Gospel Preaching - A 2000 Year Legacy (part 2)
As we concluded last week’s article, we considered that the burden of preaching has always been “repentance and remission of sins.” Much of today's self-styled preachers try to mask the problem of sin in the congregation by offering a doctrine of "mushy love" which does nothing more than give the sinner comfort and sanctuary. Sound Gospel preaching will have one of two results. Either the sinner will be convicted, repent and avail themselves of Christ's terms of pardon, or, they will be driven away from God's people after seeing themselves as God see them. Certainly we prefer and pray for the former. However for purity's sake we cannot tolerate the preaching of a diluted Gospel, which will only serve to make the Lord's Church a den of iniquity rather than spiritual house of the saved.
Outlining the first Gospel sermon as it was inspired by God and recorded in Acts 2 will gives us several points to consider.
1. The sermon made them see the sin in their lives as God views it.
2. The sermon made them see that they had actually waged war against the God they claimed to love and serve. Any sin is a declaration of war against all God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit stand for.
3. The sermon made them see that they were forfeiting the eternal life which the God they loved and claimed to serve wants them to have.
4. The sermon helps us all see that those who claim to love and serve God are not exempt from the need of corrective preaching. In fact the love for souls and God demands such.
5. The sermon made them see that there is only one way to be retrieved from the despicable situation they were in. However, before God would grant them forgiveness, they would have to do their part and repent and be baptized. (Acts 2:38)
The foremost objective of preaching is to equip the listener with the facts to make an informed decision regarding the eternal destiny of their soul. There is no place for preaching which condemns the listener, without offering a remedy. Would you return to the physician who correctly diagnosed your illness without prescribing the cure? Preachers who speak in the name of Christ, ("the Great Physician"), must offer the spiritual cure which Jesus would do if he were there. This sermon contained all the characteristics of Paul’s instruction to Timothy, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”(2 Tim 4:2)
Preaching has certainly put on a different face in recent years. Not only in substance but in style. Radio, TV and the media in general have made preachers think they must compete for the attention of their audience. Hence, preaching has been reduced to mere entertainment and showmanship. One bad performance and either the preacher or the audience goes. Since the plain truth condemns sin, the plain truth has been replaced with amusing stories, anecdotes, fables, and the scratching of the listener’s “itching ears.”
Notice Paul’s words to Titus, Paul a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie promised before the world began; But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Savior." (Tit. 1:1-3) Think about it.