We Preach Christ – John Haffner

We Preach Christ – John Haffner

What a glorious work and high responsibility—to preach Christ Jesus! We proclaim the good news of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord (1 Cor. 15:1-5). We announce the message of the gospel, God’s power to salvation (Rom. 1:16). Sadly, many reject the preaching of Jesus Christ. Paul recorded how preaching Christ presented a stumbling block for the Jews and appeared to be foolishness to the Greeks (1 Cor. 1:22-24). The Jews only wanted signs and often asked for them (Matt. 16:1; John 6:30). They were offended at the confirmed Messiah because He was not the physical conqueror they desired. The Greeks only wanted earthly wisdom and philosophy, loving to hear new thoughts from men (Acts 17:21; Col. 2:8). They denounced the idea of a crucified Savior because they could discern only the physical (1 Cor. 2:13-14). In similar fashion, many today claim to preach Christ, but they omit the deeper spiritual truths included in preaching Him.

Preaching Christ includes His identity and accomplishments. Jesus is the Son of God, who shares Divine nature with the Father and the Spirit (John 10:30; Col. 2:9). He was born of a virgin, taking the form of a servant (Matt. 1:23; Phil. 2:7). Numerous details of His time among mankind were prophesied hundreds of years before they occurred (Ps. 16:10; 22:18; 41:9; Isa. 7:14; 53:9;
Hos. 11:1; Mic. 5:2). He spent His life doing the will of the Father (Luke 2:49; John 4:34; 8:29). He lived a sinless life (Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 2:21-24). He suffered and died on the cross for the sins of mankind (Heb. 12:2; 1 John 2:2). He rose on the third day by the power of God (Acts 2:22-24; 10:36-41). He ascended to the Father in Heaven (Acts 1:6-11). These are all essential elements of preaching Christ, fundamentals which we don’t normally see missed by those who claim Christianity. However, the gospel of Christ must contain more than these facts because the gospel has something for mankind to obey (Rom. 6:17; 2 Thess. 1:8; 1 Pet. 4:17).

Preaching Christ includes His commands and doctrine. Jesus did more than live as a man and die as a sacrifice; as the Master Teacher, He presented to mankind the words of life (Mark 1:22; John 6:68; 7:46). If we love Him and hope to receive His blessings, then we must obey those words (Matt. 7:21; John 14:15). The Father has spoken to us and presented what we require for eternal life through the Son (John 7:15-17; Heb. 1:1-2; 5:9). Preaching the richness of Christ must involve His teaching on salvation (Eph. 1:7; 3:8). Therefore, if we preach Christ properly, we must labor to instruct and warn every person in God’s wisdom (Col. 1:27-29). This principle extends to the word of the inspired apostles; theirs is Christ’s doctrine (John 14:26; 1 Thess. 2:13; 4:1-2). Remember, when Philip “preached Jesus” to the eunuch, he spoke the same as the Lord and His apostles regarding baptism (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 8:34-38). Confessing Christ requires total agreement and submission—we uphold not just His identity and His works, but also every point of His doctrine (Matt. 10:32; Col. 3:17).

Preaching Christ includes a denial of self. Jesus must remain the focus of our lives and our teaching. Our motivation should never be impressing others or gaining a following for ourselves. The apostle Paul has shown this truth repeatedly in the New Testament. There is danger in trying to please mankind (Gal. 1:10). We don’t want to be known, to impress with excellent speech, or to present our good points. We preach Christ Jesus so that the Lord and His will would be known (1 Cor. 2:1-5; 2 Cor. 4:5). We have human mentors and good examples, but above all, we follow Christ (1 Cor. 11:1; Phil. 3:17). If or when others fail us, we will continue to be true to Him! Even if we suffer for righteousness’ sake at the misdeeds of others, we rejoice that Christ is preached (Phil. 1:15-18). We align with His will such that our lives can now be described as “Christ living in” us (Gal. 2:20). We have no place for pride or boasting except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Gal. 6:14). Christ Himself taught the importance of denying self (Luke 9:23). And no wonder, for salvation is only in Him—we cannot save ourselves (Acts 4:12; Rom. 5:6; Tit. 3:3-5).

When it comes to the glorious gospel of our Lord, accept no imitations (Gal. 1:6-10). Feel-good pep talks, entertaining stories, or charismatic performances can never replace what we need to hear in Christian preaching! Preaching designed to please the masses or promote man’s reasoning is vanity and foolishness and provides a poor defense against Satan (1 Cor. 10:12; 2 Tim. 4:2-4; 1 Pet. 5:8). We will never be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might until we do things His way (Psa. 119:92; Eph. 6:10-11). Take care what messages you are receiving and delivering. From our pulpits and in our personal lives, we need to see Christ preached—the truth of His identity and accomplishments, the commands and doctrine He has given for our good, and denial of self for the sake of His kingdom. Truly preaching Christ is the only thing which will result in bringing glory to our God and the salvation of souls!