I want to share the blessings of a Christ-centered ministry and the many blessings that follow it!
It is exciting to see God work in miracles and to see the effects on the many lives of those who have experienced them.
I used to minister ina way that was perhaps more of a ministry of judgment, trying to be like some preacher of the past like Charles Finney, Jonathan Edwards, etc.., only to find I was following a pattern that was not necessarily the pattern of God’s Gospel. I say this, NOT to get into an argument about whether these men were used by God or not, but all things must be tested by the touchstone of SCRIPTURE no matter how wise or logical things might appear to be since it is the Scriptures that will judge us, and NOT what other men have believed. Either those men are our examples, or Jesus Christ and the early Apostles are the intended examples given to us by God to follow. I am not sitting in judgment on such men of the past, they will stand or fall to their own Master, but I must minister as God has revealed to me, knowing I will be judged, NOT by those saints of the past, but by the Word of God.
Jesus rebuked His disciples when they wanted to call “fire” down from heaven as Elijah did upon those men who rejected the Lord’s ministry in a certain place. He told them “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of”, and I feel that He might have told me the same thing in years past when I prided myself in being a preacher of so-called righteousness, when, in fact, the righteousness I preached was not necessarily that righteousness set forth in the New Testament. Was Jesus implying that Elijah was of the wrong spirit? Was He demeaning Elijah, or rather, perhaps He was telling them that an Elijah ministry was not what God had planned for the generation in which they were living. There are preachers a’many on the internet, like Paul Washer, a Calvinist, and others who specialize in trying to make the saved feel as if they are really lost, when, in many cases, they aren’t lost at all! Some preachers revel in this kind of so-called ministry and delight in seeing how many people they can offend in their so-called exposing of hypocrites, and, in so doing, pride themselves that they themselves are the only ones who are right with God! And while this may make them feel like great prophets of judgment, the scripture exhorts rather that we “comfort” and “edify” the saints: “let ALL things be done unto EDIFYING” Paul wrote. For some, I fear, have gone off into a false Gospel of preaching Judgment instead of Christ! And, in so doing, some such have fallen into condemnation under their own words and found themselves guilty of the same or similar things of which they have condemned others:
“Be not righteous overmuch, neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself ?” (Ecc. 7:16)
If you will hear me out, and be honest with yourself, I think you will have to acknowledge that the things I write, I write NOT to offend, but to show a “MORE EXCELLENT WAY”, the way of real love, “For God is Love.” Nor do I write these things to ridicule those who might not have received this light yet, but to guide such safely back to the original pattern of the Bible, that they might see what made the early Church successful in that pagan world in which they found themselves. I think we will see, if we are willing to look, that they did not spend their time preoccupied with the appalling conditions of the political system they lived under, nor did they become involved in its politics in their preaching. Rather, they occupied themselves with ONE obsession, the preaching of JESUS CHRIST!
“Now to Him that is of power to ESTABLISH YOU according to my Gospel, and the PREACHING OF JESUS CHRIST...” (Rom. 16:25)
HOW did the Apostles win, establish and transform people’s lives? We can see some vital truths as set forth by the Apostle Paul in Romans 15 (18):
“For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ.”
Notice, Paul said the success of ministry is the result, NOT of his talents, but: “Through MIGHTY SIGNS AND WONDERS,
by THE POWER of the Spirit of God...”
This is God’s method, and only God can bring people into “OBEDIENCE - by WORD and DEED”, namely, by the ministry of “signs and wonders” and by “the POWER of the Spirit of God”! And WHAT IS THAT POWER?
“CHRIST THE POWER OF GOD...” (1 Cor. 1:24)
How many of us would like to see our people “obedient”, both “in word” and “in deed”??? Isn’t this every preacher’s desire?
Do you think you have a better way than Paul’s method? Paul’s method was the preaching of JESUS CHRIST!
“CHRIST THE POWER OF GOD"
The Holy Spirit is the sole converter of men’s souls through the ministry of the Good News, and the minister must PROCLAIM the expectation of His mighty workings lest he offer the people a powerless Gospel, for FAITH “cometh by HEARING” and hearing comes by the preaching of the “WORD” which is CHRIST!
“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth...”
Just WHAT ARE these WORDS which the Holy Ghost TEACHES???
His wisdom is CHRIST!
His words are the CROSS and the RESURRECTION of JESUS!
His POWER to convert men’s souls and to build them up, from beginning to end, is nothing other than CHRIST JESUS!
We must rid ourselves of this idea that Christ is only the message when salvation is needed, for he is the message that KEEPS us saved AFTER we are saved! NOT simply “rooted” in Him, but ‘BUILT UP IN HIM ALSO”!
As Paul wrote in Colossians, Christ is NOT simply the One we need to be “rooted” in, but is equally the One in Whom we are to be “BUILT UP”!
The ten spies in the book of Numbers had more to say about warning the people about the giants and the high walls than they did in telling of God’s power to keep and give them victory and the hearts of the people were discouraged! AND THEY DID FALL! If more ministers would be like Caleb and Joshua, and spend more time preaching CHRIST as the One Who is “able to keep” us “from falling” rather than always emphasizing our ability to fall; and if they would spend more time on the security of the believer rather than the believer’s ability to ‘lose out’ as they say, we might find a lot more of our co-believers able to “stand” and trusting the Lord’s promises to keep them! FAITH cometh by HEARING and so also does UNBELIEF! If we are always preaching on the believer’s ability to fall, then we will produce in them a fear and a faith to ‘fall’. I am not implying that one cannot fall, this reality has its place, BUT SO ALSO DO THE SCRIPTURES THAT TELL US THAT HE IS ABLE TO “KEEP US” FROM FALLING!
“Now to Him that is of power to ESTABLISH YOU
according to my Good News,
and the PREACHING OF JESUS CHRIST...” (Rom. 16:25)
IT IS “THE PREACHING OF JESUS CHRIST” AND HIS POWER TO KEEP US THAT ESTABLISHES MEN’S SOULS! THIS IS THE GOOD NEWS, BUT THERE IS NOTHING “GOOD” ABOUT PREACHING A CHRIST THAT CANNOT KEEP US!
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.”
Why is it that so many ministers cannot preach this promise of Christ without adding “of course you can walk out of His hand...” etc.. This totally takes the assurance out of Christ’s promise and robs it of its power! HE didn’t think it necessary to attach such a statement to it so why do we think it incumbant on OURSELVES to add it??? We must learn to stop seeing every scripture as an opportunity to attack false doctrine and let the scripture stand on its own. Every listener we preach to is NOT a Calvinist and there is no need to constantly belabor the point! This can become an unhealthy attitude on our part and an opportunity to constantly attack an enemy that may not even be present. If we aren’t careful, we can end up preaching a message that only shows off our knowledge and ability to refute false doctrines, and that has nothing to do with the command of Christ to preach the Good News.
The Spirit always glorifies JESUS and requires that every minister PREACH HIM, by “words...which the Holy Ghost teacheth” telling of HIS mighty POWER through the CROSS, where man was brought back into ALL the blessings God intended for him! This requires miracles and no power or ability of our own can substitute for that which is only possible through supernatural workings:
“WITHOUT ME YE CAN DO NOTHING.”
“Not by might, nor by power, but
BY MY SPIRIT
saith the Lord of Hosts...”
MIRACLES HAPPEN THROUGH THE PREACHING OF CHRIST AND THE CROSS!
"CHRIST THE POWER OF GOD...” (1 Cor. 1:24)
If we want POWER in our Church, we must preach CHRIST!
Paul wrote to the church,
“But God forbid that I should Glory, save
IN THE CROSS of our LORD JESUS CHRIST...” (Gal. 6:14)
And again, “I determined not to know ANYTHING among you, save JESUS CHRIST and HIM CRUCIFIED.”
And again, “the PREACHING OF THE CROSS...is
the POWER OF GOD...”! (1 Cor. 1:18)
God’s power is not unleashed through clever illustrations or quotations of men of the world (even if they are renowned of the world for their successes), for as Jesus said,
“That which is highly esteemed among men is ABOMINATION in the sight of God” (Lke.16:15)
God’s power is released when God’s SON is being magnified through preaching!
Jesus IS the Good News!
IT IS NOTHING LESS THAN THE PREACHING OF JESUS THAT STIRS MEN’S HEARTS!
Hear the words of those disciples who walked with Him by the way:
“Did not our heart BURN WITHIN US while He talked with us by the way, and while HE OPENED TO US THE SCRIPTURES?”
And WHY did their hearts burn???
For “beginning at Moses and ALL the prophets, He expounded unto them IN ALL THE SCRIPTURES THE THINGS CONCERNING-
HE HIMSELF IS THE OPENING OF THE TRUE MEANING OF THE SCRIPTURES! THE SCRIPTURES ARE A REVELATION OF “HIMSELF”!
“For THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS
IS THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY” (Rev. 19:10)
ALL PROPHECY POINTS TO HIM!
“Yea, and ALL THE PROPHETS from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.” (Acts 3:24)
As John Gill mentioned in his commentary:
“now not only Moses spoke of Christ, but all the prophets from the time of Samuel; in the books that bear his name, stands a famous prophecy concerning Christ, (2nd Samuel 7:13,14,16). And those that follow after; in order, as David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc. and as many as have spoken; anything by way of prophecy: have likewise foretold of these days; of the days of the Messiah...”
And again, this quote from a comment one has written on another website in regard to the use of the Bible concordance:
“One of the most important uses for a Bible Concordance is the study of Bible structure and integration. The entire Bible (66 books written by 40 authors over a period of approximately 1,600 years) tells the story of the world's Redeemer. Every story, every genealogy, every number, every page, every detail speaks of the Messiah..."
And again, as Paul wrote:
“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and THAT ROCK WAS CHRIST" (1 Cor. 10:1-4).
The Rock from whence came Living Water, the Manna, the Tabernacle, the Altar, the Priests, the Sacrifices, the Ark, the Table of Showbread, the Feasts, and even Joseph, Joshua, and other Patriarchs were all shadows of HIM Who was to come!
Yes! The Scriptures are NOT simply a revelation of end-time events, BUT are far more cohesive than that - they are a revelation of JESUS CHRIST and how all end-time events relate to HIM and HIS PLAN for all things:
“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one ALL THINGS IN CHRIST, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him...” (Eph. 1:10)
CHRIST is the ALPHA and OMEGA of ALL THINGS and ALL PROPHECIES!
CHRIST IS THE CENTER OF ALL CREATION AND THE GOAL OF THE GOSPEL TO GATHER ALL NATIONS, TRIBES AND TONGUES INTO CHRIST JESUS! SHOULD HE NOT EQUALLY BE THE CENTER AND SUBJECT OF ALL PREACHING? EVEN GOD THE FATHER DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WITHOUT HIS SON:
“ALL THINGS WERE MADE BY HIM,
AND WITHOUT HIM WAS NOT ANYTHING MADE
THAT WAS MADE.” (John 1:2-3)
If the Father Himself would do nothing without Christ, HOW DO WE THINK WE CAN???
If all the prophecies and symbols and shadows were pointing to JESUS, then how and why do ministers look for so many other things to preach about as if BLIND to the real message - JESUS CHRIST!
THE APOSTLES PREACHED JESUS CHRIST!
In Acts 5(42) we read:
“And DAILY in the Temple, and IN EVERY HOUSE, they CEASED NOT to TEACH and PREACH-
They NEVER CEASED preaching and teaching JESUS CHRIST!
Paul wrote to the church at Colosse in warning them from being side-tracked by those who wanted to turn them away from a full and total dependence upon JESUS by looking to be justified by keeping Sabbaths and Holy Days and Levitical dietary laws!
But notice what Paul wrote about JESUS-
“WHOM WE PREACH”
Not WHAT we preach, but “WHOM” WE PREACH!
“Warning every man”: Namely, that there was danger of focusing on methods other than Christ for salvation.
“Teaching every man”: Namely, teaching every man that everything one needs to be saved is to be found ONLY IN JESUS and NOT in anything else!
“That we may present EVERY MAN PERFECT, or COMPLETE-
“IN CHRIST JESUS”!!!
This is why Paul preached and taught everyone that in JESUS alone can we find salvation, sanctification, wisdom, and redemption!
Notice Paul’s revelation and warning in Col. (2:8-9):
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit and not after CHRIST.
For IN HIM dwelleth ALL THE FULNESS of the Godhead...”
“AND YE ARE COMPLETE (FULL) IN HIM.”
ARE WE COMPLETE IN JESUS OR NOT???
PAUL SAID WE ARE. THE POTENTIAL FOR EVERYTHING WE NEED IS WRAPPED UP IN CHRIST, AND ALL WE MUST DO IS LEARN HOW TO APPROPRIATE IT!
WE MUST EVER ALLOW JESUS TO TEACH US:
“If so be that ye have heard him, and have been TAUGHT BY HIM, as THE TRUTH IS IN-
It is ONLY as we unvail JESUS that His glory is revealed to the people and they are thus “CHANGED” as we read in 2 Cor. (3:18):
“But we all, with open face BEHOLDING (GAZING AT)
THE GLORY OF THE LORD (JESUS)
are CHANGED into the SAME IMAGE,
From GLORY to GLORY
EVEN AS BY THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD.”
Thus, it is as we continually look “unto Jesus” that we are changed into His same image through the agency of the Spirit!
The Spirit “changes” and transforms us into the very “likeness” of JESUS only as we BEHOLD HIS GLORY!
If we then, will magnify JESUS through the Word of His Gospel, holding Him up before the people’s eyes, the Holy Spirit will then have the necessary IMAGE to transform the people!
It is the Spirit that “convicts” through the preaching of JESUS, for the Spirit of Truth, Jesus said, will “Glorify ME...”
Real Spirit-filled preaching is that preaching that glorifies JESUS!
What convicted Isaiah in Isaiah chapter 6?
“I saw the LORD high and lifted up...”
THIS! This is what brought such conviction to Isaiah!
He SAW the glory of JESUS!
Note what John wrote in John 12:41 concerning Isaiah’s vision:
“These things said Esaias, WHEN HE SAW HIS GLORY, and spake of HIM.”
What caused John to fall as dead in Revelation chapter one? Was it not the vision of CHRIST in His Glory???
And what of Daniel? He saw the pre-incarnate Christ and said, “Therefore I was left alone, and saw
THIS GREAT VISION,
and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.” (Dan. 10:8)
It is now the glorifying of JESUS, not the Mosaic Law, that the Spirit brings conviction unto salvation through!
God has made us ministers of LIFE!
“Who also hath made us ABLE MINISTERS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT;
NOT OF THE LETTER, but OF THE SPIRIT:
FOR THE LETTER KILLETH,
but the Spirit giveth LIFE.
But if THE MINISTRATION OF DEATH, WRITTEN AND ENGRAVEN IN STONES, was glorious…which glory was
TO BE DONE AWAY: (2 COR. 3:6-7)
Notice Paul’s references to the Old Covenant in the following terms:
“THE MINISTRATION OF DEATH” (2 Cor. 3:7)
“THE MINISTRATION OF CONDEMNATION” (2 Cor. 3:9)
“THAT WHICH IS DONE AWAY” (2 Cor. 3:11)
“THAT WHICH IS ABOLISHED” (2 Cor. 3:13)
The Old Covenant of the Law served only to show the Jews that they were unable to live up to it as a means of salvation, and were thus in need of a NEW Covenant, one that would both SAVE them and give them a NEW NATURE!
“Wherefore the Law was our schoolmaster
TO BRING US UNTO CHRIST,
that we might be justified BY FAITH.” (Gal. 3:24)
“but after that FAITH is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster (the Mosaic Law)” (Gal. 3:25)
Paul said we are NOT under Law, but under GRACE,
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the Law, but under GRACE.” (Rom. 6:14)
We are they whom James said shall be judged by “the perfect LAW of LIBERTY”!
“For the LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS hath made me FREE from the Law of sin and death”!
JESUS is NOW the STANDARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS through Whom God will judge the world as found in Acts 17:31:
“Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will JUDGE the world ... BY THAT MAN whom He hath ordained...”
By the Law of Moses? NAY! But BY “THAT MAN” - JESUS CHRIST!
JESUS is God’s standard of righteousness for all men, and it is this standard to which He holds us!
It is through glorifying Jesus that the Spirit convicts the world of sin, and of righteousness (i.e. Christ’s) and of judgment...
“BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE NOT ON ME.”
The REAL SIN here is that of NOT BELIEVING ON JESUS!
It is NOT so much preaching the horrors of sin that God uses to save men, but in the glorifying of Jesus and the proclamation of Him as the only Savior from it!
It isn’t that sin shouldn’t be looked upon as horrible, but SIN, though a subject of the Gospel, is not the Good News the Gospel offers, for the Good news is JESUS CHRIST!
One must preach MORE than the CURSE, one must also preach the CURE! (Some major more on the curse than they do on the CURE!)
The Gospel is the GOOD NEWS about God’s love for us through all that His Son did for us to DELIVER US FROM SATAN AND SIN!
The preaching of the Law, or, Old Covenant, brings only “DEATH” , but the preaching of the New Covenant brings “LIFE”:
“Who also hath made us ABLE MINISTERS of the NEW TESTAMENT; NOT of the LETTER, but of THE SPIRIT: for the letter KILLETH, but the SPIRIT GIVETH LIFE.” (2 Cor. 3:6)
Paul insists we are NOT MINISTERS OF THE LETTER, or THE LAW. If he intended it to be so, he would NEVER have written this. Nay, we are MINISTERS OF THE SPIRIT, the NEW CONTRACT!
Ambassadors sent preaching RECONCILIATION with God-
“NOT IMPUTING THEIR TRESPASSES UNTO THEM”
but IMPARTING THE GRACE OF FORGIVENESS through the ministry of the “remission of sins”.
We are not mandated to preach the Law before we can get men saved. Nowhere in scripture is this idea propagated. When Paul wrote “I had not known sin except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” etc., he was simply explaining that, as a Jew, while he attempted to keep the law, he never found it able to justify him, but rather to expose his sins! Paul was NOT saying that sinners will never know they are such unless we preach the Law to them first, that was not his point at all.
Many in the book of Acts were converted without first hearing a discourse on the Law. Paul’s teaching of the use of the Law in Romans is simply a treatise of the fact that, as a Jew, the Law could NOT save him, but rather CONDEMNED him! Thus, the need for a New Covenant - a Covenant of GRACE! He was not telling us that the Law could save anyone, nor that it was always a necessary sermon subject that must precede the preaching of the Gospel, but rather, that it taught him his need of a different message, A MESSAGE OF LIBERATING, GOOD NEWS!
To say that we must first preach the Law before we can preach the Gospel would require Paul to have said that we are ‘ministers of BOTH the LETTER AND the SPIRIT’! That we must KILL before we can make ALIVE! But that is NOT what he wrote:
“Who also hath made us ABLE MINISTERS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT-
NOT OF THE LETTER, but OF THE SPIRIT:”
God will make every one of His Ministers ABLE to minister the SPIRIT of LIFE to the people if we will surrender to His working and preach the Good News of JESUS!
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me FREE FROM THE LAW of sin and death. For what the Law COULD NOT DO…” (Rom. 8:1-3)
The Law of Moses was a system that “COULD NOT”, i.e., was POWERLESS to make us righteous!
The Old Covenant, as a system of works to save one’s self, is what has been done away with. “NOT of works, lest any man should boast”.
“For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.” (Acts 15:21)
Nowhere do we find in the book of Acts that the Apostles always preceded their preaching of the Gospel by preaching the Law of Moses first. In fact, they were warned that the Mosaic Law couldn’t save anyone.
“But we believe that through the GRACE of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” (Acts 15:11)
The repentance the Jews were exhorted to was a repentance of their unbelief in and rejection of Jesus as the Christ sent by God, Whom they had crucified!
No, the Old Covenant was a system of laws given to the Jews. It was a system of salvation through works designed to save all who could keep them in every point, and yet, no one found it possible! Thus, the Law was a demand that was impossible for sinful men to keep! The Law then, proved to be INADEQUATE to bring anyone into a state of righteousness before God!
“But now the righteousness of God WITHOUT THE LAW is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets...” (Rom. 3:22)
This is the righteousness that is only acquired by FAITH in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(This is NOT to say that in teaching, we should not expound on the original purpose of the Law and why it was given, but simply, that it is nowhere given as a prerequisite to proclaiming the Gospel. And, while the Mosaic Law itself is “ABOLISHED” as a system of salvation, the righteousness and morals of love demanded by it are not. Yet it could NEVER produce either righteousness, morals, or love as these can only be acquired through the birth of a NEW NATURE that only Christ can bring!)
Note the words of Paul in 2 Cor. 5:19:
“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself,
not imputing their trespasses unto them;
and hath committed unto us the WORD of RECONCILIATION.”
The Law was a system IMPUTING MEN’S SINS UNTO THEM, but GRACE is a system REMITTING MEN’S SINS, IMPARTING RIGHTEOUSNESS unto them.
Do we spend our time just trying to impute men’s sins unto them?
What was His message to the impotent man?
“Thy sins be FORGIVEN thee”
Did he lecture or scold the man first for why or how he had gotten into that condition? No, simply,
“Thy sins be FORGIVEN thee”
“For God sent NOT His Son into the world to CONDEMN the world; but that the world THROUGH HIM might be SAVED.” (John 3:17)
When Jesus met the woman at the well, He was aware that the man she was living with was NOT her husband, yet He did not use the occasion to preach about the evils of adultery, but used the opportunity to offer her LIVING WATER!
Neither did he focus on her need to repent. WHY? Did she need to repent? Of course, yet Christ brought her to repentance by a different means, NOT by preaching the Law of Moses to her, but BY OFFERING HER LIVING WATER - GOOD NEWS!
He offered her something GREATER than her sin!
He got her so excited about Himself and the living water that she forgot about why she went to the well in the first place!
Many, just like her, come to church, never realizing what will happen to them before they leave, but they hear about and taste the Living Water and leave out far different than the way they arrived! And, just like that Samaritan woman, don’t need a three week course in soul winning to become soul winners, for they become soul winners spontaneously once they have encountered Jesus Christ in all His power! That is not to say that we don’t ultimately need instruction or wisdom in dealing with others, but there is nothing like the zeal and influence of that soul who has just met Jesus and whose life has been transformed by His delivering power! Yes, the newborn saint is generally more effective than those pew warmers who can TELL you HOW to win souls, but never seem to do it themselves!
It has been my experience that when people encounter the supernatural power of God in a service, they become soul-winners spontaneously and much more is accomplished in the growth of the Church this way than simply in warning and trying to discipline people to go soul winning!
Let us then PREACH, TEACH and LIFT UP JESUS as the Holy Spirit does, and as the early Apostles did, and thus we shall see people’s lives transformed and transfigured into the only image that matters, and we will thus be able to present every man
“IN CHRIST JESUS”!
“FOR WE PREACH NOT OURSELVES, BUT CHRIST JESUS THE LORD...”
What are YOU preaching???
Is it only a message based around your personal experience, establishing your experience as the norm and standard for everyone else??? As though, people aren’t saved unless they got it the same way you did??? What then of Paul’s statement, “FOR WE PREACH NOT OURSELVES”???
Is your preaching based on some clever illustration or historical account from world history you have found, OR, are you preaching JESUS THE WORD and DEMONSTRATING HIS POWER to those who come to hear you???
There is enough material in the scriptures to keep us occupied until Christ comes back!
The Holy Spirit uses the WORD, i.e., the GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST to do His convicting and transforming work, NOT just clever illustrations from history or otherwise!
Why not proclaim the many illustrations found in scripture?
Why not quote Peter, James and John???
I need not look to clever quotes from so-called great men outside of scripture to attempt to make a point or impress others!
(This, of course, is NOT to imply that one can never use illustrations etc.., but that our message needs to be more SCRIPTURE-CENTERED and CHRIST-GLORIFYING rather than just some clever quotes we have dug up.)
Some may feel they have really been used of God if they can get some sinner to weep at the altar, but if they haven’t brought the person to repentance and FAITH in CHRIST, what have they accomplished???
Some only give Christ an honorable mention at the end of their sermon, because they are more preoccupied with some gripe they hold for those in their congregation or someone who constantly gives them trouble, and then pride themselves in thinking they have preached the Gospel. Thus, the devil has succeeded in keeping some so preoccupied with the “TARES” that they uproot the “WHEAT” in the process, although Christ warned us against this very thing! Then they wonder why their church never grows.
Please don’t impugn me for something I am not saying. I am not saying that sin should never be named or mentioned in our preaching - but that it MUST be kept in its proper context! The Gospel pulpit was never meant to be a platform simply for railing against SIN, but for LIFTING UP THE SAVIOR FROM SIN!
THE MAIN SUBJECT IS, AND MUST ALWAYS BE - JESUS CHRIST.
Let us lift up the message of the CROSS,
Where Christ became a CURSE, so we might be fully BLESSED! (Gal. 3:13)
Where He was made POOR, that we might be made RICH! (2 Cor. 8:9)
Where His body was BROKEN, that ours might be made WHOLE! (1 Cor. 11:24)
Where He was REJECTED, that we might be forever ACCEPTED! (Eph. 1:6)
Where he was made WEAK, that we might be made STRONG! (2 Cor. 13:4)
Where He DIED, that we might be made ALIVE! (1 Thess. 5:10)
Here is the promise of wealth, blessing, health, strength, acceptance and Life eternal!
If we will preach ALL His PROMISES, men will see that He has made every provision for us, not just in eternity, but right here and now!
“And every one that was IN DISTRESS,
and every one that was IN DEBT,
and every one that was DISCONTENTED,
gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them:
and there were with him about four hundred men.” (1 Sam. 22:2)
Through what Jesus, our David, has done for us on the cross, we may promise those who are IN DEBT and impoverished, that God has provided a way out - if we will believe His promise of deliverance through Jesus’ work on the cross, and that He will work miracles of financial blessing, healing for our bodies, and blessings in every other area of our lives!
JESUS is truly the answer IN EVERY AREA OF OUR LIVES!
Spiritually, He is our SANCTIFICATION, our WISDOM, and our REDEMPTION!
MIRACLES - GOD’S METHOD
Look at Phillip:
“And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.” (Acts 8:6)
Phillip demonstrated the Gospel in working the miracles for the people which they so desperately needed!
He walked into a cult stronghold and wasn’t intimidated because he knew that “GREATER IS HE” that was living in him, than what was behind Simon the sorcerer!
He went in preaching “THE KINGDOM OF GOD” AND THE POWER THAT RESIDED IN “THE NAME OF JESUS”!
“But when they believed Philip preaching the THINGS concerning the KINGDOM OF GOD, and the NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, they were baptized, both men and women.” (Acts 8:12)
He told them that when Jesus is present, satan’s power is broken, and that God’s Kingdom prevails in destroying satan’s works over people’s lives through the NAME of JESUS!
No doubt he told them what Christ promised, that “these signs shall follow them that believe; in MY NAME” demons would be cast out, and that in HIS NAME the sick would recover!
The people saw that Philip’s message was one of far greater power than the one Simon was offering!
We can see some vital truths as set forth by the Apostle Paul in Romans 15 (18):
“For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God...”
“Through mighty SIGNS and WONDERS”
Did not Jesus promise this???
Did He not promise every believer would do both GREATER and the SAME WORKS???
Are we only HEARERS, or are we DOERS???
Are we doing the same works and greater???
Are we not responsible???
Are we afraid, or do we truly believe Christ’s Promise???
You say you believe the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, but have you taken on this power ministry Jesus promised and started really destroying the works of the devil???
Is divine healing simply a creed you hold, or is it manifest in ministry???
We are up against the satanic powers and forces that Jesus calls us to topple and bring into total destruction under His BLOOD, and do we just allow these evil forces to rule over our ministries making us afraid to take them on???
WHERE ARE THE DAVIDS WHO WILL TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE OF THE GOLIATHS OF THEIR CITIES, REFUSING THE ARMOUR OF THOSE SAULS (OTHER METHODS THAN THE GOSPEL) BECAUSE THEY KNOW SUCH ARMOUR WILL NEVER WORK??? (The forces of evil out there are destroying the many souls they hold sway over, and consequently require something more than just a clever sermon to bring them down!) Did not Paul say “THE WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE” are “MIGHTY THROUGH GOD...”??? If we truly believe this then are we not using them???
WHEN WILL WE BELIEVE CHRIST’S WORDS?
“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and
OVER ALL THE POWER OF THE ENEMY:
and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Lke. 10:19)
“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matt. 10:8)
“The WEAPONS of our warfare are...
MIGHTY THROUGH GOD...”! (2 Cor. 10:4)
“Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what MIRACLES and WONDERS God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.” (Acts 15:12)
Paul was not ashamed to proclaim what God was doing in their ministry, neither did he think it braggadocious on his part to glorify what GOD was doing!
Hear Paul’s words in 1 Thess. 1:5:
“For our Gospel came not unto you in word only,
but also in POWER,
and in the HOLY GHOST,
and in MUCH ASSURANCE...”
And again in 1 Cor. 2:4:
“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, (i.e. men’s clever quotes and illustrations) but in DEMONSTRATION of the SPIRIT and of POWER...”
Jesus said, “Freely ye have received, FREELY GIVE.”
Peter said, “Such as I have GIVE I THEE...”
What did Peter have???
He had the knowledge that what Jesus had given to him, he must, in turn, share it out with others!
Look at the much quoted verse to which is often imputed the need to win souls, and yet Christ’s method is so often overlooked:
“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest...And when he had called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave them POWER against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to HEAL all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying...And as ye go, preach, saying...
The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
Heal the sick,
Cleanse the lepers,
Raise the dead,
Cast out devils:
Freely ye have received, freely give.”
(Mt. 9:36-37: 10:1, 5, 7-8)
The laborers Christ needed for the multitudes were laborers who had received POWER to deliver those multitudes from the demonic and oppressive powers that held them captive!
“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached CHRIST unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, HEARING and SEEING THE MIRACLES which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city.” (Acts 8:5-8)
“But when they believed Philip preaching the THINGS concerning the KINGDOM of God, and the NAME of JESUS CHRIST, they were baptized, both men and women.” (Acts 8:12)
Was Philip mistaken in demonstrating the power of Christ to the people? Did he think words alone were sufficient? If the Gospel makes promises but does not DEMONSTRATE its power what good is it? Only a Gospel that produces and backs up its words with divine power is able to deliver and save!
“For the kingdom of God is NOT in WORD,
but in POWER.”
(1 Cor. 4:20)
There are many who HEAR the Gospel year after year but are never set free, WHY? It is easier to impugn such people than to ask ourselves, “Am I offering them a Gospel I can demonstrate through the power of the Holy Spirit?”
“Freely ye have received, freely GIVE.”
We have been entrusted with divine power and a divine message. The man who buried the talent entrusted to him was punished for not investing it, HOW MUCH MORE THEN WILL GOD HOLD US ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE STEWARDSHIP OF THE MIRACLE MINISTRY HE HAS GIVEN US TO SET THE PEOPLE FREE IF WE DO NOT EXERCISE AND USE IT AS HE HAS COMMANDED US???
Simply to SAY that we have it is not enough, WE MUST START USING IT!
Jesus said, “These signs shall follow them that believe...” and “they went forth and preached everywhere, THE LORD WORKING WITH THEM, and confirming the word, with SIGNS FOLLOWING.” (Mark 16:20)
Will He not likewise back up all who will go forth in His name proclaiming His mighty Gospel Promises???
Jesus has been, and always will be the foundation! Anything built on any other ground will surely fail in the long run!
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid,
(1 Cor. 3:11)
God’s Church must be built by preaching JESUS CHRIST!
Some try to build it by preaching a holy life-style, rather than preaching Him Who is the SOURCE of a holy life-style!
To build a church on any foundation other than CHRIST will ultimately fail, for everything must be built upon CHRIST!
To build HOLINESS, SANCTIFICATION, DIVINE HEALING, RIGHTEOUSNESS or CONFIDENCE on any foundation other than A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST cannot long sustain itself and will ultimately fail.
CHRIST the FOUNDATION, the SOURCE!
Only from FAITH IN, and devotion TO HIM springs holiness, righteousness, divine healing, and every other promise!
These are the RESULTS, the fruit springing up FROM the foundation, but these are NOT the foundation!
Thus, if HE is not the foundation, NONE of these other things will ultimately stand, but will collapse.
Building a life on holiness without CHRIST as its foundation will never become a true and lasting holiness!
How many have failed because they tried to build a Church on the RESULTS of salvation, rather than on HIM WHO IS THE SOURCE OF SALVATION???
Christ does not build His Church on HOLINESS, but on HIMSELF, HOLINESS BEING THE FRUIT, THE RESULT SPRINGING FROM THAT SALVATION!
When CHRIST is the Church’s Foundation, CHRIST IS ITS INSPIRATION TO HOLINESS! You can never experience real holiness until you first experience Him, and you will never experience true holiness apart from HIM! This is why some never succeed in getting the people to live holy, because they are trying to sanctify the people APART from preaching and forming CHRIST in them FIRST.
You CAN’T build a Church on preaching holiness alone, or any other doctrine for that matter; but if you base holiness on a relationship with Jesus Christ, making holiness the fruit of following HIM Who is our Example, then a life of holiness will be the result:
“...because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an EXAMPLE, that ye should FOLLOW HIS STEPS...” (1 Pet. 2:21)
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye IN HIM: ROOTED AND BUILT UP IN HIM...” (Col. 2:6-7)
Notice how the Apostle uses CHRIST as the catalyst urging the saints on to holy conduct - BECAUSE HE DID IT!
It is JESUS that spurs us on to a holy lifestyle and conduct!
HE is its inspiration! HE is the reason! “We love HIM” why? “Because HE FIRST LOVED US”!
The reason why pastors find themselves scolding their congregation for not reading their Bibles or for not praying, or for sporadic church attendance is most likely because they have failed to INSPIRE A LOVE AND DEVOTION TO JESUS CHRIST THROUGH A DYNAMIC AND POWER PRODUCING MINISTRY!
Holiness of life is based upon HIM and is thus achieved in following HIM as our EXAMPLE!
Can we not make Christ beautiful enough to make men want to fall in love with HIM and follow HIM???
Is it because there isn’t enough scripture concerning HIM that we must scrounge up some other topic to preach about???
True holiness and devotion spring from CHRIST, and NOT the other way around!
As it has been often said, some are “trying to sanctify them BEFORE they get them saved.’
HE is the Foundation upon which we are both “BUILT UP” and in Whom we are “ROOTED”, but we must FIRST be ROOTED IN HIM, if we are thus to be BUILT UP in Him.
Some through the years, have tried making the building materials the foundation of the Church only to find that they’ve got it upside down. The lumber was meant to be built UPON the foundation, and not vice-versa!
One can have all the right and the best building materials to build with, but none of these will stand if not built on the right foundation! We can amass all the right doctrines from the Bible and yet, if these are not BUILT UPON CHRIST, none of them will ultimately stand.
Let us learn to BUILD and ESTABLISH the Church upon preaching and teaching JESUS CHRIST! He is our Savior, our Healer, our Sanctifier, our Preserver, and our Example in ALL THINGS!
“And WHY call ye Me, “Lord, Lord, and DO NOT the THINGS WHICH I SAY?”
“If ye love Me, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS...”
Has He not commanded, “Freely ye have received, freely GIVE.”???
Has He not commanded us to believe on Him and that we would do the SAME WORKS and GREATER WORKS than He did while on earth???
Did He not say that He was sending us with the same mission and authority with which His Father sent Him???
“As My Father hath sent Me, even so SEND I YOU.” (Jn. 20:21)
Let us all then do His works, and show forth His glory and the power of His works in destroying the works of the devil over the lives of the lost everywhere in His Name!
Let us expect to experience the same results the early Church experienced,
“the Lord working WITH them, CONFIRMING THE WORD WITH SIGNS FOLLOWING.”!
JESUS=MIRACLES=TRANSFORMED LIVES! THIS IS THE BIBLE PATTERN!
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