“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” John 5.39
The Christian Ministry: Part VI, chapter IV
Charles Bridges (1794-1869)
“Now every part of the Bible contains the Gospel substantially, but not formally. We must not therefore force unnatural interpretations on the Holy Writ for the purpose of constantly introducing the name of Christ. As all the principles and duties of the Gospel bear a relation more or less direct to Him, their enforcement upon the ground of this relation, is as strictly conformed to the Apostolic pattern, as would be the most complete exhibition of his sufferings and death. Only let us be careful, that His name throws life and glory upon all our Ministrations, and that every sermon tends to draw sinners to Him, and to establish Christians in their consistent profession.”
On one occasion, I participated in the examination of a candidate for ministry. Following the candidate’s trial sermon, the assembled brethren excused him, and then discussed his offering with vigor. All were roundly impressed with his exegesis and delivery, and with what they regarded as the relevance of his message for a congregation of preachers (as this group was). Then it was pointed out that the candidate failed to bring the text around to Jesus and the Gospel. It was a fair exhortation on a particular facet of pastoral work – more like a lecture – but it never found its way to Jesus. The assessor who offered that observation was rebuked by a colleague who said, “Well, if we’d wanted him to preach an evangelistic sermon, we should have told him so.” No, we should not have to tell him so. To preach is to preach Jesus – not necessarily the entire Gospel from every text, but enough of Jesus to get us, through Him, and from the text of His Word, to the Gospel needs of sinners of all sorts. Leave Jesus out of your preaching, and you encourage salvation apart from Him, and that is no salvation at all.
What are some ways, in your preaching and teaching, that you keep Jesus and the Gospel before your people? How do you do this both to evangelize and to edify?
T. M. Moore
The Heart of God’s Covenant
The heart of Scripture is God’s covenant, and the heart of God’s covenant is Jesus Christ. Our book, I Will Be Your God, explains the centrality of the covenant to all of Scripture, and the centrality of Jesus to all of God’s covenant. Order your copy by clicking here.
Fan into Flame
As shepherds of the Lord’s flocks, we need to make sure we’re actually doing the work God has appointed to us, especially where the Word of God is concerned. Our handbook, Fan into Flame, provides a concise overview of the shepherd’s ministry of the Word, and includes helpful self-evaluation tools, so you can discover areas of needed improvement. Order your copy by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.