Saturday, November 8, 2014

Preaching Christ Crucified

I am currently preaching through The Gospel According to John at Church. I don't remember how long ago we started this expositional process, but much has happened along the way, and I am nearing the end of that journey. We started John 18 two weeks ago, (There was a missionary visiting our church last week.) and I am planning on finishing chapter 18 and possibly 19 tomorrow. These are the chapters in John that cover the crucifixion of Christ.

This is more emotional for me than I realized it would be. I have found myself angered by the treatment of Jesus... and yet I know that I am hoping (even though I already know) that He will make it to the end. I know that my only hope is if He accomplishes this task. This thought process, along with experiencing Jesus' ministry through the eyes of John, has opened my eyes to some deeper aspects of preaching.

To convert a long conversation into a semi-short blog post, I will simply say that I am beginning to embrace the concept of preaching Christ Crucified, as Paul describes it in I Corinthians 1:23. I am no longer interested in attaining the praise and admiration of my listeners. I no longer try to phrase things so as to not offend or cause people to stumble. The Cross of Christ is a stumbling block... it is a rock of offense... Why would I attempt to avoid this? I am called to preach Christ.

In Spurgeon's sermon on I Corinthians 1:23, we can read these thoughts:

Now, today, there are some who would be glad, if we would preach anything except Christ crucified. Perhaps the most dangerous among them are those who are continually crying out for intellectual preaching, by which they mean preaching which neither the heavens nor the preachers themselves can comprehend, the kind of preaching which has little or nothing to do with the scriptures, and which requires a dictionary rather than a Bible to explain it. These are the people who are continually running around, and asking, “Have you heard our minister? He gave us a wonderful sermon last Sunday morning; he quoted Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin, and he gave us some charming pieces of poetry, in fact, it was overall an intellectual treat.” Yes, and I have usually found that such intellectual treats lead to the ruination of souls; that is not the kind of preaching that God generally blesses to the salvation of souls, and therefore, even though others may preach the philosophy of Plato or adopt the arguments of Aristotle, we preach Christ crucified,” the Christ who died for sinners, the people’s Christ, and “we preach Christ crucified” in simple language, in plain speech such which the common people can understand. 
In so very many ways... so very true.

I pray that tomorrow I may preach Christ and Him Crucified. I hope it is a rock that makes men stumble and a stone that makes men fall.

(I found that quote, along with the rest of Spurgeon's sermon on that passage, at this site: click here to view.)

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