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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Preaching Christ Jesus the Lord

"For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake."  (2 Cor 4:5)

Mention "church" to most people and they respond with some thought regarding preaching. Almost never the music, fellowship or even the food. Always the preaching. Why is preaching a central feature of the way we do church?

We preach because of John 3:16. God keeps no secrets, requires no secret knowledge, no hidden wisdom. Preaching is the open proclamation of heavenly matters, the beginning of the legislation of heavenly matters here on earth. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Corinthians that preaching is not mere demonstration of eloquence but a demonstration of the Spirit’s power for the purpose of establishing faith not on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God!

What is the message we proclaim? “Christ Jesus the Lord!” If this is not the message of the church, there is no message at all and neither is the church the church. The concept of "church" has been hijacked by the culture--anyone can have a church, even atheists. This is an attempt to cheapen what Christ has been building for centuries.

Notice what Paul says of our founder:

First, He is Christ, and His role is to be the anointed agent of deliverance, the Messiah, the one Chosen by God. He is our Divine and Spirit-filled King, the centerpiece around whom we gather as an identifiable people. He is the founder of the laws of the land, of our customs and culture. He is the defeater of our enemies.

Second, He is Jesus. This is His name. (Mt. 1:21) “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” Literally: “The LORD is Salvation”.

Third, He is the Lord, the Master, the Possessor, the One Who Decides, the Controlling Sovereign, the Prince, the Chief, our object of Reverence, Respect and Worship. Many will not have Jesus as their Lord, but what they want in no way demotes Him. He is not the Lord because we make Him Lord; rather, He is the Lord because He is the Lord. This is not a NT idea.

Romans 10:13 “For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” is a quote from Joel 2:32, “And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the remnant whom the LORD calls."

Can you name the NT passage that sounds like this one?“I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath.” (Isaiah 45:23).

The glory of preaching lies not in the church “building”, but in a church “built”.  T.M. Moore (with the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview) said: “We preach the Word of God [Christ Jesus the Lord] to the people of God for the building-up of the Church of God unto the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Preaching is for God’s sake, and unto the fulfillment of His purposes, or it is not true preaching at all. True preaching requires ‘laborious and persevering diligence’ and a clear and constant focus on the ends for which we preach.”

In other words, “Christ Jesus as Lord.” It's all about Him.

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