Thursday, March 11, 2010

Preaching Jesus

Take a look around on the Internet at the orders of worship and sermon topics of churches which post them, and you might get the impression that many ministers of the gospel have the idea that "You can only preach so much Jesus."

Really?

Because you can preach "the plan" all you want to, and if you don't preach "the man," you'll have converts to a system, not the Savior.

You can preach "the church" all you wish, and if you don't talk about the Bridegroom who purchased her with His blood, you'll be preaching narcissism.

You can preach against sin all year every year, and if you don't proclaim the One who died to save us from it and lived again so that we could live, you'll only be spreading guilt and despair and hoplessness - not the gospel.

You can preach about your experiences in life till the cows come home, but if you don't share His, will your church end up knowing more about your life on the farm than the Son you live for?

You can preach about biblical history, eschatology, pneumatology, soteriology, theology, or any other -ology ... but if you don't tell people about Jesus of Nazareth and what He taught and how He lived and how He reigns, just exactly what are you doing in the pulpit of a church in the Christian faith?

Have you actually shared all there is to know about Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, Son of Man, Savior, Redeemer, Rabbi, Teacher, Lord, Master, Friend, High Priest, Sacrifice, Good Shepherd, the Holy and Righteous One, Firstborn of the Dead, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace? The One to whom virtually all scripture points and praises - like John, His cousin - "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!"

Has your church plumbed the depths of its relationship with God through Christ?

Have you told them all there is to know about His love; how far He would go and what He gave up?

Or have you given up?

Paul didn't give up, and Christ was all he resolved to preach (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Peter knew there was no other name that could save (Acts 4:12).

John knew that it is through Him that we have fellowship (1 John 1:5-7).

Not just a plan. Not just a church. Not just a history. Not just a theory of His return, His Spirit, His divinity, His salvation, or His relationship with His Father.

But HIM.

Have you actually worn out the Ancient of Days?

Have you truly out-taught the Teacher?

Have you really mastered the Master?

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus." ~ John 12:20-21

11 comments:

nick gill said...

Either on Facebook or Twitter recently, I read someone say something like, "Don't preach anything that Jesus didn't have to die in order for you to be able to say."

Also, I know this sounds arrogant and stuff, but it really makes me sad how hard it is for some of our preachers to see Jesus in the text. You don't have to preach from the Gospels to preach Jesus. You don't even have to preach from the NT.

One of my favorite things ever was a Christological (but not allegorical) reading of Leviticus.

Tim Archer said...

I'm speaking next week at a national preacher's conference in Cuba. Of my 4 talks, 2 of the assigned topics were about "Christ-centered preaching."

I'm excited!

Grace and peace,
Tim Archer

Steven Hovater said...

Preach on, Keith!

This reminds me what kind of preacher I want to be! There is so much gospel to preach, how could we ever exhaust it?

Keith Brenton said...

You guys just lit up my whole day!

ben overby said...

While attending a "certain" bible college, very little was said about Jesus, but much was said about the boundary markers. We knew what the fence looked like (or thought we did), but we didn't know what was inside.

Not an exaggeration.

Good thoughts, Keith! Thanks

Royce Ogle said...

Odd isn't it, the sign outside says "church of Christ" but you hear far more about the church than the Christ.

I guess people major on what is most important to them in their preaching and teaching.

If I believed something other than Jesus Christ saves I would preach that more too.

Royce

kingdomseeking said...

In my systematic theology I & II at HUGSR with Dr. Mark E. Powell, he really challenged us to revive the gospel in our preaching and teaching, to show how the different passages of scripture relates to Jesus and the gospel.

I have strove to take this advise seriously...whether I always do that well is another question.

Grace and peace,

K. Rex Butts

Gary said...

Great post. Kudos, Keith, from a fellow hairy tick.

Keith Brenton said...

Thanks, guys. Rex, I seem to remember reading a few months ago on his blog how much Dr. John Mark Hicks disliked the nomer "Systematic Biblical Doctrine" that he teaches. I can't imagine that he teaches it as such - and it sounds like your prof Dr. Powell didn't for "Systematic Theology", either!

Gary, brother, every once in a while we "hairy ticks" have to be true to our nature and draw a tiny bit of blood!

Donna G said...

first time I can say that I have liked "hairy ticks".....

kingdomseeking said...

As I remember, Dr. Powell was much more systematic in his approach than Dr. Hicks who approached scripture in a more narrative/story-like fashion. But then again, I did not have Dr. Hicks for any systematic classes and in fairness to Dr. Powell, he does recognize the problems created by approaching the Christian faith from a systematic construct. Instead, he seems to approach the Christian faith within the "tradition" (in the best sense of the word) passed down through history which for him is very gospel centered.

But that is all my take and not necessarily theirs.

Grace and peace,

K. Rex Butts