Sunday, September 6, 2009

Yes! The Gospel Can Save Even Christians!

Luke 24:44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” ESV

Above, in v. 47, we have what Jesus wants preached in sermons. Often you will hear conservative Christians criticize the preaching of Joel Osteen and other popular television preachers. Topics usually surround what we can get out of God. Name it and claim it sermons have no room for conviction of sin and forgiveness found only in the Gospel.

In listening to several sermons from some of these Christian’s favorite preachers one has to listen to several until one hears Christ crucified for sinners in these as well. At times we are treated to a grand bible study from the pulpit. Nothing incorrect is taught. Perhaps some interesting historic information on first century Christians is shared. Perhaps the doctrinal stance of one of the reformers or other theologian is spoken on and scripture given to either back it up or dispute it. But bible studies and preaching are two separate acts.

Certainly sin is preached on but it is often the sin of others. How that this church body or that one is dropping the ball where we are not. Where impenitent sinners out there need to hear the law to convict them and the Gospel so they can be saved. However, the law is never executed on the person sitting in the seats listening to this sermon. This is very comfortable if one never reads the scripture for him or herself and have the law executed on them from the pages of scripture. They never are taught how that those condemning words from a Holy God is on them as well. Perhaps he or she has quit some gross outward sin and is able to avoid other temptations as well but in the heart and mind is covetousness, spite, anger towards others, grudges and all the other sins that manifest themselves in our hearts and minds. Each of these sins of the heart and mind justly deserves God’s present and eternal punishment as well as all the sins we see those on the outside of our circle do.

One can almost understand why a person like Osteen really does not want to preach that from a his pulpit. He would lose attendees by droves. No one who is seeking his or her own end wants to hear about how far short they fall and that suffering maybe all the experience to be had in this life. But what excuse do the men have who should know better. If one is a supporter of a more traditional preacher on radio or sermon audio he or she should encourage that man to preach Christ and him crucified. The preacher in the pulpit of the church should be encouraged to do so too. Years ago that was the case no matter the sign in the church yard. Christ crucified was preached from the pulpit into the ears of sinners each week. That is the victory which overcomes the world, our faith. 1 John 5:4

Jesus is Lord of the church. He purchased her for himself by his own innocent sufferings and death. It is his desire that repentance and the forgiveness of sins be preached into the ears of sinners. Bible studies are great and a necessary part of a Christian’s life. However, proclamation times, sermons, are for the executing the severe law and giving the sweet Gospel. As Christians we remain full blown children of Adam and need to hear this as often as we can. This is the only way to overcome sin is by repenting and receiving forgiveness of sin. Yes the Gospel can save even a Christian.

In the name of Jesus. Amen. †


Acroamaticus said...

Hi David,
In his history of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Australia (published in its centenery year, 1938; this was the church body Sasse joined on coming to Australia), Theodore Hebart has this interesting story: "It is not an isolated testimony that comes from an English" (i.e. an Anglo-Australian) "state school teacher who said that his father, a retired missionary, preferred to attend Lutheran services because there Christ and nothing but Christ is preached."

Would that this could always be said of the preaching from Lutheran pulpits! It's basically why I joined the Lutheran Church some 14 years ago.

I hope you continue to enjoy the posts on 'What Sasse Said'. I have added your blog to the blog-roll on my other blog, 'Glosses From an Old Manse'. Great blog title, btw.

Peace & Joy!

Mark Henderson (aka Acroamaticus)

Steve Martin said...

Great post, St. David!

That is one of my pet peeves about so many preachers. They teach Bible studies, and do not deliver Law/Gospel sermons. It's a real shame.

Instead of putting the sinner in the pew to death, they give him/her oxygen and a another dose of the law for betterment.

God is trying to kill us! So that He can raise us up again!