Sermon #1247


          Title:           The Pre-eminence of Christ in Preaching

          Text:           1 Corinthians 1:23

          Reading:    1 Corinthians 1:17-2:2

          Subject:     Christ the Message of Holy Scripture

          Date:          Sunday Morning - August 25, 1996

          Tape #       S-87




          I have been preaching to you off and on for the past several weeks about the pre-eminence of our Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul tells us in Colossians 1:18, "He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." I have no hope of ever expounding the depths of that rich, rich text. But I simply cannot leave it alone. I suspect that you will hear several more messages from it in the next few weeks.


          This morning I want to show you The Pre-eminence of Christ in Preaching. In 1 Corinthians 1:23, writing by divine inspiration, the apostle Paul, speaking for all the apostles and all true gospel preachers, says, “We (Apollis, Peter, and I {v. 12}) preach Christ crucified.”


Proposition: The thing I want you to see this morning is this -Christ is and must be pre-eminent in all true preaching.


·        We do not preach moralism.

·        We do not preach politics (Gun Control - Capital Punishment).

·        We do not preach against things (Abortion - Pornography - Homosexuality, etc.).

·        We preach Christ crucified.


          That man must not be considered a faithful gospel preacher who does not preach Christ. Preachers are like the pole to which Moses fastened the brazen serpent. Our only function is to hold up Christ crucified before sinners. The gospel we preach is Jesus Christ. We do not merely preach a Christ centered gospel. Christ is the gospel we preach. There is a huge difference.


Romans 1:1-6  "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (2) (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) (3) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; (4) And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: (5) By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: (6) Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:"


          When our Lord Jesus began his public ministry in the synagogue at Nazareth, his sermon was all about himself. Listen to what he said...


Luke 4:18-19  "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, (19) To preach the acceptable year of the Lord."


          As we read the writings of the Apostle Paul, we cannot help observing that to him the preaching of Christ, the preaching of the gospel, and the preaching of the Scriptures were all the same thing.


Acts 20:27  "For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God."


1 Corinthians 1:17  "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect."


1 Corinthians 1:23-24  "But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; (24) But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God."


1 Corinthians 2:2  "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified."


2 Corinthians 4:5  "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake."


          This is the one thing that all God’s servants have in common. We have varied gifts and abilities, different personalities and characteristics, and differing spheres of ministry. But all true gospel preachers have one message. Our message is Christ.

·        There are no Apostles today.

·        No one today has the supernatural gifts of the Apostles (Tongues, Miracles, Special Revelations).

·        But every man called of God has the message of the gospel. “We preach Christ crucified!”


Illustration: My Visit with Henry Twenty Years Ago


          One reason I am bringing this message today is that I might help to prepare you for our upcoming conference. That is what I had in mind as I prepared the hymn and articles for today’s bulletin as well. I hope you will read each article carefully, and that as you do the Lord will enable you to pray more intelligently and earnestly for the preaching of the gospel from his faithful servants next weekend. I want to make five statements about preaching and show you from the Word of God that these four things are so.


I. True preaching is God speaking to men through the heart, lips, life, and personality of a man by his Word about his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.


          Preaching is not a mechanical thing. God speaks through the whole man. That is one reason why he requires his servants to be men of specific character (1 Tim. 3:1-7). But, primarily, preaching, true preaching is the work of God, not the work of a man. It is God speaking to men through a man about his Son.


2 Corinthians 5:18-21  "All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (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. (20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. (21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."


II. The preaching of Jesus Christ and him crucified, when attended with the power of God the Holy Spirit, is the effectual power of God unto salvation.


A. Be sure you understand that the power and efficay of the gospel does not come from the preacher.


          The preacher is nothing but a vessel, a mouthpiece, a pipe, through whom God speaks. The power and efficacy of the gospel does not depend upon his learning, eloquence, pathos, or diligence in study, though God certainly uses all those things. But the power of the gospel, the efficacy of it is God the Holy Spirit.


1 Corinthians 2:1-5  "And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. (2) For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (3) And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. (4) And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: (5) That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."


1 Corinthians 3:6  "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase."


2 Corinthians 2:14-17  "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. (15) For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: (16) To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? (17) For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ."


2 Corinthians 3:5-6  "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; (6) 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."


1 Thessalonians 1:4-5  "Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. (5) For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake."


B. The preaching of the gospel, the preaching of Christ crucified is the catalyst of God’s saving grace.


Romans 1:15-17  "So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. (16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (17) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."


Romans 10:13-17  "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (14) How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (15) And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (16) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? (17) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."


Hebrews 4:12  "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."


James 1:18  "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."


1 Peter 1:23-25  "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (24) For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: (25) But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."


III. This same message is God’s message of grace for the reproof, correction, comfort, inspiration, correction, and instruction of his saints in righteousness.


          Nothing so inspires devotion as the gospel of Christ. Nothing more severely reproves our sin and unbelief. Nothing ministers comfort to our souls like the doctrine of Christ crucified. Nothing promotes holiness like the message of God’s rich, abundant, free grace flowing to us through the blood of our crucified Savior!


A.   Christ is our only hope of salvation.

B.   Christ is our only rule of life.

C.   Christ is our only motive to godliness.

D.   Christ is our only inspiration to devotion and consecration.


Romans 12:1-2  "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."


1 Corinthians 6:9-11  "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (10) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."


1 Corinthians 6:19-20  "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."


IV We preach Christ when we preach him in the fullness of his redemptive grace and glory as God our Savior.


          Let me be explicit and clear. I want no one to misunderstand what I am saying. The preaching of the gospel, the preaching of all the counsel of God, the preaching of Christ of necessity involves the preaching of his...


A.   Eternal Deity and Godhead (John 1:1-2).

B.   Suretyship Engagements (Heb. 10:5-10).

C.   Supernatural Incarnation (1 Tim. 3:16).

D.   Obedience as our Representative (Rom. 5:19).

E.   Efficacious Atonement (Heb. 9:12).

F.    Sovereign Dominion (John 17:2; Rom. 14:9; Phil. 2:9-11).

G.  Saving Power and Goodness (Heb. 7:25).

H.   Unfailing Intercession ( John 17 {Keep Them - Sanctify Them - Unite Them - Teach Them - Bring Them To Me} Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2).

I.       Glorious Second Advent (Rev. 1:7).


          Let me make one last statement by which I hope to convey to you the great burden of my soul and the intensity with which I do this work to which God has called me. I take this fifth statemen directly from the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:16. I take Paul’s words here to be my own.


V. "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!"


          I sometimes here men say, “We ought not take ourselves too seriously.” I am sometimes told, “You take the work of the ministry too seriously.” Impossible!


          If when I preach I preach not the gospel, I would be unfaithful to God, unfaithful to your souls, and guilty of your blood when I stand before God in judgment.

·        Ezekiel 3:17-19


          However, if by the power and grace of God I am enabled to give myself faithfully to the work of the ministry and faithfully preach the gospel to you, I will both save myself and you who are enabled of God to here me.

·        1 Timothy 4:16




          I ask you to pray for me and pray for those men who will come here Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to preach the gospel to us. Pray for an out-pouring of God’s Spirit upon the preaching of the gospel!

·        For the Salvation of Sinners.

·        To Speak to Your Own Heart.

·        For the Comfort and Edification of His Saints.

·        For the Reviving of His Church.


          True preaching is as much a spiritual exercise as prayer, praise, or the most elevated heights of worship. But true preaching can exist only where preparation has been made, both by the preacher and by the people of God. We are laborers together in the gospel. Let us be as one in the hand of God. As I prepare to preach to you and these brethren prepare to preach to you next weekend, pray for us.


Illustration: Gill’s Comments on the Allabaster Box