Do You Preach Christ? -- By: Mark Lauterbach

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 11:4 (Fall 2002)
Article: Do You Preach Christ?
Author: Mark Lauterbach

Do You Preach Christ?

Mark Lauterbach

Let the motto upon your whole ministry be, “Christ is all.”

—Cotton Mather

Let me begin with a story. A few months ago, a young man came up before his presbytery for an ordination examination. He was grilled theologically. He proved his training credentials. Finally, he preached his ordination sermon. It was a very fine sermon on marriage. It was practical and helpful to the listeners. After delivery, he was dismissed while the presbytery evaluated his preaching.

There was some deliberation. There was no question of his ability to teach and preach. All noted, however, it was lacking something. After some reflection, they summarized their concern: That sermon gave no indication that Jesus Christ had come, lived a sinless life, suffered and borne sin and death into the grave, and rose again in triumph.

The young man preached with an open Bible. He explained the meaning of the passage. He gave wise application. Nevertheless, it was not a sermon that showed any influence of the work of Christ. Therefore, the presbytery did not believe it was a Christian sermon. In other words, a Muslim or a Mormon could have said the same thing.

This is telling. How many sermons have you heard or

preached that could have been given by a member of the Latter-Day Saints? How many times have you heard the Old Testament taught in a way that a rabbi would affirm? Is such preaching and teaching biblical? I do not think so. Here is my thesis:

All faithful New Testament ministry (public and private, preaching and prayer) must carry the fragrance of the Redeemer. The message of the gospel is our one message for unbelievers and believers.

Or quoting Charles Bridges in The Christian Ministry:

All the principles and duties of the Gospel bear a relation more or less direct to Him .... 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.1

Before we develop this further, let me note a significant assumption made by Bridges—that all ministry is to follow the pattern of apostolic ministry. How the apostles worked is how we are to work. Their modus operandi is to be ours. If they traced everything back to Christ, then we must as well.

Each of the following passages illustrates the point I am making.

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he i...

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