After a full life of ministry, the fifty year old Charles Spurgeon writes, ‘Souls by hundreds come to faith in Jesus under a ministry which sets Him forth clearly and constantly. Few remain unbelieving under a preacher whose great subject is Christ crucified. Hear no minister of any other sort.’
A survey of the content of preaching in churches today yields the sad results that the verse above has been inverted and reads: ‘For we preach ourselves, but NOT Christ Jesus the Lord.’
The church, for whom Christ died, seems for the most part, to leave Him entirely out of the messages they proclaim. The Lord Jesus has become an inconvenience not dissimilar to those merchants, whose swine were lost over the precipice, in exchange for the demoniac’s salvation. They bid him depart from their coasts because he inconvenienced their business endeavours.
Sadly we see that Jesus has become too controversial as a person, too divisive as a teacher and too confrontational in His views. Today our church leaders, pastors and preachers have exchanged the deep doctrines of Christ for a weak, watered down gospel message which pivots on a psychological appeal. It seems, for the most part, that the days are gone where the man of God mounts the pulpit with one purpose of heart, and that is the exaltation of Christ and the Words of Life.
The average pastor is more concerned with the politics of the church than the person of Christ. More consumed is he with the finances and the building projects, than with turning his congregation’s attention to the person, life, work and example of Christ. Dear friend, have we forgotten the purpose of our sanctification; ‘to be conformed to the image of His Son’ (Rom.8:29)
Perhaps you wonder why the lost are not being rescued and it seems as though your evangelistic endeavours are in vain. Have you made much of Christ? Have you with John the Baptiser boldly stated that ‘He must increase, but I must decrease’ (John 3:30)? Is the Christ of Calvary real to you or are you chained to the prison of religiosity? What is the message of your ministry? For many, the content of their life’s message is entirely immersed in personal achievements, financial prospects and worldly attainments. But what of Christ? The saint, like a trumpeter, is to announce the coming of the King of glory with power and gusto, but many of God’s heralds have muted their instruments and their preaching is reduced to a whisper of sound.
Dear preacher we must be very careful to maintain a right focus in our preaching and in our ministry. We cannot afford a moment’s glance at this world, for if we get a taste of the well watered plains we will soon be dwelling inside the very gates of Sodom and worst of all, we will lead others to this vile place.
At the risk of offence, I must urge upon you the need to take serious inventory of your preaching. Do you still announce your topic and then make a beeline for the cross? Does the dullest of passages come alive as you lead your people to the life of Christ? Have we got sloppy in our message preparation and therefore leave no lingering application for our people to digest? Our land is in a spiritual drought and our people MUST be led to the water of the Word that they might be cleansed of the filthiness of this world. Our land is in a spiritual famine and it is the responsibility of God’s servant to prepare a hearty meal to satisfy the hungering soul. Let us feast on Christ!
‘Behold the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.’