Contents of Preaching The Gospel of Christ:
by: Joe R. Price
Preaching Christ and Him crucified is gospel preaching (1 Corinthians 1:23). "The word of the cross" is the power of God to save lost souls (1 Corinthians 1:18; Romans 1:16). This is so because it reveals how God acquits man of his sins and what man must do to receive forgiveness of his sins (Romans 1:17).
The apostle Paul observed that when he preached at Corinth he "determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2). Some have concluded that to preach Jesus is only to emphasize the life and death of Jesus, but not the doctrines found in the epistles of His inspired apostles and prophets. In effect we are told that Jesus is more important than His doctrine. This approach minimizes the importance of "doctrine" while allowing for a subjective interpretation of the gospel. Each man is then able to decide for himself what is important teaching and what is not. Consequently, Jesus and His life are often used to validate unscriptural doctrines and practices. While we must indeed preach the events of the cross of Christ, we should remember it was His death that dedicated a "new covenant" which we must obey in order to be saved (Hebrews 9:15-18). We cannot disobey His covenant, the New Testament, and have eternal life.
In our desire preach the cross of Christ we must clearly know what that preaching includes. Does it include the plan of salvation? Does it include principles of divine authority? Does it include the work and organization of the church? Does it include teaching about sin? Does it include instruction on human obedience? Does it include preaching the fulfillment of prophecy? The scriptures reveal that we can answer "yes" to all of these questions.
In Acts 8:5, Philip "proclaimed unto them the Christ." We find in Acts 8:12 that he preached the gospel of "the kingdom of God" (he preached the church, Matt. 16:18-19). He also preached "the name of Jesus Christ" (that is, Christ's divine authority, His right to rule our lives - Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:20-23). He also preached baptism (he taught God's plan of salvation, Mark 16:15-16). This means he preached about sin from which men must be saved (Acts 2:37-38, 40). Those who believed the gospel obeyed it and were saved from their sins, Acts 8:12-13 (thus we conclude he preached man's responsibility of faith and obedience). In Acts 8:35, Philip "preached Jesus" from Isaiah 53:7ff. Therefore, preaching that Jesus fulfilled prophecy is a part of preaching the Savior to lost men.
Indeed, we may say that preaching the New Testament is tantamount to preaching Christ and Him crucified. The apostles' doctrine is that which they preached and which lost souls believed and obeyed in order to be saved from their sins (Acts 2:41-42). The gospel they preached was not their own, it was revealed to them by the Holy Spirit (John 16:12-15; Galatians 1:11-12; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). It is the "word of the cross" (1 Corinthians 1:18).
We must not make distinctions in God's word where there are none. When we preach the cross of Christ we preach His sacrifice for our sins, man's faith and obedience, Christ's church and His authority over our lives, and everything else contained in inspired scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-4:2).
by: Joe R. Price
"...but speaking truth in love, may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ." (Ephesians 4:15) The objective of speaking truth is the salvation and spiritual growth of men (Romans 1:16). To achieve this we must speak truth "in love." Being harsh, crude, or rude is alienating rather than instructive.
We know that love "rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth" (1 Corinthians 13:6). Therefore, it is the person who speaks the truth to the one who needs to hear it that truly loves that person. So often we are tempted to believe just the opposite is true. By not "hurting their feelings," instead of telling them the truth they need to hear, we are really only protecting ourselves and harming them (cf. Galatians 4:16). How can we "speak truth in love?" Let me elaborate.
We are commanded to "preach the word, be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching" (2 Timothy 4:2). When we use the word of God to "reprove, rebuke, exhort" we are loving those who hear the word. This is the God-ordained way of helping to correct those who are in error and sin (cf. 2 Timothy 2:24-26). Sadly, some Christians think the way to love people is to never confront them about their sin. One Christian recently observe to me that "maybe sometimes we are too sweet with people" to the point that they fail to understand the seriousness of sin upon their spiritual condition. This Christian is right. Unless we are willing to speak what needs to be spoken, how will we ever restore a brother or sister who has fallen into sin (Galatians 6:1-2)? Neither can we wait for the one who has been overtaken by sin to come to us for help. That rarely happens! We must see the need, go to them, and then speak truth in love to them.
In Ephesians 4:14-16 we find three reasons why we must speak truth in love:
1. To avoid error and spiritual destruction (v. 14). Without divine truth to guide us we will be tossed about as a ship in a storm until we finally break apart on the rocks of manmade doctrine and error.
2. To help each other grow in faith (v. 15). Truth helps us grow up in Christ. If we see the importance of physical growth, surely we can understand that without spiritual growth we will remain weak and susceptible to sin and death. The truth of God is designed to promote our growth and spiritual well-being (1 Peter 2:1-2).
3. To strengthen the church (v. 16). As we receive the truth and obey it we become a functioning part of the body of Christ, contributing to its stability and maturity. And, notice that the apostle says this sort of edification of the body is consistent with love.
So, the next time you are tempted to not speak the truth that needs to be spoken, ask yourself if you really love the person(s) involved. Love speaks truth. It does it remain silent. By speaking truth in love, we will help save and strengthen souls in the kingdom of Christ.
by: Joe R. Price
Conviction seems to be a rather "politically incorrect" thing to have these days in the religious world (unless, of course, you have conviction against having any religious convictions!!). Nevertheless, there is one subject about which every morally responsible person on the face of this earth ought to be convicted. That is his personal sin against God.
The reason everyone needs such a conviction is because all have sinned against God (Romans 3:23). To be convicted about something is just about the same thing as being convinced of it. But, I need to understand that being convicted of my sins means more than just knowing that I have sinned. It also involves being brought to shame for my sins so that I am compelled to look to God for His forgiveness.
The gospel of Jesus Christ makes it very clear that every sinner must be convicted of his sin before he can ever be saved in Christ. Without being convicted of his sin, the sinner will not be moved by godly sorrow to repent of them (2 Corinthians 7:10). Like Peter, when we are convicted (convinced) of our sins, we ought to go out and weep bitterly (Luke 22:62). If not, there will be no confession of the name of Christ and no baptism into Christ for the remission of his sins.
How has God ordained that I (and every other sinner) be convicted (convinced and brought to shame) of my sins? In John 16:8, Jesus promised that the Comforter (the Holy Spirit, v. 7, 13) would "convict the world in respect of sin" when He was sent to the apostles of Christ (John 16:8-15). When the Holy Spirit inspired the apostles to preach the word of God on the day of Pentecost, 3,000 sinners were convicted of their sins (Acts 2:37, 41). This conviction led them to repent and be baptized. God convicts sinners of their sin through the word of truth when it is preached to them.
What happens when one is convicted of his sins by the word of God? According to Acts 2:37, sinners are "pricked in their heart" by truth and their rebellion against it. This causes godly sorrow for their sin against God, which leads to repentance and obedience to the will of God (2 Corinthians 7:10; Acts 26:20). If you are convicted of your sins you need to repent of them and be baptized for forgiveness (or as a Christian, be faithful again).
When does God want us to be convicted of our sins? Although it may be a great temptation to put off obeying God and being forgiven of our sins, that is a tragic mistake. When we delay obeying God we are hardening our hearts and acting in unbelief (Hebrews 3:13). Today is the moment to be so moved by conviction over your sins that you are compelled to not put God off any longer (Hebrews 3:7-8). If you have sinned against God, you will die in your sin (Romans 6:23). Why haven't you obeyed the gospel so your sins can be forgiven? Be convicted of your sins and start living for God today!
Last modified: 08/03/2017.