Monday, October 08, 2007
WE PREACH NOT OURSELVES, BUT CHRIST
2 Corinthians 4:5
"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake."
There are many, many ways in which false preachers preach themselves and avoid preaching Christ and the Gospel of salvation conditioned on Him alone.
When does a man preach himself instead of preaching Christ?
(1) When he preaches salvation, any part of it, conditioned on the sinner in any way to any degree instead of salvation conditioned totally upon Christ.
(2) When he preaches justification before God based upon any other ground but the blood and the righteousness of Christ imputed, and when he makes no efforts to exclude any contribution from the sinner's best efforts as to the ground of salvation.
(3) When he removes the offense of the Gospel by refusing to say that any who are ignorant of or not submitted to Christ's righteousness imputed are lost and their deeds are evil. When he speaks peace where there is no peace to gain the praise and admiration of men.
(4) When he refuses to preach repentance clearly and let sinners know that everything before justifying faith, no matter how moral or religious, is dead works, fruit unto death, and acts of open idolatry as they are the fruit of self-righteousness.
(5) When he seeks to motivate his hearers to obedience, worship, love, good works, and godliness based on something other than the absolute certainty of salvation conditioned on Christ alone, the assurance of true faith. When he seeks to motivate them with legal fears of punishment and legal doubts as to the certainty of their final glory.
(6) When he begins to consider more what men will say and do if he preaches the clear Gospel and its doctrines rather than the glory of God and the pre-eminence of Christ in these matters of salvation. When he is more concerned about the reactions of sinner than with the glory of God.
(7) When he seeks to build a following for himself and establishes relationships built on personality rather than in the Gospel of Christ. When he will compromise the Gospel and hold back the truth in order to open up opportunities to preach.
(8) When he defends his own religious experience, and the experiences of other, whether it is consistent with God's Gospel or not, and refuses to judge all things by God's word.
(9) When he seeks to intimidate people to get them to agree with him and follow him based on anything other than "thus saith Lord," the clear testimony of God's word alone.
These are just a few of the ways men preach themselves rather than Christ. But there is only one way to preach Christ.
We preach Christ when we preach ALL OF SALVATION conditioned on Him alone.
We preach Christ when we tell our hearers that it is what HE ALONE DID FOR SINNERS, HIS DOING AND HIS DYING, that makes the only difference between saved and lost, heaven and hell.