“Because Thou Sayest, I Am Rich” (Revelation 3:17)
What makes mistaken men afraid of sovereign grace to preach! The reason is, if truth be said, because they are so rich. Why so offensive in their eyes does God’s election seem? Because they think themselves so wise that they have chosen Him.
Of perseverance why so loath are some to speak or hear? Because, as masters over sloth, they vow to persevere. Whence is imputed righteousness a point so little known? Because men think they all possess some righteousness their own.
Not so the needy, helpless soul, prefers his humble prayer; He looks to Him that works the whole, and seeks his treasure there. His language is, “Let me, my God, on sovereign grace rely; And own ’tis free, because bestowed on one so vile as I.
“Election! ’tis a word divine; for, Lord, I plainly see, Had not Thy choice [preceded] mine, I ne’er had chosen Thee. “For perseverance strength I’ve none, but would on this depend That Jesus, having loved His own, will love them to the end.
“Empty and bare, I come to Thee for righteousness divine; O may Thy matchless merits be, by imputation, mine.” Thus differ these; yet hoping each to make salvation sure. Now most men will approve the rich, but Christ has blessed the poor.
By Joseph Hart (1712-68)
(Tune: Amazing Grace Pg. 236)
One Pressing Question
Every time I get into a discussion with a person over the differences in our faith it inevitably comes down to the same question; “What is the gospel?” In short, the gospel is a Person. The content of our faith is completely tied to the True Person and True Work of the Lord Jesus Christ; who He is and what He did is everything in the gospel. The Word of God is our only source of light and truth in answering this most pressing question. 'Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth.' Jn. 17:17 God's word is a revelation of the person and work of Christ.ã€€ However, using biblical terms to answer these questions is not sufficient IF one is guilty of changing the meaning of those terms. Truth is, if words have meaning, and they do, God's word must be believed for what it means. To say I believe all men are sinners because the bible says so, and then give those same men the ability to accept Christ by their own free will, is to deny what a sinner is. To say I believe that Jesus is the Christ because the bible says so, but then to deny His success in accomplishing the full salvation of all Israel is to change the title Christ to 'christ wannabe'. To say I believe that Christ kept the law of God perfectly because the bible says so, and then to use that same law as a standard to prove men's salvation, is to deny that Christ is in fact the end of the law for righteousness. To say I believe salvation is of grace and not of works and then to make the accomplished work of Christ contingent on something I do, is to change grace to works. To say I believe Christ raised from the dead because the bible says so, and then to suggest in any way that there is something left for us to do in order to secure our salvation, is to change the glorious truth of the resurrection from a declaration of Divine satisfaction to a mere historical event. We could go on to every precious truth declared in God's word about the Lord Jesus Christ. Only when Christ is preached according to the scriptures does the gospel become the power of God unto salvation. God has never used a false prophet’s preaching to effect the salvation of one of His children. Satan is a counterfeiter by nature.ã€€ The Lord said he was a 'wolf in sheep’s clothing', an 'angel of light' a 'minister of righteousness'. We ought not be surprised that he would use God's word to spread his lies. All he has to do is change it's meaning a little.ã€€ A little leaven leaveneth the whole loaf.ã€€ Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. It destroys the gospel.
- Pastor Greg Elmquist
Every sermon, no matter the text or subject, must be preached with the awareness that there are sinners listening who do not know Christ, do not know themselves to be ruined in sin, nor do they know that God saves sinners by grace, through God’s gift of faith in Christ, altogether by the finished work of Christ alone. Every sermon must be preached with the awareness that the only way sinners, believers or otherwise, are profited, reproved, corrected, and instructed in righteousness, and that by the effectual grace of God, is by preaching Christ and him crucified—absolutely no other way!
Therefore, every sermon must clearly declare who Christ is, why Christ came, what Christ accomplished, where Christ is now and what Christ is doing now. Every verse or passage is best expounded by first, and as quickly as possible, declaring how Christ fulfilled it, how Christ glorified the Father and how Christ accomplished the salvation of the elect thereby. Then, if the verse or passage applies to the believers walk, if God gives a spiritual understanding in the heart, the believer will be comforted that Christ alone has made them the righteousness of God thereby; their flesh will be mortified as they behold how far short they come of heeding the instruction; and they will be given a desire in the inward man to heed the instruction constrained only by the love of Christ for them—our only motive.
Before every sermon is preached it is best to ask oneself, “If I were a lost sinner, after hearing this sermon will I be shut up to the truth that salvation is by God’s sovereign grace alone, through God’s gift of life and faith in Christ alone, and left with absolutely no room to conclude anything else but that my flesh profits nothing.” If so the sermon will declare the one thing needful; if not, it must be discarded for a sermon that does!