Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Privilege of Preaching

In my last note I posted a letter in order to present the gospel to people I know. While, as I said in the note, I know the gosepel is offensive to those who do not know Christ, but I was surprised at to see the I received more Christians offended for the preaching.

I think there are a great deal of people in my generation who have bought in to this social gospel idea. The idea that our main person as Christians is to make this life better. Or that the only effective way to share the gospel is after building relationships.

May I make it clear that that is lie from Hell that has perpetuated the Church. While yes there is a great deal of merit to showing love as we are commanded to do (first to the Church and then to the world) and there is merit to relationships they can never take the place of preaching the name of Christ.

Throughout Scripture not only are we commanded to proclaim through preaching but we are given example after example.

And what are we to preach?

As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all that He did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put Him to death by hanging Him on a tree, but God raised Him on the third day and made Him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with Him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
(Act 10:36-43)

We are to preach that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation and that He is the Judge of the living and the dead.

I hear very few preachers talk about Jesus Christ as Judge. Yes, He is a loving God and that is why we can preach that all who come to Him receive forgiveness of sin and rest for their souls, but whether you come to Him or not know that He will be your judge.

So let us follow His example and go about doing good, but may we never forget His command to us is to preach and to testify.

If we only were to do good without proclaiming Christ it would be as if we went up to a prison cell. In the cell there is a man that is captive, thristy, and starving. And we stand there desiring to do good so we offer him a crumb of bread. In one hand we hold out this crumb for him to take, but in our other hand we are holding the keys to that cell and yet we never even present them.

The world is hungry and thirsty and may we lovingly care for them and feed them, but there hunger and thirst is in no way their primary problem. Their ultimate problem is that they are captives to their sin. They love their sin and hate God. But we know the answer. We know the truth. And we must present it.

The world's ultimate need is not bread, but the bread that is the body of Christ broken for the world.

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
(Joh 6:35)

And He took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."
(Luk 22:19)

The world is thirsty and so let us offer them water is springs up from eternal life.

Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
(Joh 4:13-14)

This is world's true need. How can we dare offer them any less?

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