Monday, July 27, 2009

Can we preach [the gospel] please? My soul needs it and I am not alone.

iMonk: Law/Gospel Rant is brilliant.... Yes that subject again but it's important. Here's a taste but you should read the whole thing methinks:
"Remember this: Discipleship will put you in despair without the Gospel. Discipleship that’s rooted in law will just drive you into despair or Pharisaism. Discipleship needs to grow out of the Gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit magnifying Jesus and the love of God. You can recognize law preaching because it’s always full of references to the Bible being a “handbook for life,” full of principles for a successful life. If your Bible is just a handbook for life, throw it away.
The Bible is the story that delivers us the Gospel. It’s point is to get you to Jesus, the one mediator between God and man. It’s a big book to get you to a short message. You buy the whole field, but the treasure is the Gospel, not the book of Judges or financial principles from Proverbs. Once you have the Gospel right and you know what preaching is all about, then you can read and preach Leviticus or Malachi or whatever you want, as long as Jesus is in his proper place and the message is the Gospel, not the law, or the old covenant, or this week’s good advice.
I really think we have an army of preachers who think that people ought to come hear them “preach” about various life questions and issues. How to have a great family. How to get along at work. How to use money. How to discipline kids.
Why would I want a preacher to tell me anything about these things? Why are preachers talking about sex, politics and what Jesus wants you to eat? Can anyone admit that the preacher’s ego is often inflated to dangerous level when we let his/her advice about politics or parenting become legitimate material for preaching.
Preach the Gospel, brother. Then sit down, be quiet and let’s do something else. We can pray, sing or go eat. All good.
The Bible is about the Gospel. You are about the Gospel. Give me enough of the law to make the Gospel good news, though I’ll admit I’m not one of those people convinced that we need to try and recreate Bunyan’s conversion. I’m with Spurgeon on that one. Our job is to keep the Good News out there."
The beauty is that the gospel shines out of every page of the Bible, so it doesn't matter whether you have Esther or Galatians, Leviticus or Mark open in front of you. The message to draw from the text is the gospel, the application of it is rich and diverse and practical and God-glorifying. And the beauty of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ crucified is that you can never hear it enough times, you need never move on to more - we just plunge deeper in to knowing the Christ. The gospel never gets old hat and tired. Like Calvin said: "This is what we should in short seek in the whole of Scripture: truly to know Jesus Christ, and the infinite riches that are comprised in him and are offered to us by him from God the Father."

7 comments:

  1. Oh, this is a refreshing reminder of what I am called to do as a pastor. And not just we pastors but every christian who wants to experience the power of God (Rom 1:16).

    Sometimes I wonder if people in our church get sick of hearing the gospel message week in and week out. But I can't get enough of this Christ crucified and risen to restore the whole creation and bring everything under the rule of our gracious God.

    I'm very greateful to live in Europe right now and to experience so many young christians, pastors and churches longing for the glory of God in the gospel and to saturate their lives with this message.

    Thanks for sharing, Dave!
    Thorsten

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  2. Yes, the Word is the revelation of God that ultimately points to Jesus Christ who is "the image of the invisible God." Because He is God there is no part of creation that is not His. Therefore, a biblical preacher has authority to clearly communicate the gospel and touch on any area of life that the Word of God touches on. Preaching the gospel is not just the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ it is also "thine is the kingdom, power, and glory."

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  3. I actually quite like hearing about other subjects such as sex, relationships, ethics etc, I think they are quite important issues, especially today. Lets face it sundays are pretty boring otherwise, its just preaching to the choir stuff, we all know the gospel or we wouldn't be there for goodness sake! Preachers should get some balls and let Christ be heard outside the four walls of the sunday service. Im not sure I'd listen to a preacher tell me about being a Christian in the work place anyway as most of them have never had a proper job.

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  4. Hey Paul - to stay in Colossians, In Christ is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3). To come to Christ will open up to us all of creation. But what we will find is that this creation is busy proclaiming His gospel (1:23).

    Therefore if we find ourselves straying from the gospel, we're straying from the very logic of the cosmos. If we're interested in preaching wisdom and knowledge then we must preach Christ or we're not actually preaching wisdom and knowledge. If you ask me, every 'area of life' must be known as a parable of Christ and Him crucified or else it's not actually known, and it certainly must not be preached.

    I'm sure we're roughly on the same page here. It's right to want to investigate all creation as the theatre of His glory (i.e. His cross). But the beginning and end is still the gospel.

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  5. Glen, I absolutely agree with you that the gospel of repentance is the heart of revelation from God! The problem I often run into is that many false converts will nod their heads to the gospel in outline form but begin to balk when you inform them of the authority of Jeusus Christ over their sex lives, money, and careers.

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  6. Yeah totally -

    'I believe Christ was a faithful Lover to His covenant partner, but I - a little christ (Christian) - will sleep around.'

    'Christ was rich but became poor to make others rich, but I - a little christ - will store up treasures on earth.'

    'Christ's work was to seek worshippers for His Father, but I - a little christ - will pursue a name for myself.'

    It's ridiculous. But let's face it, we're all in that hypocritical boat to one degree or another. My problem is not that I know the gospel but fail at discipleship. My problem is that I don't properly know the gospel. Which is why I need it held out to me week in, week out.

    But yeah, definitely there are many and various lenses through which to view this gospel: sex, money, career, leisure, food, fashion, home improvement, astronomy, biology, whatever. But:

    1) beware ignorant preachers going beyond their competencies.

    and

    2) beware making those things the point rather than Christ and Him crucified which they witness.

    As we preach these gospel alone sermons our very selves will be renewed as our minds are transformed by gospel truth. But indwelling sin will thwart all our best efforts and intentions. Always the offer needs to be held out - 'You have failed to be a little christ (the law slaying you), but He has forgiven and clothed you (the gospel raising you up).'

    And then to have enough faith in the word and Spirit of Christ dwelling in the congregation that His seed will bear fruit (in among all the thorns) in gospel living.

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  7. Great comment from Glen. Let's preach about those things, but in such a way as they show those things don't rule over us, but that Christ rules over them.

    And then let's preach and apply what it means for Christ to rule over them, or else we preach raw facts but don't urge people to develop an authentic believing worldview.

    I think Paul's point is good. I sometimes run into people who know all the facts and assume that knowledge - rather than whole life discipleship - is what is meant by being a Christian. There are two kinds - those who have no works flowing from faith and those who assume that works are the faith. Neither is following Jesus. The first doesn't do what Jesus says; the second may do what Jesus said but doesn't want him. Both falsely think they are Christian and both need to be addressed

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