In my first “Hugh’s News & Views” of this year I announced that it was my plan in my ministry with the church in Mitchellville, Tennessee, to preach this entire year on some aspect of Christ and His teaching. We are now two months into the year and the plan is going well. We began the year with a two-part series on “An Eight Word Picture Of Christ.” This was followed by “Painting Off Of Jesus” (looking at His life and being challenged to model ours after His) and “The Accessibility Of Christ” (showing from various incidents in the gospel accounts that Jesus was always available to those who were in need and that He is still accessible today [Hebrews 4:15-16]).
We also have preached on “Christ In Prophecy,” and before the year is over we will have at least two or three other sermons on this theme. We have made “A Plea For Christ” (three parts) and are now preparing to preach about “The Cross Of Christ,” and “The Crucifixion Of Christ.” These will be followed with messages on “The Resurrection Of Christ,” “The Ascension Of Christ,” “The Second Coming Of Christ,” “The Unfinished Work Of Christ,” “Why Did Christ Have To Die?,” “The Blood Of Christ,” “Supper With Christ,” “The Essence Of Christianity” (Mother’s Day), “Conversion To Christ,” “What Shall I Do With Jesus?,” “The Authority Of Christ,” and so throughout the year, God willing.
But now this question needs to be raised: Is my 2015 commitment to preach specifically about various matters directly related to Christ an indication that I have not in the past been “preaching Jesus”? Must a preacher speak directly and specifically about Christ or some personal teaching of Christ in order to follow the example of the apostle Paul who was determined “not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:1-2)? What, really, does it mean to “preach Jesus” (Acts 8:35)?
Perhaps that question can be answered by examining some other texts. Jesus commissioned His apostles to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). Am I not, therefore, “preaching Jesus” when I preach the necessity of faith and baptism in order for a person to be saved?
Jesus instructed the apostles to teach those they baptized “to observe all things whatever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). The early church “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42). If I likewise instruct people to observe all that Christ commanded and to continue faithfully in the doctrine of Christ’s apostles, am I not, in reality, preaching Jesus?
Last year at Mitchellville I preached a sermon on “The Setting Up Of The Kingdom Of God,” followed by one on “Why I Am A Member Of The Church, The Body Of Christ.” Was that not “preaching Jesus”? If not, why not? I also preached sermons on “Prayer,” “The Surrendered Life,” “Challenges Facing The Christian,” “Blessed Assurance,” “The Day You Were Baptized,” “The Distinctive Nature Of The Church,” “The Great Salvation,” “God’s Memory,” “The Spirit Of Christ,” “The Half Has Not Been Told,” “Our Unchanging God,” “Jesus And The Rich Young Ruler,” “God’s Amazing Grace,” “The Lamb’s Book Of Life,” and dozens of others. Was I preaching Jesus? I believe I was because I was preaching what Christ did and taught and I also was preaching what He, through the Holy Spirit, led the inspired apostles and prophets of the New Testament era to teach, preach, and write. (See John 16:12-14; I Corinthians 2:6-16, with special attention to verses 12-13).
When later this year, D. V., I preach what Christ taught about the two greatest commandments, worship, the church, Christian unity, the Holy Spirit, Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage, Christian living, judgment, heaven, and hell (Jesus said more about hell than any other person in the Bible!), will I be “preaching Jesus”?
The fearless and peerless apostle Paul said to the elders of the church at Ephesus, “For I have not shunned to declare to you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). That also is my most fervent desire and intention. To that end I am delighted to devote 2015 to preaching specifically about Christ, His personal teaching, and some of the many touching and inspiring events of His life. And if in 2016 I should decide to preach the entire year on “The Church, The Body Of Christ,” would that also be an appropriate theme?
February 24, 2015