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Preaching Christ

June 2017 | by John F. Thornbury

For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Paul the apostle was a man of determination. Before he was converted, he was a fiery zealot for the law of Moses and persecuted those who did not agree with him. After he met Jesus, this passionate disposition was turned to winning people to Christianity.

He was a great preacher, not because of natural eloquence, but because of his message. He preached Jesus. Jesus was the centre of every message — Jesus and his saving work were not negotiable.

If we look at the above Scripture text carefully, we see it is not just about the substitutionary work of Christ, though that is part of it, but it is Jesus himself, and then ‘him crucified’. Paul was a pattern for all preachers, and all who follow his example will have no problem getting a hearing.

Why is this? It is because all people, not just the rich and mighty, need to hear about Jesus — it is he who saves and keeps. Unfortunately, you can go to many churches today and listen to sermons but seldom hear about God’s Son. You occasionally hear about God, but his Son is not exalted.

So we must:

Preach Jesus Christ in all his natures

Jesus is both God and man. As God, he created the world and delivers people from sin and hell. As man, he came to help the fallen, cheer the weak and heal the sick. He sympathises with men even now, as he intercedes at the right hand of God.

As the God-man, Jesus qualifies to be the redeemer. Only God can satisfy God’s holy justice, and only man can suffer. Jesus did both. Because he was deity, his precious blood can cleanse guilty sinners (which we all are). Because he was man, he could die on the cross.

Preach Jesus Christ in all his offices

As Christians, we believe that Jesus was our Prophet, Priest and King. As our Prophet, he teaches us and reveals the will of God. Those who heard him on earth said, ‘No man ever spoke like this man’ (John 7:46).

As our Priest, Jesus made a sacrifice to pay the sin debt. He was the only one who could do it. The priests of the Old Testament offered sacrifices on the altars of the tabernacle and temple. Jesus offered his sacrifice on the heavenly altar. Only this provides a way of forgiveness.

As our King, Jesus rules over us and protects us. The sinner who comes to Jesus receives him in all his offices.

Preach Jesus Christ in all his works

Those who preach the gospel know what Jesus did and why he did it. Jesus in his farewell address to the disciples said that his works were one of the reasons to believe on him (John 14:11).

What are the works of Jesus? All God’s works are done by the purpose of God the Father, through the authority of his Son Jesus. Jesus was the creator of the universe. By him all things consist, or hold together (Colossians 1:16-17).

All the miracles Jesus performed on earth, he did as God. He healed the sick and raised the dead. The greatest work of Jesus is salvation; he came to save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). He did not come to try to save; he came to actually save. If we are redeemed, we owe him all the glory.

Now I have a question for you. When you go to church, do you hear the minister majoring on Jesus Christ and his works? Or do you hear, week after week, pathetic little essays on morality, or some psychological medicine for your emotional illnesses?

Maybe you hear nothing but the wrath and holiness of God, or the thundering of judgment to come? That is good, but only up to a point, for the saints can only be edified and blessed if they hear about the Blessed One.