Welcome ó Ambassadors of God!
Did you know that gospel preachers are Godís ambassadors to you? That is how God the Holy Spirit describes them (2 Cor. 5:18-21). It has been our great privilege to hear six faithful ambassadors of God deliver Godís message to us this weekend. Today, we will hear two more.
The call of the gospel is given by divine authority. That man who is sent of God to preach the gospel is sent with a God given, divine authority, a divine authority which cannot be obtained by any means except the call and gift of God. It is an authority that cannot be obtained from any source other than God himself. That man who is sent of God to preach the gospel stands before his hearers as Godís servant, Godís messenger, with Godís message. Such a man carries ďthe burden of the Word of the LordĒ and speaks to those who hear him in Godís stead, by the power of his Spirit (Matt. 10:40). When God speaks by that man, he strives with men (Gen. 6:3). When men resist the message delivered to them by a man who speaks in the power of God they resist God the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51-52).
This divine authority makes the preaching of the gospel a matter of urgent responsibility (Pro. 1:23-31). Gospel preaching leaves sinners without excuse. If you would obey the gospel call, if you would trust the Lord Jesus Christ, he would save you. That is exactly what we are told in Proverbs chapter one. The true, faithful preaching of the gospel is, therefore, always ďa sweet savor of Christ.Ē To those who believe not it is ďa savor of death unto deathĒ. To Godís elect it is ďa savor of life unto lifeĒ (2 Cor. 2:14-16). In either case, the Word of God, sent by God the Holy Spirit, through the lips of his servant, never returns void. It always accomplishes the exact purpose for which God sent it (Isa. 55:11). The labor of the gospel preacher is never labor spent in vain.
The call issued to sinners in the preaching of the gospel is a sincere call as well as an authoritative call. Those who despise the gospel of Godís free and sovereign grace in Christ often attempt to discredit our message by asserting that it is impossible to preach unconditional, electing love and particular redemption and, at the same time, sincerely call all who hear the gospel to repentance and faith in Christ. Nothing is further from the truth. Like Paul of old, Godís servants sincerely call sinners to repentance (Rom. 10:1-4). We know that none shall ever come to Christ except the elect. Yet, we also know, that all who will come may come, and that all who do come to the Son of God are saved by his grace (Rom. 10:9-13).
††††††††††††††† To those who say, ďThe doctrines of predestination, election, and limited atonement will dry up a churchís missionary zeal and fervency,Ē I say, ďCome, and see.Ē There are no people in the world more generous, zealous, and fervent in evangelistic, missionary enterprises than those who love Christ and the gospel of Godís free and sovereign grace in him.
††††††††††††††† John Gill described the call, which goes forth in the preaching of the gospel this way. ó- ďChrist stands in the gospel-ministry, at the door of menís hearts, and knocks and calls. Having the key of the house of David, he opens the heart by the power of his grace, and lets himself in. In this way, and by this means, the Spirit and his graces are received. Men are called both to grace and glory by the gospel.Ē