Sermon #1355 Miscellaneous Notes
Title: What Is It
To Preach The Gospel?
Text: 1 Corinthians 9:16
Reading: Ezekiel 33:1-16
Subject: Gospel Preaching
Date: Sunday Morning – August 22, 1999
Tape # V-41b
"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!” —1 Corinthians 9:16
Proposition: If a man is called of God to the work of the gospel ministry, it is his great privilege and awesome responsibility to preach the gospel of Christ to eternity bound sinners, for the glory of God and the everlasting salvation of those who hear him.
Let me repeat what I have told you hundreds of times. I wish I had the ear of every preacher in this world, and could persuade him of this fact. – The only true, biblical preaching there is is gospel preaching.
· No man has preached, in Bible terms, until he has preached the gospel.
· No man has truly and accurately expounded any text of Scripture, until he has preached the gospel from the text.
· No Bible subject has been faithfully and properly handled, if it has not been set forth in the context of gospel light.
· No sermon should ever be preached which does not show eternity bound sinners the way of life and salvation in Christ.
The singular, universal subject of Holy Scripture is the gospel of God’s free and sovereign, saving grace in Jesus Christ, our crucified, risen, exalted Lord and Savior (Lk. 24:24, 44-47; 1 Pet. 1:23-25).
Knowing these things, I say with the apostle Paul…
With that as our background, I want to answer one question in this message -- What is it to preach the gospel? My only source of authority for what I shall say is the Word of God. I encourage you to search the Scriptures for yourself. Find out for yourself whether the things I tell you are so. What is it to preach the gospel? Let’s look into the Book of God and find out what it is to preach the gospel.
I. First, what is it to preach the gospel? It's to preach the TRUTH ABOUT MAN.
Men and women do not want to hear the truth about themselves. But gospel preachers preach the truth. It is my responsibility to leave you who hear me as empty, broken sinners, utterly destroyed with every foundation of flesh swept out from under you, with all your self-righteous rags stripped off, naked and guilty before the searchlight of God's holiness.
What is the truth about man? Hear the Book of God. In Isaiah 40:6-8, God tells every prophet what he must say to man about himself.
What does the Bible say about man? Read Romans chapter three.
What are men seeking? -- Their own pleasure, their own comfort, their own glory their own wills, their own satisfaction. Everybody seeks his own things. No sinner ever has, ever will, or ever can, of his own accord seek the Lord.
The Lord Jesus Christ said, “You have not the love of God in you."
Somebody says, "Well, I love people." No, you don't. Just consider whom you love. You love yourself. Think about it. Is there anyone in this world you really love? Well, you say, "I love my wife." That is yourself. She is your wife. Well, "I love my mother and father." That is still loving yourself; you love them because they are your mother and father. "Well, I love my son or daughter.” — Your son and daughter. Do you love anyone else's son or daughter? “I love my brothers and sisters.”— That is yourself. “Well, I love my Savior, my own personal Savior." That is loving yourself. If he were not your Savior, you would not love him. Everything you love is connected with your own sinful, selfish nature. Your whole world revolves around you, your pleasures, your delights, your own passions, yourself! Everyone seeks his own things. You seek your own pleasure, your own desires, your own will, your own happiness. You do not seek the Lord.
Read on…-- (v. 13).
This Book tells us that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. But there's no genuine, honest, sincere fear of God before your eyes. You neither fear God, nor tremble at his presence.
In this day of apostate religion, even very religious people have no fear of God. If we feared God, we would be silent in the presence of God. -- We would choose our words carefully. Our worship would he marked, not by shouting and clapping our hands, but by awesome reverence and fear.
Job said, “When I saw the Lord, I said, I have spoken once, yea, twice, but I'll never speak again." John said, "When I saw the Lord, I fell at his feet as a dead man." Isaiah said, "When I saw the Lord, I cried, Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell amongst a people of unclean lips" — When I saw the Lord I saw my guilt! The average person goes to church and comes away feeling good about himself.
Illustration: “When I leave, I feel too good about myself.”
If the preachers would preach the truth about man, men and women might once again leave the house of God crying, "O, God, he merciful to me a sinner!"
II. Second, to preach the gospel is to tell the TRUTH ABOUT GOD.
Look at Isaiah 40 again, beginning at verse 9.
To preach the gospel is to tell the truth about man and the truth about God. Men never like to hear the truth about themselves; and fallen, depraved, God hating men and women never like to hear the truth about God. But hear it you must! If you do not know who and what you are, you will never know your need of Christ. If you do not know the truth about God, you can never know and trust him.
Who is God? What is he like? What are the essential, distinguishing characters of his Being? What are the essential attributes of his nature?
A. The God of the Bible is the eternal God.
He is “the everlasting God,” the God of eternal existence, the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity. The Scriptures say, "In the beginning God." When Moses came to the burning bush, God said, "Go down and deliver my people out of Egypt." Moses said, "Whom shall I say sent me?" God replied, "I AM." -- Not, I was; not, I shall be; but, I AM — The eternal I AM — The everlasting I AM — I AM THAT I AM!
B. Our great, all-glorious, eternal God is the Creator of all things.
He is the God of creation. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” "All things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made." In him we live, we move and we have our being. God created all things.
C. The Lord our God is the God who rules and disposes of all things, as he will. – He is the God of providence.
He who created all things owns all things, rules all things, and disposes of all things, as he will.
It is written, “All things are of God.” He works all things after the counsel of his own sovereign will of predestination. To say that God rules everything, everywhere, at all times, in absolute sovereignty, is simply to declare that he is God. The king’s heart, and yours, and mine, are in the hands of the Lord. Like the rivers of water, he turns it whithersoever he will. “The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.”
D. The God of this Book, the one true and living God, has mercy on whom he will.
He who is God is the God of sovereign mercy. The Scripture says, "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” The Bible says, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy; I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious.” We preach the God of mercy yes, but sovereign mercy; the God of grace, yes, but sovereign grace. God will be gracious to whom he will be gracious. He owes us nothing. If he bestows grace, it is sovereignly bestowed. He is an immutable Sovereign, an unchanging Sovereign (Rom. 9:13-18).
E. The Lord God is the righteous Lord who loves righteousness.
He is the God of righteousness. Our Lord said, “I will in no wise dear the guilty. The soul that sinneth it shall die. Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
God is a righteous, a holy God. Christ Jesus came into the world that God might be just and justify the ungodly. God cannot show his love' at the expense of his holiness. He cannot show mercy at the expense of his truth. Only at Calvary can mercy and truth meet together. Only there can righteousness and peace kiss one another. He is the God of righteousness.
F. He who is God is immutable.
· Malachi 3:6
· Hebrews 13:8
Our God is unchanging and unchangeable. He is the God of unchanging grace. “I am the Lord," he said, “I change not; therefore, you sons of Jacob are not consumed." God does not change and cannot change. He is not changed and cannot be changed by anyone or anything, for any reason, at any time. He says, “I change not”…
· In my purpose.
· In my will.
· In my desires.
· In my pleasure.
· In my decree.
· In my mercy, love, and grace.
· In the objects of my mercy, love, and grace.
Why is there no fear of God before the eyes of this generation? The god of this generation is no God at all, but a false god, a mere idol, an idol carved from the wood in the dark forest of man’s depraved mind.
The god of this generation, the god preached all across this city, and this country, and around the world today is a weak god, a failing god, a disappointed god, a god whose hands are tied. The god most people have preached to them is a god who says, “I have no eyes but your eyes; I have no feet but your feet; I have no hands but your hands." Such a god is no God at all. Those who worship such a god are as lost as the barbarian tribesman in New Guinea, running around naked, with a bone in his nose, worshipping a stump, and eating his dead kinsman in the hope of giving himself and the dead eternal life.
A weak, helpless, frustrated, defeated god, a god who wants what he does not have, tries to accomplish what he fails to accomplish, wills what does not come to pass, or purposes what he does not perform is a lie.
The God of the Bible is totally and completely independent of his creatures. We need him for everything. He needs us for nothing! To preach the gospel is to preach the truth about God.
III. Third, what is it to preach the gospel? It's to preach the TRUTH ABOUT The Lord JESUS CHRIST.
Jesus of Nazareth was not a weak, frustrated reformer. He is very God of very God. He is the Messiah. He did not die as a martyr. He did not die as a moral example. He came down here and died on the cross as the victorious, conquering, successful Savior of his people. He died as the covenant Redeemer for the covenant people. He died to accomplish the task given him by the Father before the world's creation.
When he completed his suffering on Calvary, he said, "It is finished;” and it was finished! He cannot fail! Christ is not a frustrated Redeemer. He's not a disappointed nor defeated Savior. He's not a poor, weak, reformer up there in heaven, crying his eyes out because people won't let him have his way. He is a mighty Victor seated at the right hand of the Father, expecting until his enemies become his footstool! He is the Lord of the living and the dead.
Preachers everywhere plead with men, saying, “Won't you make Jesus your Lord?" “Let Jesus be the Lord of your life.” I emphatically declare to you that you cannot make Jesus your Lord. The Father has already beat you to it!
He is your Lord! He is your Lord if you are saved. He is your Lord if you are lost! He is your Lord if you are on the right hand with his sheep. He is your Lord if you are on the left hand with the goats! He is your Lord! Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess in heaven, earth and hell that he is Lord.
You don't make him Lord. — You recognize him as Lord and bow to him; but you do not make him anything. The Father has delivered all things to the Son. God made him Lord. He purchased that right through his death on Calvary. Christ is not a fire escape from hell. He is the Lord. He is not a door-mat named Jesus. He is Lord. If any man shall confess with his mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in his heart that God raised him from the dead, he shall be saved. His life is a perfect righteousness. His death is a perfect sacrifice. He is a perfect, all-sufficient, complete Savior!
IV. Fourth, what is it to preach the gospel? It's to preach the TRUTH ABOUT SALVATION.
We use the word "salvation" rather loosely in this day. Salvation from sin is not by the deeds of the law. Even those who are supposed to know something about salvation by grace have to remind themselves again and again that salvation is not by the works of the flesh, not at all, in any way!
Salvation is not by reformation. Salvation does not come by decision. Salvation does not come through church ordinances. Salvation is not ours by church membership. Salvation is in Christ alone. That's where salvation is. It is not in man's purpose. It is not in man's plan. It is not in man’s will, or man’s decision. It is not in man. Salvation is in Christ. It is not in a proposition. It is not in walking an aisle. It is not in baptism. It is in Christ! It is not in anything we can do. Salvation is in Christ.
· A man does not have salvation until he comes by the power of God's Spirit through faith to a living, personal, vital, intimate union with Christ as Lord and Savior.
· A man is not a Christian until he is inseparably and personally joined to Jesus Christ.
· A man is not a Christian unless you can cut into his heart and find love for Christ, -- cut into his mind and find thoughts of Christ, -- and cut into his soul and find a panting after Christ.
“Christ in you” --that's the hope of glory The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, empties a sinner, and brings a man to faith in the Son of God. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away. Behold, all things are become new.
Most people's so-called Christianity can be taken off with their Sunday clothes, and usually is. But a man who is genuinely born of God has Christ living in him as an everlasting life. He has been regenerated. He has been resurrected from the grave. He has the very image of the Son of God stamped on his heart, and it cannot be removed.
A. What does it take to save a sinner?
1. A Work of Eternal Election.
2. A Work of Sovereign Predestination.
3. A Work of Infinite Satisfaction.
4. A Work of Universal Providence.
5. A Work of Irresistible Grace.
6. A Work of Infallible Preservation.
7. A Work of Resurrection Glory.
B. Where is salvation found?
Hear me now, and hear me well. Salvation is, in its entirety, found in the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man Mediator.
To preach the gospel is to preach the truth about man, about God, about the Lord Jesus Christ, and about salvation.
Now, look back at our text in 1 Corinthians 9:16, and let me wrap this up. Paul says, "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of.” Why is it that those who preach the gospel have nothing in which to glory?
First, we are conscious of our guilt. Any man who is not conscious of his own guilt simply cannot preach the gospel because he does not know the gospel. And you can't tell what you don't know any more than you can come back from where you haven't been. A man who preaches the gospel is conscious of his own guilt. The apostle Paul said of himself, "I am not worthy to be an apostle,” — I see no worthiness in myself. Then he said, "I am less than the least of all the saints." Later on he confessed, "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief."
I wonder if I asked this morning, "Will the chief of sinners please stand?" — Would anyone really stand? Not likely. But the apostle Paul said that the man who really knows God feels that way. When someone asked Paul, "Who is the chief of sinners?' — He replied, "I am."
"Suffer a sinner whose heart overflows,
Loving his Savior to tell what he knows;
Once more to tell it would I embrace,
I'm only a sinner saved by grace."
A man who really knows God never rises above this — "I'm only a sinner saved by grace." He grows in grace. He may grow in talent, in gifts, and in knowledge; but he never grows above this – “only a sinner saved by grace” (Col. 2:6).
Second, we have nothing to glory of because we're just using borrowed gifts. "Who maketh thee to differ?" (1 Cor 4:7). Am I able to preach? Who gave me the gift, the ability to do so? Do you have a little more than somebody else? Who gave it to you? Do you have more talents than the next person? Who made you to differ? “What hast thou that thou didst not receive?” Now if you received it, “Why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”
Why do you glory in your beauty? God gave it to you. Why do you glory in your strength? Without God you wouldn’t have anything, and you wouldn’t be anything. In ourselves we are nothing, nothing but sin! Why do you glory in your wealth? It came from God. Why do you glory in your talent, in your singing ability? Why do you glory in your ability to play an instrument? You couldn't play the radio without God's grace; We would al be simple-minded imbeciles, except for God.
Who made you to differ? What do you have that God did not give you? If you are walking around with something somebody gave you, why are you bragging as if you have it of your own natural ability? Why do you think you are better than anyone else? Only God's grace enables you to he anything but a stuttering, stammering moron.
Who made you to differ? What do you have that you have not received? Salvation is the gift of God! Faith is the gift of God! Though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of — nothing! I can’t break the heart. The Holy Spirit must do that. I can’t convict men of sin. God has to do that. I can’t give repentance and faith. That comes from God. I can’t reveal Christ. That, too, is the Spirit's work. If my voice is the only voice you hear, you will just have to perish. You've got to hear him speak from heaven.
The apostle also said, "Necessity is laid upon me." Why is it necessary for me to preach the gospel? Why am I so compelled; why is it that every time I speak it's always the gospel, Christ and him crucified? I'll tell you why — because of the truth and the beauty of the gospel. I see in the gospel a beauty and a glory beyond all things.
· Only Christ can meet the perfect law, satisfy the justice of God, and open the way for us into the holiest of all, into the presence of the Father.
· Only Christ can supply the need of the bankrupt sinner, and only Christ can keep me from falling.
"Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling, and who is able to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy; to him be glory both now and forever.” That's why it's necessary for me to preach the gospel: the beauty of it, the truth of it.
I could tell you that salvation is in the church, but it wouldn't be true. I could tell you to come to the front and shake my hand and God would take you to heaven, but it would be a lie. I could tell you to be baptized and you will go to heaven, but it wouldn't be so. I could tell you that if you live a good life, pray, go to church on Sunday, pay your tithes, give a little offering, God will take you to heaven when you die, but it's not so. I could tell you to quit drinking, smoking, going to the movies, and live a good moral life and you will go to heaven when you die, but that would be a lie.
However, when I tell you that Christ died for our sins, -- that Christ is a sufficient Savior, -- that Christ is a perfect Substitute, one who came down here and gave us a righteousness which we did not have and could not produce, went to the cross, bore our sins, paid our debt, satisfied the justice of God, -- that he is our living Advocate at the right hand of the Father, -- and that if you trust him, if you come into a living, vital union with him, are saved, that is the truth, the only truth that will make you free.
Our text closes with this, "Woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel.” I cannot imagine a crime more terrible than this -- to be entrusted with the immortal souls of eternity-bound sinners (like every preacher is entrusted with every Sunday), and then stand up here and waste this precious time talking about myself, about my problems, my church, my denomination, or talking about my ideas of what is right and what is wrong. I cannot imagine a greater crime than to be entrusted with the souls of men and women who are sitting before me this hour (some of whom may be in hell before next Sunday), and take that time singing a bunch of ditties, carrying on with foolishness, and making a mockery of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I cannot imagine a more awful crime against society than to deceive people who are given to us to instruct in the things of God.
I have to preach the gospel. Woe is unto me if I do not preach the gospel. God have mercy if I don't; -- but he won’t! Woe unto the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah; woe unto the Christ-crucifiers of Jerusalem; but double woe on the preachers, shepherds, and pastors who for advantage, filthy lucre, or praise of men deceive souls. God help them, but he won't.
Woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel. There is only one. — It's the gospel of Christ. If an angel from heaven preach unto you any other gospel, Paul said, "Let him be accursed."
I say this in closing, “Woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel.” But, woe is unto you, if I preach it and you don’t believe it. You may not understand it. It may not fit in with your tradition, with your denominational pattern. I am sure it won’t. Christ didn’t fit the denominational pattern when he came down here either. He didn’t fit into their religious theology, their traditions, or their mold; and they crucified him!
My message may not fit with what your mother taught you; but she wasn't sent of God to preach the gospel. — I am. If I did not believe that, I'd quit preaching. Do you see what I'm saying? I'm saying, “Woe is unto you, and woe is unto everybody under the sound of my voice, if I preach the gospel and you don't believe it." I'm willing to take my medicine, if I do not preach the gospel; but better you get ready to take yours, if I do preach the gospel and you don't receive it. Is that fair?
Paul said, I preach the gospel! I do not have anything about which to glory. I'm just a sinner saved by grace. Necessity is laid upon me. I've got to preach the gospel, for woe is unto me if I don't preach it.
Now, will you say this? — I believe the gospel; but if I believe the gospel, I do not have anything in which to glory. Will you say that? God gave me the knowledge. God gave me the faith. For necessity is laid upon me. I've got to believe the gospel, because there's no beauty anywhere else, no refuge anywhere else, necessity is laid upon me. Can you say that?
And will you go on and finish it? — “Woe is unto me if I don't believe the gospel!” That's all I've got to say Now it's between you and God. May God enable you this day to believe the gospel, for Christ’s sake.