"The Big Name Preacher" (II)
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Truly the glory of the Lord is emphasized in the fact that He is the "revealer" of the gospel (Gal. 1:11-12). This "gospel" bears His name which points to His greatness (Rom. 1:16-17). The "news" that He brought man from God is the grandest story of all ages (Rom. 5:8-10): He "revealed through parables" simple truths that confounded the wisest of men (Matt. 13:11-15, 1 Cor. 1:21-28). He "revealed" profound facts about the "world beyond death" (Luke 16:19-31). He made known the "awesome power" of deity through the many miracles which He performed. (John 20:30-31). He "revealed" boldly His "contempt for sin" and overwhelming love for the sinner (John 8:3-11). Surely His "revelation" of the "human nature of man" points to the truthful facts that He "knew" what was "in" man (John 2:24-25). His "acknowledgment" of the fact that He knew that people would answer to Him in the "final day" (Matt. 7:21-23) reveals so clearly His "right" as God and man to be the judge of all (John 5:22-29).
It was Jesus who said "what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul" (Matt. 16:26). He "estimated" that the race of lost humanity was worth His condescending to men of low estate (Rom. 12:16). His "estimate of the scribes and Pharisees" hit the nail right on the head (Matt. 23:15). He also counted the "trials and persecutions of Satan" as nothing, in contrast to the joy of being the "Savior of the body" (Eph. 5:23-27). He "plainly" stated that the "primary" responsibility of man was to "seek the Kingdom of God" (Matt. 6:33)! He estimated that most men would seek the pleasures of sin and easy living, instead of the sacrificial way of the Cross (Matt. 7:1314). As the "estimator" of the worth of the world, this big name preacher declared "excuse-making" highly "unprofitable" (Luke 14:16-24).
Only the Messiah or Christ ever did "condemn sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:1-3). He obeyed the "law of Moses" perfectly and completely "buffeted his body" so as never to transgress against His Father (1 Cor. 9:27, 1 Pet. 2:21-22). Moreover he "condemned" everyone who refuses to "believe and be baptized" (Mark 16:15-16). He spake as if He were (which He is) the judge and jury and executioner of all ungodly and wicked men (2 Thess. 1:7-9). Condemnation is "defeated" by Christ and all who obey Him escape death (Rom. 6:23). This big name preacher came not into the world to "condemn the world" but rather to save the world from "condemnation for their sins" (John 3:17-18).
Sweet water to refresh the hearts of all men is found in (Matt. 11:28-30). Jesus invites everyone who is burdened and heavy laden with "guilt of their sins" to "come unto Him for rest." He issued gloriously the challenge "cast all your burdens and cares upon me" (1 Pet. 5:7). He stands at the door of the heart of every man (Rev. 3:20) through His "gospel" seeking to gain entrance and create fellowship with man!
Truly "only" the Lord qualifies for this magnificent role (1 Tim. 2:5). In order to be "made perfect" for this responsibility (Heb. 5:8-9) our Lord shed the garments of holiness which "befit" deity and attired Himself in the ``rags of humanity" (Phil. 2:5-9). Since He "created man" (Gen. 1:26-28) He knows the "capabilities" of man, and since He walked on earth "as" a man He knows what man faces in his daily experiences (Heb. 2:17-18). This big name preachers' verdict will be final for all men (Rev. 20:11-15)! ! ! !
The "imperial day" of all history is the one on which the Lord Jesus Christ arose from the dead (Rom. 1:4). This great event in His life "decisively" ascribes unto the Lord the very highest "glory and honor" (Acts 13:30-33). It was through this "triumph" (Col. 2:14-16) that the "Prince of Peace" and "Lord of Lords" made possible the "hope of eternal life" for all who would follow His commands (1 Pet. 1:3-9). He is the only "traveler" who has ever gone into the vale of death and returned never to die again. None else has ever "lived with God" (John 1:18), and "lived with man" (John 1:14), and "lived in the realm of hades" (Luke 23:43) except the Lord Jesus! He is the "firstborn" from the dead (Col. 1:18). This big name preacher could not be holden by the "pangs of death" (Acts 2:22-24). His "commanding" voice will call both the righteous and the unrighteous from their tombs on the "last" day (John 5:28-29).
Taking into account all "flesh" that has lived on earth, none has lived "without" sin except for the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 4:15). Hence he truly typifies the one who is "just" (Rom. 3:23-26). He is able to "justify" by His blood all those who obey the "gospel of Christ" by submitting to baptism by faith for the "forgiveness" of their sins (Acts 2:38). He, therefore, becomes both the "just" and the justifier of all obedient men and women. If any man would be just (accounted as righteous), then he must render complete obedience unto the holy and just "Prince of life" (Acts 3:14). This big name preacher provides "justification" through His name (1 Cor. 6:11). This big name preacher is perfectly "justified" to demand of us faithful obedience unto the precepts of God for He surely "practiced what He preached" flawlessly (John 8:46)! Imagine any gospel preacher saying as did the Lord, "Which of you convicteth me of sin?" He "stood" justified before God in a clear conscience when He did (Acts 24:16).
Sinful men alienate themselves from God by their iniquities (Is. 59:1-2, Eph. 2:12). He is the enemy of God while living in his sins (Rom. 5:8-10) and needs to be reconciled (made friends again with God) through the "blood of the cross" (Eph. 2:16). It is the "function" of the Lord to provide and furnish that "reconciliation" (Col. 1:13-24). Through the means of the gospel He is "reconciling" all men unto God. The "wrath" of God is deterred from us through the sweet friendship we have with His son (John 14:15, John 15:14). As He performs his function as "High Priest" (Heb. 2:17-18). He offers continuous "reconciliation" from sins for His obedient followers! This big name gospel preacher continually "cries" to the masses of lost humanity "Be ye reconciled unto God (2 Cor. 5:20-21). Without Christ (John 15:5) "reconciliation" is not possible!
This gospel preacher from heaven "identified" the Kingdom of heaven as "His" church (Matt. 16:18-19). He established His "identity" as the "head of the church," and the "Saviour of the body" (Col. 1:18, Eph. 5:23). His "identification mark" is placed upon every disciple in the "name" Christian (Acts 11:26). He identified Himself as the "Good Shepherd" who laid down His life for His sheep (John 10:10-11). This big name preacher is identified as "holding the Book of God's eternal purpose" in His hand (Rev. 5:1-9). He surely "identified Himself' as the "heir" of the Father's abundant wealth which will ultimately be the "church" (Matt. 21:38) redeemed out of the earth (Rev. 14:1-5). He "identifies" His character when He said that "he was lowly and meek" (Matt. 11:28-30). But He "identified" His stern rebuke of "apostasy" in cleansing the temple in Jerusalem (John 2:13-17). You would do "well" to identify yourself with this big name preacher for He will lead you in the path of right!
God gives His son "credit" as being the sanctifier of those who are called by the gospel to be "saints" (Heb. 2:11, 2 Thess. 2:13-14). Through the Lord Jesus those who humble themselves to respond to the "gospel call" of Christ are "set apart from sin" (Acts 2:38). But "sanctification" does not end with our "initial obedience" to God's plan of Salvation, we must follow after it in order to see God (Heb. 12:14). Once we are "sanctified" and set apart from our sins, we also are "at the same time" set apart "for the service of God" (2 Tim. 2:20-22). We are to be "vessels unto honour" in the Kingdom of God as we serve our master. This "daily" sanctification comes as we "flee worldly concerns" and focus our attention on following after "righteousness, and godliness, faith and love and patience and meekness" (1 Tim. 6:11-12). When we conduct our lives so we are "looking to Jesus" (Heb. 12:1-3) who is the "author and perfecter" of our faith! The "saints" can find "perfection" in Christ their "captain" (Col. 1:28).
Behold how beautiful it is to watch the Lord "regenerate" the heart and life of an "evil-doer" (Tit. 3:3-5). He is able through his "transforming" word to change the "thinking and acting" of the "degenerate sinner" who is living in hatred and malice and envy, to love and good works (Heb. 10:23-24). This "conversion" is only possible because of the "sin-offering" Christ made of Himself unto God (Heb. 9:14). He is the "regenerator" of those who are "dead in sins" (Eph. 2:110). In Jesus Christ we are a new "creation" (2 Cor. 5:17). By the washing of "regeneration" this big name preacher can make you an "heir of everlasting life" (Tit. 3:5-8). He sits on the throne of "His" glory during these precious days of "regeneration" (Matt. 19:28) extending unto lost mankind the "long-suffering of God" through salvation (2 Pet. 3:15).
Let us "praise the Lord" for He has "consecrated" a new and living "way" for man to find eternal bliss with God (Heb. 19-22). Twas by His blood that He obtained "eternal redemption" for us (Heb. 9:11-15). He is most capable of "consecrating" His disciples as He "instructs them daily" through His divine word (Gal. 5:19-26). This gospel preacher loved His "helpless" creatures so much that He expressed love that surpasses knowledge at Calvary in order that He might "redeem them from all iniquity" (Tit. 2:13-14). Truly, Jesus Christ should be "exalted" by every creature as He has been exalted by the Father (Phil. 2:5-11, Rom. 14:10-12). This big name preacher "lives in His beloved children" (Gal. 2:20) and through His leadership every Christian is able to "yield every member of his body" unto the righteous cause of God (Rom. 6:19). "Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to thee" is my prayer!
The "only" big name preacher who has ever lived on earth, is now "in heaven" (Acts 1:9-11). There is no "big name preacher" whom you can get to hold you a meeting (1 Cor. 3:5-7). Some churches want only a "big name preacher" to labour with them. Many Christians will go to hear the "big name preacher" proclaim the gospel of Christ, but they will not exert much energy to encourage younger and less experienced preachers. I thank God with my "whole heart" for the many gospel preachers who have boldly and with outstanding ability proclaimed the gospel of Christ. Many did so in perilous times and seemingly impossible adversity. Let us be grateful unto God and these men like Paul and Apollos, and Luther Blackmon, and J. P. Miller, and Pryde Hinton and Franklin Puckett and love and appreciate them for their work's sake. I express my gratitude to God and these devoted men and all others and every other gospel preacher who ever did preach the truth, and live the truth, and contend for the truth, and print the truth. The many books they have penned have been invaluable unto gospel preachers like myself in our study and research. Surely God in His infinite wisdom provided a place of work and responsibility in the church for "preachers" (Eph. 4:11-12). These proclaimers of God's "good news" have hazarded their lives for the cause of Christ and deserve our love and heart-felt respect for meeting the challenges placed before them. But let us never esteem them as we do the Lord, and follow their doctrine instead of the "doctrine of Christ" (2 John 9). Apostasy is on the "doorstep" and certainly "imminent" when we begin to call our favorite preacher "the big name preacher." Only the "name" of Jesus Christ should go up in "lights" (2 Cor. 4:5). To the messenger who brings us God's message let us offer "encouragement" and "gratitude" for his preparation and his deliverance of God's simple plea for Salvation in Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:26-27). Therefore, let us follow after God who has "highly exalted Jesus Christ" and given Him a name which is above all others (Phil. 2:9-11). Undoubtedly, He is the only one of His kind-big name preacher!
Truth Magazine XXII: 35, pp. 566-568