We Cannot, By Any Means, Quit Preaching

Can’t you hear people during that time say, “What good is preaching if people among us are starving and suffering?  The time for preaching is over and the time for action is here.”  However, the Apostles, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, say the dangerous temptation put in front of them and said “Nothing can eclipse the importance of preaching the Word.  We’ll ask God to help us raise up others who can meet those needs.  We cannot, by any means, quit preaching.

– D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Acts 6:1-5

as quoted by Greear, J.D.; Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary; B&H Publishing Group; Nashville, TN; Copyright 2011; Kindle Edition; page 235

Three Qualities of a “Gospel-Centered” Church

I’m going to give you three qualities of a “gospel-centered” church.  Unfortunately, I think the examples of churches who model all three are very few:

  1. In a gospel-centered church, preaching the message of the gospel is the priority.
  2. In a gospel-centered church, the emphasis of the message is more on what Christ has done than what we are to do.
  3. In a gospel-centered church, the members demonstrate the beauty of the gospel in the community.

– Greear, J.D.; Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary; B&H Publishing Group; Nashville, TN; Copyright 2011; Kindle Edition; page 221-228

Christianity Is Not Another Word for a “Spiritual Shower”

There is another crucial reason why preaching the Gospel of free grace is both necessary and effective at a time when moralism is what reigns supreme; moralism is what far too many people already think Christianity is all about – rules and standards and behavior and cleaning yourself up.

– Tchividian, Tullian; One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World; David Cook Publishers; copyright 2013; Kindle Edition; Location 2167

Grace Is Wild

Grace is wild.  Grace unsettles everything.  Grace overflows the banks.  Grace messes up your hair.  Grace is not tame.  In fact, unless we are making the devout nervous, we are not preaching grace as we ought.

– Tchividian, Tullian; One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World; David Cook Publishers; copyright 2013; Kindle Edition; Location 2034

This is How the Kingdom of Christ is Advanced

With the Reformation, Luther revived Augustine’s insights.  The kingdom of Christ advances exclusively through the Spiritual sword: the Word of God.  It is embraced by faith, rather than being coercively imposed by force.  In earthly affairs, unbelievers often excel believers.  We build temporal cities by our works, but receive the kingdom of Christ through preaching and sacrament.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 251

The Saints, Today, Are Being Improverished

Calvin and other reformers argued that the Supper should occupy a central place alongside preaching each week.  Yet its strange absence from the regular gathering of many churches today impoverishes the saints, weaken the diet and the sinews that connect us to our living Head and to each other as members of his body, and dampens the gratitude that feeds our missionary zeal.  It is the Eucharist, along with preaching and baptism, that not only generates a church in the first place, but keeps its focus on Christ’s presence in action as well as his absence in the flesh, generating our longing for his return.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 202-203

Does The Gospel Form the Central Content of Most of Today’s Preaching?

Although there are allusions to this remarkable story [the Gospel] in popular preaching and evangelism today, one wonders if it can be said that it forms the central content.  Even in conservative Protestant circles today, the gospel is popular summarized with formulas, definitions, and phrases that are not even implied in the New Testament.  In fact, these phrases shift the focus from Christ back to us.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 90-91