning such a glorious manifestation of the Gospel of Christ? The preacher must preach Christ for the glory of God, the good of the people of God, and for the conversion of all that God will draw to Himself. It is Christ who must be proclaimed if people are going to hear of a King who protects them and cares for them. It is Christ who must be proclaimed if people are to hear of a perfect propitiatory sacrifice that cleanses them from all of their sins. It is Christ who must be proclaimed if people are to have a true treasure.

The world is not often thought of in terms of it being a treasure, but that is the treasure people seek for day in and day out. People seek many kinds of treasure in the world, regardless of what they call it, but apart from seeing Christ as the true treasure people will seek treasure in the world. It is Christ who is the greatest treasure that can be found. It is in Christ where all spiritual riches and treasures are found. It is in Christ where all the treasures of wisdom, knowledge, and grace are found. It is in Christ alone where all spiritual riches can be found. It is in Christ and Christ alone where the treasures of heaven are put on display for those with eyes to see. Christ is precious to all those that believe, and Christ is far more precious than gold to those who believe. It is Christ who is the desire of those who love Him. It seems that there is no excuse for not preaching Christ, which is far more than mentioning Him in the sermon.

Wounded sinners need a physician to diagnose them, to prescribe what is needed, and then someone to apply the medication. Jesus Christ Himself is the Great Physician of the soul and He alone can heal the soul that is truly wounded. Only Christ can see into the depths of the heart and know what is truly going on there. Only Christ can possibly know the perfect way to heal a wounded heart. Only Christ can know the degree and extent of the disease and so know how to deal with sinners of various cases. Christ alone is sufficient for any spiritual work since apart from Him we can do nothing (spiritual).

When poor sinners are distraught and tried by their wicked hearts within them, they need a sufficient Advocate pleading a sufficient sacrifice. There is no one else acceptable to the Father to present a perfect sacrifice in the place of sinners and plead the merits of His own blood, righteousness, and grace. Only Christ can stand in for sinners as a substitute and have that acceptable to the Father. Only Christ can plead for sinners based on His own Person, works, and perfect righteousness. Sinners need to look to Christ alone for grace alone. There is nothing meritorious or good in sinners themselves, but there is One who is sufficient in all He is, all He has, and all He is doing.

Sinners should seek the Lord for His grace to give them humbled and broken hearts. They should seek the Lord for His work in giving them a broken heart. No one else is sufficient for this work, though men should seek it from the Lord Himself. Men don’t need winsome preachers and encouraging (in the modern sense) words, they need to hear Christ preached and they need to cry out to the Lord to give them ears to hear. Not only all of that, but they need Christ Himself to cast out evil the one and His bondage from their hearts. They need to be delivered from the kingdom of darkness and be transferred into the kingdom of His Beloved Son. There are not enough sermons to preach the complete Christ and the full Christ, but He should be preached faithfully.

Gospel Preaching 37

May 10, 2016

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)

Paul wanted to know nothing among the Corinthians by Christ and Him crucified. Luther said preach the truth regardless of what might make the preacher unpopular. Edward Reynolds is so clear that the people of Christ need to the Gospel as well. What we see all of this boiled down to is that preachers are to focus on preaching the glories of Christ and the Gospel. It should also be pointed out that it is impossible to preach Christ and the Gospel without preaching, teaching, and exalting the glories and wonders of God in His free-grace.

It seems that in the United States today you have people focusing on discipleship or evangelism. Quite honestly, when either one of those is done as a focus Christ and the Gospel of Christ are not preached. The focus must be Christ and His Gospel of free-grace or people will not hear the truth of Christ or the Gospel. The Gospel of Christ is for the good of the people of God. The Gospel of Christ is the good news of Jesus the Christ. It appears that so many in the modern day think of the Gospel of grace alone as a canned message that they give to people in a very short spiel and then expect them to make a decision. This is why so many people have gone on to preaching meat as they term it and have left the so-called simple gospel behind. This is a huge mistake regarding both as to what the Gospel is and then for what the saints need.

The true people of God are a people with inward and outward trials and suffer the fiery darts of the evil one. They need to know the truths of Christ and His Gospel of grace alone that they may flee to Him in order to find protection and rest for their souls. Where else are believers to find rest for the assaults of the world, the devil, and their own sinful hearts? Is there anyone else who can protect believers from the world, the devil, and their own sinful hearts? We are to pray not to be led into temptation and protection from the evil one, but assuredly we can only find rest for our souls in Christ who is our King, our Shepherd, and our Advocate.

When the believing soul has his eyes opened to his own heart, where is that believing soul to go? When the poor and tried believer sees how worthy s/he is of eternal torment and the conscience brings torment to the soul, where is that poor believer to go? When the devil accuses the sensitive believer and tells them that there is no forgiveness for them, where are they to go? We find in the glorious Gospel of the free-grace of Christ that there has been a perfect sacrifice offered for each and every sin of the true believer who is a true child of the living God. The propitiatory work of Christ is for believers as well and in one sense especially so. It is true that the unbeliever must have Christ and be covered by His blood, but the believer needs this over and over day by day and hour by hour. The child of God finds comfort in the blood of Christ which has taken the wrath of God away, which means that there is now reconciliation with God. The believer needs to be cleansed on a constant basis in order to be in the presence of God and in order to pray. The Gospel of the free-grace of Christ must be preached on a constant basis for the good of those who already have Christ.

Gospel Preaching 36

May 9, 2016

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)

Preaching the Gospel is really preaching Christ since the Gospel is all about what Christ has accomplished to the glory of God. While some may not understand that the statement by Reynolds above is preaching the Gospel since he speaks of preaching Christ, one cannot preach the true Person and works of Christ without preaching the Gospel of Christ to some degree. Look at how Christ-centered the statement by Reynolds is. Christ is to be the substance of preaching, the goal of preaching, the desire of preaching, and His work is to be set out for His glory.

In this it seems that Reynolds is hitting at something about preaching that our day has missed. We are not just to preach the Scriptures, and that in an academic way, we are to preach Christ in order to preach the Scriptures. We are not just to preach these canned messages to get people up an aisle or to get a paycheck, but God sets men apart in order to preach Christ and His Gospel. There is no preaching of Christ unless Christ and His glory is the greatest end and purpose of the sermons. Jesus prayed (John 17) for the Father to glorify Him that He may glorify the Father. Preachers should preach Christ and seek the glory of Christ before God and the people. We are used to glorify God when we glorify Him through preaching Christ and His Gospel.

Reynolds says that preachers should preach Christ in such a way as to render Him amiable and precious in the eyes of His people. This is a vital point! It is a vital point in preaching to preach to God’s people in a way that exalts Christ and shows how He is greatly to be desired and how beautiful and glorious He is. This means that we are not just to preach the facts about Christ, but we are to labor and strive to set forth Christ in His beauty and glory. The labors of the preacher are not just to understand a text, but they are to seek the Lord for grace that the preacher may declare things about Christ that the people of God may be fed with strong food and sweet food.

One important thing, even an utterly essential thing to notice at this point, is that preachers must seek the Lord that He would show Himself beautiful and glorious to them. If this has not happened to the preacher, then he will not be able to preach this to the people. As one has said (Alexander MaClaren), it takes a crucified man to preach a crucified Savior. It also takes a man who has tasted of the Lord and sees that He is good to preach a Christ to others and describe what He tastes like and what it is to see that He is good. The Gospel is not just about the facts, but it is about the beauty and glory of God through Christ in those facts. There is a spiritual knowledge that preachers must be taught and the only One who can teach that knowledge is Christ and His Spirit.

We live in a day where orthodoxy is not valued by many, but among some it is valued to a high degree but valued in the academic way only. Anything more than the facts and what the intellect can grasp is thought to be mystical. However, the glory of God in Christ is far more than just words, it is the beauty and wonder of God shining in and through Christ so that the people of God will have their affections drawn to Christ. Part of being a human being is to have affections and as such we should preach with that awareness. The affections of the people will be exercised on something, so this should teach us to preach with the affections and desires of the people in mind. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy and so on, not just giving the facts of the matter. Biblical and spiritual preaching that benefits the whole soul of the people of God will strive to set out Christ in a way where He is seen and tasted so that He is better than the whole world to the intellect, the will, and the affections.