By Ron Halbrook
For The Truth’s Sake, the gospel should be preached to the lost and the lost should seek the gospel. Men often laugh at or even bemean gospel preaching. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. . . it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:18-21). Not merely the action of proclaiming just any message will save, but only the message contained in Scripture will save.
Much preaching today is worse than a loss of time, It will bring damnation in eternity. Many preachers sound like ball coaches giving a pep-talk at game time. Human wisdom is expounded by some “Right Reverend” clergymen who have obtained their credentials from Such-and Such Theological Seminary and have been “Ordained” by powers that be. The pro’s and con’s of political problems or civic issues are discussed by other men of “the cloth.” The “nice talks” often given are directed more at making men acceptable to themselves rather than acceptable to God. To give hope beyond the grave and salvation in eternity, preaching must go:
(1) Back to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ came to save us from our sins (Jn. 3:16). Angels announced Him as Savior, God with us, Christ the Lord (Matt. 1:18ff; Lk. 2:8ff). His miracles were more than humanitarian deeds, they were witnesses to His Deity (Jn. 5:36). His power to heal proved that “the Son of man bath power on earth to forgive sins” (Jn. 9:6). His death was not misguided zeal or simply an example of sacrificial goodness; but, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”-He died “for many for the remission of sins” (Rom. 5:8; Matt. 26:28). After rising from the dead, Christ proclaimed, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). On the basis of this authority, He sent chosen messengers into all the world to “preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk 16:15-16). For this cause, Paul said, “I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).
(2) Back to the Apostles. The theologies, creeds, confessions, catechisms, clergies, conferences, and conventions of men are just that, and no more: Of Men! The Father did not call for such, Christ did not authorize it, and the Holy Spirit did not reveal it. Who then has the authority to show us Christ and His will? He chose apostles or special messengers in the first century. Through them, He revealed “on earth” the eternal plan of God determined “in heaven” (Matt. 16:19). “All truth” was delivered through them and was to be binding “once for all” ages and all men (Jn. 16:13; Jude 3; 2 Pet. 1:13-15). “The apostles’ doctrine” was “the doctrine of Christ” and, therefore, the absolute standard for understanding “the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (Acts 2:42; 2 Jn. 9; 1 Jn. 4:1-6).
(3) Back to the Bible. When inspired men preached Christ, they did not offer “interpretative dance,” theatrical drama, or paintings to be admired and adored. Rather, they proclaimed Jesus Christ in words . . . which the Holy Ghost teacheth”-words were the vehicles of God’s message (1 Cor. 2:13). The Lord also inspired these men to inscipturate or write down the words of truth (2 Tim. 3:16-17). “The things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). “When ye read, ye may understand” (Eph. 3:4). The message of salvation was first given by mouth and then by pen (2 Thess. 2:15). Bible preaching is the apostolic message of Jesus Christ. For the truth’s sake, we must have this and no other!
Truth Magazine XXII: 49, p. 786
December 14, 1978