“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:1-5) In these 5 verses Paul summarized his ministry to the people of the great city of Corinth. There were many disciples there as a result of his message and method of ministry. And, we find by reading the other of Paul’s epistles that where ever he preached, his message was exactly the same, “Jesus Christ and Him crucified”.
I fear that in most of our churches we are busily learning the nuances of prayer, going to conferences to discover our spiritual gifts, attending lectureships to try to learn some way to do ministry in more effective ways, and in so doing neglect the simplicity of plain gospel preaching depending completely and utterly on the God of heaven for any result. Again and again I am struck by the profound, but very simple message that Peter, Paul and others preached. It was the kind of preaching that got results. When was the last time you heard of well over 3,000 baptisms in a day? I hear lots and lots of great preaching by almost any measure, but not much on Christ and Him crucified.
You see, it is one thing to preach Him and quite another to preach about Him. It is a good thing to know about Him but a far better thing to know HIM! We often lose sight of the fact that our mission is to call men to repentance and faith in Jesus. Ours is not a mandate to bring men to church. We are not commanded to urge men to better conduct. Our only mission on earth is to make Christ known to men and women. We are to preach Him! Paul said in chapter one of 1st Corinthians in verse 24, “Christ the power and wisdom of God” and in the last half of verse 30 he said “who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption”. Do you want power in your ministry? Preach Christ! Do you want wisdom from on high when you speak? Preach Christ! Do those to whom you preach need righteousness? Preach Christ! Do they need sanctification? Preach Christ! We proudly wear the name “church of Christ” but what are we known for? You fill in the blanks. I want to be known as a man who preached Jesus Christ and everything else was to lead men and women to him.
Power, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption, eternal life, resurrection, hope, peace, love, mercy, justice, compassion, unselfishness, service, forgiveness, assurance, confidence and any other good thing you can imagine that might make a person fit for heaven and good for living on planet earth are found in the person, Jesus Christ our Lord. May we earn a reputation of being crazy about Jesus! Grace and Peace,
Great post brother, as usual. I don’t comment much, but I love coming to your blog. I am ALWAYS blessed for having been here! Thanks for your kind comments on my blog.
Are you going to be at Pepperdine this year? Shoot me an email and let me know.
I have more questions than answers but there seems to be an assumption you make that many make and I want to toss this out for discussion:
“How much should we base preaching to edify the assembled saints on preaching that was directed at nonbelievers?”
I believe that evangelism is our third most important priority on Sunday morning. Should we use evangelistic preaching as an example for what saved people need to growth and develop?
You might be making the mistake of thinking that all preaching about Christ is evangelistic, only. It is evangelistic, but also builds up the saints. I have a book in my library with messages about Jesus from every book of the Bible. ALL of our teaching should absolutely be centered on Him, His work on our behalf, and how His life in us plays out in our daily lives.
The mystery of godliness is “Christ in us, the hope of glory”. I agree that the Sunday morning assembly is not the best place for evangelism. The work place, a little league game, a coffee shop, or any place else believers have relationships with unbelievers is the place for evangelism.
Given even a little thought, the idea that sinners should want to come to church is foolish. We are to GO. We are not to wait for them to come. When and if they do, of course we are to tell them of the saving message of Christ.
Just curious, what are those 2 top priorities on Sunday?
Grace and Peace,
1. if it truly is a worship assembly, then God and His Son must be the top priority, not what I want, feel, enjoy
2. very close behind, edification of the saints, 1 Corinthians 14, etc.
I agree and wasn’t trying to imply that Christians no longer need to hear sermons about Jesus.
Reblogged this on Grace Digest and commented:
From the dusty archives of Grace Digest a post written in Jan 2007.