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Preaching (2)

A Borland

The central theme of our gospel preaching should be "Christ crucified". That is the apostolic emphasis of the message, for the greatest preacher this world declared that it was his intention to know nothing among men "save Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (1 Cor 2.2). In our generation there exists a pressing need for positive teaching regarding the value of the death of Christ. The attitude of the natural man to the heart of the gospel message never varies. In Paul’s day the preaching of the cross was, to the Greek, foolishness; in our day the advanced thinker, the modern mind, does not judge otherwise. In Paul’s day the word of the cross was, to the Jews, a stumbling block; in our day the religious devotee, the self-righteous ritualist, deems the ancient truth to be of no value for him. Consequently, the modern pulpit, to a very large extent, excises any mention of the blood save to treat it with contempt as the gospel of the shambles.

But why should we emphasise the blood of Christ? It is by virtue of the blood that Christ occupies His present place at the right hand of God, for, declares the Epistle to the Hebrews, "by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption" (9.12). The blood of Christ is sin cleansing, and nothing stirs the enmity of Satan like the repeated mention of the value of the sacrifice of Christ. By sheltering under the blood (i.e the merits of the death) of Christ, the sinner will be saved from the coming wrath of God, just as the Israelite in Egypt was sheltered from the doom of death when the last plague visited the land. Heaven is procured by it. How frequently mention is made of the Lamb character of our Lord in the book of Revelation. It is the Lamb who is the glory of the city, i.e. the glory of God is revealed in heaven (and on the renewed earth too) in the remembrance of the sacrificial virtue of the death of Christ. But, moreover, neglect of that blood is doom-sealing. How solemn! What responsibility rests with everyone who assays to preach the gospel to present it in such a way that no dubiety may exist in the mind of the hearer with regard to the awful gravity attached to a disrespect to the work of Christ in His Saviour character. When we preach let us exult in Christ and Him crucified.

Furthermore we are exhorted to "preach the word" (2 Tim 4.2). God has chosen not only to send His Son for men and women and our salvation, He has also chosen words by which to convey the meaning and terms of the message. The more closely the preacher can adhere to Bible words and ideas the better, for it is the entrance of God’s Word which gives light. The Word of God is as a hammer breaking the rock of opposition and indifference (Jer 23.29). It is a fire that burns the conscience, melts the coldness of the heart, and warms the affections towards Christ. As a mirror it reveals man’s sinfulness, and reflects the solitary glory of Christ (James 1.23). As seed it conveys the message of life (Mt 13.19), while as milk it encourages growth in the soul that has believed unto eternal life. It is the preacher’s duty to whet the appetite of young converts to "desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby" (1 Pet 2.2). The above and much more is the Word, so that there is no useless redundancy in repeating that the servant of Christ, as His ambassador, must "preach the word".



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