Tag Archives: christ

The 5 Best Sentences You’ll Ever Read

OK – – 7 Best Sentences You’ll Ever Read (I added two more after I wrote the title…)

  1. You were bought with a price. ~1 Corinthians 6:20
  2. For you were called to freedom, brothers. ~Galatians 5:13
  3. If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. ~John 8:36
  4. God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~Romans 5:8
  5. Salvation belongs to the LORD; Your blessing be on all Your people! ~Psalm 3:8
  6. Abound in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. ~1 Corinthians 15:58
  7. In God’s unique Son, by faith, we are no longer slaves, but adopted sons—and amazingly, heirs with Jesus of all he inherits. ~Galatians 4:1–7 (via Ian McConnell)

What sentences are the best you’ve ever read?

What Gospel-Centered Preaching Is and Does

Tim Keller writes,

“Christ-centered preaching converts doctrinal lectures or little how-to talks into true sermons.”

“The gospel brings news primarily, rather than instruction.”

Keller explains,

“In Luke 24 we learn that every single part of the Bible is really about Jesus. The Christ-centric preaching approach sees the whole Bible as essentially one big story with a central plot: God restores the world lost in Eden by intervening in history to call out and form a new humanity. This intervention climaxes in Jesus Christ, who accomplishes salvation for us what we could not accomplish for ourselves. While only a minority of Biblical passages actually give the whole storyline, every Biblical text must be placed in the whole storyline to be understood. In other words, every text must be asked “What does this tell me about the salvation we have in Christ?” in order to be understood.

This understanding of preaching, then, turns all preaching into narrative preaching, even if it is an exposition of Deuteronomy, Proverbs or James. Every sermon is a story in which the plot of the human dilemma thickens, and the hero that comes to the rescue is Jesus. Christ-centric preaching converts doctrinal lectures or little how-to talks into narrative preaching, but it is still careful, close Biblical exposition of texts.

The “informational” view of preaching conceives of preaching as changing people’s lives after the sermon. They listen to the sermon, take notes, and then apply the Biblical principles during the week. But this assumes that our main problem is a lack of compliance to Biblical principles, when (as we saw above) all our problems are actually due to a lack of joy and belief in the gospel. Our real problem is that Jesus’ salvation is not as real to our hearts as the significance and security our idols promise us. If that’s our real problem, then the purpose of preaching is to make Christ so real to the heart that in the sermon people have an experience of his grace, and the false saviors that drive us lose their power and grip on us on the spot. That’s the “experiential” view of preaching.”

Objection to Gospel-Centered Preaching

One objection to Christ-Centered preaching was expressed like this:

“While I would never want to take any emphasis away from the gospel, I would ask why those who have accepted the gospel need to be continually reminded of what took place?

If we assume for a minute that the gospel message is synonymous with telling how one can join a club (again, just assumption for a minute for understanding purposes). It would be as if you continually, week after week, twice a week, told the members of that club what must take place for them to join the club.

That sounds somewhat silly.

Likewise, we have already believed the good news. The good news that Jesus did come. While it is still good news, and while we should always rejoice in hearing that Jesus did come and die for our sins, we cannot forbid ourselves from learning other truths presented within the Word.

The Scripture speaks of the gospel, yes, but it does not only speak of the gospel. And while the gospel message may be the pivotal point and the climactic reason for all that is, this doesn’t mean that the gospel is all that there is”

Answering the Objection

I also can understand being a skeptic of Gospel-Centered Preaching. To reference the “joining the club” analogy, I must say that to equate the Gospel as merely an entrance to the Christian life is a misunderstanding of the real ramifications of what the Gospel truly is.

Scripture is like a great movie. Not every scene contains the main character, yet each scene pertains to the main character and would not make much sense without reference to the main character.

Think of Lord of the Rings. In the Two Towers, Gandalf told Aragorn to hold on and keep fighting. As far as Gandalf was concerned, the battle was already won. As soon as Gandalf showed up in the wee hours of the morning, all hope was instantly restored in those who were fighting. Even though Gandalf was not in much of the scenes at this point, it makes little sense for them to fight a seemingly losing battle without connecting what they are doing (fighting a good fight) to the one who has won the battle for them.

Likewise, even though Jesus is not specifically mentioned or even referenced in various passages, it makes little sense to preach to people “Do not lie,” and leave it at that. Yes, we should not lie, and it is good and right to tell the truth, just as it was good and right for Aragorn (and his allies) to fight for their lives and for that which is good, however, we must reference our doing (do not lie, love your neighbor, etc…) to Christ and His finished work. In the words of Paul, “It is Christ formed within us.”

Why shouldn’t we lie? Because it is wrong to lie? Yes, but a more profound reason is that as we partake of the nature of God (without becoming God, mind you – 2 Peter 1:4), the natural result is that we will want to tell the truth simply because of the Spirit of Christ Who lives within us. Because of the Spirit of Christ living in us, we partake of the nature of God which by necessity precedes the law – the law is the natural expression of the nature of God. To merely preach and teach our duty alone and it only being right to do because God desires us to do so seems to miss the point of our doing completely. We are to do these commands and follow these statutes because Christ Who is the exact imprint of the nature of God (Hebrews 1:3) of which we partake has 1) already finished the full requirement of the whole law (fulfilling our duty) 2) exhorts us to do them in reflection and admiration for what He (Christ) has done for us and in our place.

So why must we make the Gospel central in our preaching? Because Jesus and His finished work is the means by which we partake of God’s nature. Without making the Gospel the central reference point in our thinking and doing, we cease to preach a Christian message. The Christian message is Christ has fulfilled the whole law for us and in our place and it, that is, the gospel, is then what motivates us to do His will.

Reasons Why I Would Reject Christianity

I would reject the Christian faith for the following reasons:

1. The resurrection was found falsified or a lie beyond a shadow of a doubt (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).
2. There was a compelling reason for me to reject Christianity and look to another religion– vis-a-vis something better than Jesus Christ’s resurrection.

We hold tight to the cross of Christ and His resurrection because, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19).

Jesus: Prophet, Priest, and King in His Resurrection

John Stott once wrote, “The resurrection is God’s decisive demonstration that he had not died in vain.”

Do you know what makes Christianity unique? The resurrection of Jesus.

Do you know what sets Christianity apart from all other religions? The resurrection of Jesus.

‎”The resurrection of Jesus Christ is God’s public signature that all that Christ taught was true!” ~Mark Dever

Jesus the Great Prophet

Jesus was a great prophet, yet he was unlike any other prophet of God. He not only proclaimed the very words of God, He was the very Word of God made flesh (John 1:1-4). He was God’s Word Incarnate. He came to do the will of the Father (Luke 22:42), to reveal the Father (Matthew 11:27), and to speak the things of the Father (John 8:28; 12:49). See also, Luke 13:33, Matthew 13:57.

Jesus the Great High Priest

Jesus was not only the greatest Prophet of God, He was also the Great High Priest of God. “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:5-10). Jesus who is the True Priest offered himself as a sacrifice (Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 9:26-27; 10:12). “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation” (Hebrews 9:11). As a priest, Jesus is our mediator between God and ourselves (1 Timothy 2:5).

Jesus the King

“A king is someone who has authority to rule and reign over a group of people. Jesus is just such a king. He is called the King of the Jews by the Magi (Matthew 2:2), and Jesus accepts that title in Matthew 27:11, “Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned Him, saying, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘It is as you say.’” Matthew 21:5 speaks of Jesus and says, “Behold your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey.” Remember, Jesus is King in that he rules and judges. “And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war,” (Revelation 19:11). The armies follow him (Revelation 19:14).

The phrase, “Kingdom of God,” occurs 66 times in the NASB, most of them in the synoptic gospels. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel,” (Mark 1:14). Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come,” (Matthew 6:10). Is there a kingdom of God without a King? No. Jesus is that king: “‘Are You the King of the Jews?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘It is as you say,'” (Matthew 27:11). See CARM.

The resurrection is God’s stamp of approval of Jesus’ finished work as the Great Prophet, Priest and King.

As Paul proclaims in Philippians 3:10-11, “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:13ff).

This is our hope.

He is risen! He is risen, indeed!!