A Reminder to Preach Christ and Him Crucified
The temptation is real. The messages are now legion. With the world in crisis because of one thing or another, it becomes customary for Christian pastors to preach on something related to current events. The mistake is made when the event or crisis dominates our message to our neighbors…especially from the pulpit.
Nothing demonstrates one’s lack of trust in the Gospel of Jesus Christ like circumstances that tempt us to philosophy and psychology. The natural tendency of natural man is to focus on self. For Christians, it is a war between the flesh and the Spirit (Gal 5:17).
We must remember that our adversary is a master deceiver (Jn 8:44). He uses distraction as a weapon. Because the flesh is weak (Mt 26:41), men are prone to seek solutions to their problems — without God. The life we are to live is by faith (Gal 2:20). This does not mean we become impractical or imprudent; rather, we must double-down with our duty.
The stewardship entrusted to the man of God is to preach Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor 2:2; 9:15). In season and out of season, we are commanded to preach the Word (2 Tim 4:2), and being obedient, we must rightly divide the Word of truth (2 Tim 2:15).
We must never forget that man’s problem is sin (Rom 3:23; 6:23; Eph 2:3). All of the maladies and melee going on around us is symptomatic of sin. When our lives are disrupted, there is only one antidote, and that is the blood of Christ (Eph 2:13; 1 Pet 1:19). While men scramble for a remedy to cure the current crisis, the man of God remains in place, unwavering in his commitment to serve God, by proclaiming Good News to dying sinners.
Every other discipline vies for self-importance, declaring itself “essential” for the moment. There is no end to those who insist they are essential. We must never dismiss the reality of temptation to deem some other message more important.
Death is an enemy that must be reckoned with by all people (1 Cor 15:26). Our thoughts, words, and diverse actions are killing us. The reason everything we do is killing us is because we occupy a world of sin. There is only one end to sin, and that end is death (Rom 6:23). The infection rate of sin is 100% and nobody recovers. Therefore, the death rate is 100%.
Men live in denial of death, which only proves the power of delusion (2 Cor 4:4; 2 Thess 2:11). Death is inevitable and so is distraction. The war we are fighting is spiritual (Eph 6:10–20). The unprepared will die, unexpectedly, and their eternal home is the horror house of hell-fire.
It is the mission of the Christian preacher to herald a message of hope that in the face of death, there is life. This life is Christ Jesus, Himself (Jn 14:6). There is life in no one else. This one life in God’s Son is new, abundant, and eternal. There is a foretaste of it now, but resurrection life for the body will occur on the day of Christ’s return, in the glory of judgment and salvation.
Pandemics, pestilence, and plagues always serve as a heightening of the awareness of death. This is important. Men are lured away from consciousness of their demise; therefore, anything that enhances their apprehension of it, works to warn them. The preacher is blessed by this sharpened sensibility. Men are made sober by God sending judgment to them.
God has mercy on whom He will have mercy (Rom 9:15). He grants repentance to His elect (Acts 5:31; 11:18; Eph 1:4–5), by sending them His Spirit (Rom 5:5), who causes them to be born again of God (1 Pet 1:3). The means by which He saves His chosen people is through a sent preacher (Rom 10:17), who proclaims Christ (Col 1:28), the wisdom of God and the power of God (1 Cor 1:24), which is the power of God unto salvation for those granted faith by Him (Rom 1:16–17; Phil 1:29), who is the Author of our faith (Heb 12:2).
We who believe have been positioned as beneficial heirs of His covenant of grace. Having been brought into Christ, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:31–39), including death by pandemic virus infection. The body is going to die one way or another; therefore, people must be warned of the wrath to come (Mt 3:7; Lk 3:7; 1 Thess 1:10).
Deliverance from sickness, caused by disease, is only temporary. All have sinned; thus, all must die (Rom 3:23; 1 Cor 15:22). There are innumerable ways to die and one of those ways will be the cause of your death, my friend. It is a gross error to not prepare for the day of your demise.
Men must first see their souls as dead in sin, dead to God (Eph 2:1–3). More obvious is their dying bodies. Both the soul and the body must be brought to life. It is imperative that the soul be made alive (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13), today, so that the resurrection hope of the body will be manifested on the last day. If the soul is not regenerated in this life, then, it never will be saved, but it will be conjoined with one’s resurrected body of death unto judgment (Jn 5:25–29).
Man of God, preacher of the Gospel, all men everywhere, need to hear you declare the excellencies of Christ. If this crisis does not kill them, then something else will. Therefore, our message does not stop, nor does it change. It is sin that is killing us, and death is proof of that fact.
Do not forsake your calling and do not forsake the people God has sent, to hear you preach Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor 1:18, 23; 2:2, 4). This is what we do, and only what we do. If you need to go do something else, then go do it. Open your pulpit that a true preacher may fill it, and minister to the flock of God, with the good medicine of the Word of God.
Spokane Valley, Washington
November 29, 2022