Session 4 – Preaching Christ and Him Crucified (Lawson)
Text: 1 Corinthians 2:1-9
1 Corinthians 2:1-9
1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.
2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling,
4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
5 that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Wisdom from the Spirit
6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.
7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.
8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—(ESV)
We live in an age of Christless Christianity. We are obsessed with buildings and programs. We are obsessed to be relevant and well-liked. Churches have everything except Christ. They are human-centered and human to the fringes. Christ is completely cast out the door. The motto of the church today is “do more, try harder.” There is little preaching of Jesus Christ as Lord. There is little preaching of Christ as savior. Christ, if He is preached at all, is presented as a coach. It is easy to fall into this trap in preaching. A great sounding sermon can be devoid of Christ. Or it can contain a watered-down Christ.
The letter to the Colossians was necessitated because of Gnosticism within the church of Colossae.
How we preach – there are four key words in Colossians 1:28 which define how we preach. It matters to God how we preach Christ. All four are necessary and cannot be omitted. Three deal with preaching and one deals with expositing. We need to consider our preaching ministry in light of this standard.
1. Proclamation. Proclaim is the main verb in verse 28. The other verbs are participles. We must be known as proclaimers. Not speakers, not lecturers, not discussion leaders, not facilitators and not just teachers. Christ must be proclaimed because lives hang in the balance. There is a preposition added to the primary verb which gives it force. See Acts 13:5,38.
a. Preaching must go beyond teaching. Teaching is ground level. Preaching reaches a higher level.
b. To proclaim Christ means to speak with authority. Boldness deals with the full disclosure of the truth, to speak frankly, openly, straightforward.
c. We proclaim what we believe, and we proclaim all that we believe.
2. Admonition. All preaching must include admonishing, warning, stimulating, encouraging, persuading, exhortation. This is the Greek word “nouthesia”.
a. We cannot be stoic preachers. We are to awaken the slumbering. We are to plead with people to repent. Too many preachers are too proud to plead.
b. We are to preach with tears.
c. We must challenge people to apply the truth that they have been taught. The will of the preacher must make a claim on the will of the hearer. We are a hyper-grace people, we don’t warn people of the consequences of sin.
d. Read Spurgeon’s sermon “Compel Them to Come In.” (online here)
e. Jesus Christ preached the threatening of eternal divine wrath more than anyone else in the Bible.
3. Teaching. This involves truth, doctrine, instruction, orderly and organized presentation. Explain the text. There is profound theology within the text which must be brought out. We use the word “exegetical” to describe this kind of teaching.
a. Why do preachers not preach expositorily?
i. They don’t know how.
ii. They don’t have role models.
iii. They don’t want to do the hard work.
iv. They are afraid.
b. What does the word “expository” mean? It means setting forth the primary things. To expound, to explain. The preacher is the mouthpiece for the Biblical text.
i. The Bible is like a lion. It needs no defense. It just needs to be turned loose.
c. Exposition without proclamation, admonition, and wisdom is clinical and boring. All proclamation with no exposition is superficial. It fills the sanctuary but not the pulpit.
4. Wisdom. Bring the word of God to bear on life in a life-changing way. Choosing the best means to reach the highest goal.
a. Without wisdom preaching is like a bridge that does not reach to the far side of the chasm.
b. Read Stott’s book “Between Two Worlds.”
c. The Bible does not have to be made to be relevant – it is relevant. The preacher’s job is to show the relevance to the congregation.
e. We take too much time getting our guns into position and never fire a shot from the pulpit.
f. Wisdom in preaching is to point out the errors of the world.
g. Preaching is that in which God Himself is present.
Who is adequate to this high call of preaching? No one. It requires the power of Jesus Christ. Without Jesus Christ, there is nothing to our preaching. Preaching must have an impact.