Now, this pastor was exegetically accurate and precise. He conveyed the meaning of the verse fairly well. He was not boring. He was engaging. His love for the people of which he is Undershepherd was compassionately displayed.But there was no GOSPEL! The pastor's main point conveyed was, "pick yourself up by your own bootstraps and keep going!"We may be exegetically accurate and precise. And we may convey the meaning of the text as the original hearers (possibly) understood it, but when it comes down to where the rubber meets the road, it's still moralism. It's a promotion of self-salvation. At the very core, both teachings are saying, "Jesus' finished work is not enough! Go and do! Save yourself!!"For a preacher of the Gospel, it is sad there was no preaching of the Gospel.Jared concludes, "But I am hopeful. There is something in the air. Perhaps the tide is turning."
Alas, however, much of our teaching and preaching suffers from a mediocre view of God's majesty. We are too much like those chided in Psalm 50:21, who "thought [God] was altogether like [one of them]." As presenters of the Word of God, we desire to soar to the heights of the heavenlies and to lift the sights and hopes of our listeners to the very portals of the throne room of God himself; yet, more often than not, we feel frustrated and vacuous in the final results, both in our private study of the Word of God and in our listening habits on Sunday. Therefore, we and the people we serve, starve for the awesomeness, greatness, and sheer majesty of the King of kings and Lord of lords.Kaiser quotes one of Martin Luther's letters to Erasmus: "Your thoughts of God are too human."
I just happened to notice a bunch of comments that were waiting to be moderated. My apologies for missing them. If you've commented and your comment didn't show up, now you know why. Keep the great comments coming!
Earlier in my life and ministry, I’m afraid that when I read Romans 1:16 I only thought of the gospel in terms of conversion. But the more I read Paul, I realize that the gospel is all-encompassing because salvation is all-encompassing. Salvation has past, present, and future aspects. It involves justification, sanctification, and glorification...So when Paul challenges Philippian believers to stand firm in the face of opposition, he calls them to “live in a manner worthy of the gospel” (see Philippians 1:27). When Paul challenges Peter’s legalistic behavior in Antioch, he accuses him of “not acting in line with the truth of the gospel” (see Galatians 2:14).The point is, then, that the gospel is never something we outgrow. It’s at the core of Christian living. It’s at the core of what God is doing to save us – including the past, present, and future aspects of this great salvation. The answer to our struggles with greed, immorality, legalism, jealousy, hatred, and selfish ambition is the gospel...Whatever challenges or problems we are facing in our churches, the solution takes us back to the gospel. That’s why I’m eager to preach the Holy Scriptures which present the gospel. What a message! I’m eager to preach it in 2008 and beyond!
Make each sermon a daring proclamation of Christ, not just of the text, but of Christ in His glory and power. If I were to say what I see in many men who foster the bland saltless model...they just do not lift up or herald Christ Himself in their sermons. Since they are not heralding Christ, they do not receive Christ's power. Will Christ empower a man to make an intellectual discourse when the preacher has no real intent to preach Christ? He can give the intellectual content via his own strength and zeal. The delivery is his own and he can do what he intends to do. I have had some experience of this. But this is not the preaching of the New Covenant. We are a city of good news. We are commanded to lift up our voices with strength and to get up to a high mountain to proclaim this good news. Exposition minus the heralding has all of Christ's foolishness in it, but none of Christ's power. (The Heart of a Servant Leader)