Books,  Pastoring,  Theology

To Transform Men, Women and Nations

We live in an age of easy-believing. Many of those professing the name of Christ offer a false gospel, trading in a parody of Jesus’ message that demands neither conviction for sin nor alignment with God’s will. Words like “love” are used to cover up and condone sin rather than shine a redemptive spotlight on it. God is reduced to a doting uncle, who loves us but is largely out of the picture, leaving man to rescue himself. He would never punish, and sin is something that can be forgiven without a concern for holiness or justice. The words of Jesus provide a strong contrast: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24, ESV).

What is needed now is what was needed by the early church, and by the church throughout history: careful and godly preaching of the Scriptures. Joel Beeke, reflecting on the preaching of the Puritans, offers the following:

When God’s Word is preached experimentally, the Holy Spirit uses it to transform men, women and nations. Such preaching transforms because it corresponds to the vital experience of the children of God (Romans 5:1-11), clearly explains the marks of saving grace in the believer (Matthew 5:3-12), proclaims the high calling of believers as the servants of God in the world (Matthew 5:13-16), and shows the eternal destination of believers and unbelievers (Revelation 21:1-9).

Dear Timothy, p. 248

If we would truly follow Jesus’ command to “make disciples”, we must be about giving them the whole counsel of God, and not just the part that agrees with the spirit of the age. We aren’t just teaching a body of beliefs for mental acceptance. Nor do we merely preach a warm emotionalism that unites us in a common humanity. Instead, we preach our sinful condition, our desperate state. We preach a glorious, merciful God. We preach a willing Savior who took our very own sin and bore it on the cross. We preach a salvation that secures everything necessary for both acceptance into the family of God and the living out of a godly life before His face. And we preach a Spirit who makes a new people, called out of sin to holy living.

Grace and peace to you as we approach the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus!

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