..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Centrality of Preaching the Gospel of Christ

The centrality of Christ needs proclaiming in
New England. I live in New England and we are
not currently known for having strong
preachers of the gospel.

But that was not always the case. New England
witnessed incredible revivals under the preaching
of such men as Jonathan Edwards, George Whitfield,
Charles Finney, James Redfield.

I attended a meeting here in New England the
other night where a guest preacher from the
southern United States let it rip. It was what
southerner's call "down home preaching."
It wasn't the stereotypical screaming preacher
you hear late nights on the radio. This man
was scriptural, educated, witty, and still
could drive the point clean to the center
of your heart with the two-edged sword.

He kept at it for a politically incorrect long time.
He kept at it when we missed his cues to shout
"Amen, preach it, brother!" back it him. (We
northerners can be slow to shout in the middle
of sermons.) He was the kind of man who would
keep at it if we were throwing rotten eggs at
him or had a gun put to his head. May God
increase his numbers.

I sat there thinking how crucial the uncompromised
preaching of the gospel is to the gospel, to New
England, and to our nation at this ever-darkening

I just saw Mark Driscoll on YouTube.
It's refreshing to see a man stand up for the
preaching of the gospel and to call men
to present Jesus as He really is. Jesus was not a
naive hippie who advocated aromatherapy
and peace marches as a cure for the world's sin
besotted state. (No offence intended toward
hippies in general or aromatherapy in particular).

Jesus is the Lord of Lords and calls all people
to follow Him completely and without reserve,
even unto death. He calls for men with the
gospel of God burning in their bones to stand
up and preach it without reserve. How
societally incorrect.

Paul said that the gospel is the "power of God
unto salvation" (Romans 1:16). He also asks,
"How can they call on Him in whom they have
not believed, and how shall they believe in
Him who they have not heard? And how shall
they hear without a preacher? And how shall
they preach unless they be sent? (Romans

When was the last time you really heard
the thunderous message of the gospel
preached to you, regardless
of where you live? Let us implore
heaven to ensure godly preachers get to
preaching and then, keep preaching.

Jesus went about preaching, teaching and
healing the sick. He was not known to
hold back. His disciples covered the world
with his message, each dying martyr's
death, save John, who was still probably
preaching in his 90's. John, the one who
left us the Book of Revelation to chew on
as his farewell tome. Not exactly beach or
bedside reading.

We will not have revival, we will not
even have healthy churches, biblical
conversion, or even understand what God
demands of us if the uncompromised gospel of
Christ is not preached from our pulpits
and street-corners.

This does not take away from teachers
and encouragers and those called to
other forms of service. We are all
called to LIVE the gospel and preach
it by any means possible. The kingpin
I speak of here is the verbal proclamation
of the gospel through anointed preaching.
And the punchline of that preaching has
to be Christ crucified, resurrected and
reigning supremely in our lives--not just
in theory but in incarnational truth.

If we preach a gospel that is unclear or
substandard we sound a trumpet
with an unclear message. Noise is
heard but not as a call to repentance,
not as a message requiring utter
obedience to God, not as a herald of the
singularity of the saving work of Christ.

The prophet Jeremiah knew what
it was like to have the word of
God shut up inside him. He knew
what it was like to HAVE to preach.
The word of God should be like a
fire shut up inside. Fire burning
in one's bones (Jeremiah 20:9).

I known at least one world-class,
big-league preacher. He is not
the kind of man who would be
sitting around on a Saturday night
thinking, "Gee, I wonder whatever
I could preach about in the morning?"
The fire is burning within. People
like this get sick or explode
if they can't get the word out.

But so often "another" gospel is heard
and preached in our pulpits. It is the
gospel of politics, or the gospel of
self-improvement, or the gospel of
financial success, or the gospel of
popularity or the gospel of American
values, or the gospel of how we hope
religion could be. The list is endless.
But there is only one gospel and it
is God's gospel and that Gospel
is all about the kingdom of our God
and of His Christ and His imminent
reign for ever and ever.

Can somebody say "amen"?

Our hearts will not get to the place
where they need to be unless the
gospel is preached to us. Not just
to "accept" Jesus, as if He needed our
acceptance, but to make Him
absolute Lord over every area of
my life and yours. Have you heard
that kind of preaching lately?

If you haven't, then start praying
for the preaching of the gospel to
be raised up in the place where
you go to church. If you are ever
in New England and hear preaching
coming from the ground, it is not
the rocks crying out. It is the fiery
spit of gospel preachers who have
gone before us, preachers who did
not know the meaning of the
word compromise, rising up from the
ground. If only for their sake's
the gospel of God is sure to rise
up again here in New England.

"Preach the word, in season and
out of season" (2 Tim. 4:2). It is
certainly what it necessary to the
salvation of our very souls, and it
is certainly out of season.

In the next post or two I will be
talking about impediments to
the preaching of the gospel.
I hope you'll stop by and have a

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