Once again… but this time perhaps more disjointed. Bear with me.
A couple years ago I went thru a period of deep consternation over what I saw as a problem with my preaching. Time and time again I would get up and preach my heart out and would be time and again soundly rejected by everyone who heard. It would be even worse when there was a crowd with whom I felt I especially connected with and was getting them to understand what I was preaching but then characteristically they would reject it and march away seemingly unmoved and unswayed from their sinful lifestyle. As I reflected on this and after seeing it for years consistently I was really getting concerned that perhaps we were preaching a false gospel or doing it in such a way as to obscure the true gospel or perhaps that I just wasn’t doing a good enough job at presenting it.
This was before I came to convictions regarding the absolute sovereignty of God over salvation and the depravity of man’s heart. The notion of man that I had was definitely arminian to the core. I viewed man as deeply confused rather than at war with God. I saw their arguments as valid concerns rather than the disguises thrown up by hearts that hate the God that made them. And thus I saw the fault of their rejecting my preaching as falling upon me. I just wasn’t good enough at arguing or not convincing enough or something.
Now, since coming to grips with the teachings of scripture about the wickedness of our hearts I can see that the problem was not so much with my preaching as with the brute fact that I was advocating God before a crowd that hated His guts and was at war with Him. (Kind of like showing up in the middle of the hood and preaching white supremacy to all the homies. Not very likely to be well received. I wouldn’t preach that by the way.) They by nature reject it and thru no cunning argument or wisdom of words could I possibly reach them.
One thing before I go on. If someone wants me to provide scriptural evidence for the doctrinal positions that I am mulling over here I would be happy to provide them. This is not intended as a scriptural thesis so much as the mutterings of a convoluted mind over various topics.
So now when I go out and preach I think I can see things the way the writers of the new testament saw them. The people before me, no matter how innocent they may seem, no matter how honest in their excuses and arguments, are at heart wicked rebels against a good God and my duty is to faithfully uphold the glory of God in all areas and then show them their sin in the light of that and finally to present the call of the gospel. They will reject it. Of course they will. They could nothing but reject it because they hate the light as it exposes their sin.
So in the area of preaching as in all other areas of the Christian life the preacher is cast entirely on the grace of God. I as a preacher am utterly useless to bring someone to Christ. He must give eyes to see. He must remove the stony hearts and give hearts of flesh. He must save.
Now if the Father decided in His sovereignty not to reveal himself at all to anyone then it is not as if we have wasted our time. First off we have obeyed God and even if no one is ever saved the preaching is worth it for this sole reason. But in another sense what we do is also well worth it.
When the gospel is presented it naturally divides people. If God works in your heart then you are drawn to His throne in repentance and if He leaves yo to your own end then you will run from Him with all you have. Noone is left standing still when the gospel is faithfully represented. You will be affected either negatively in heaping up your damnation or positively thru the Father saving you.
God is glorified in both sets of people. With those the Father decides to save we will glorify Him thru all eternity for His mercy and grace. With those He chooses not to save we will glorify Him thru all eternity for His justice in their condemnation. Read Romans 9:22-23. Two purposes are given for the Father’s election of man. One that He may show His wrath and make His power known. Two that He could make known the riches of His glory. Hallelujah!! But that is for another blog post.
I have many more thought I was wanting to share on preaching but I have said enough for now. The night drags on and my bed calls my name.
No, Caleb, crucify the flesh. Read your bible. Study the Word.
But it looks so nice there with the soft pillow and the warm blankets.
Who needs sleep? Listen to some Greg Bahnsen or something.
But the nice bed???
Who wins? Guess I will find out in a very few minutes.