February 3, 2013
What Does It Mean To Preach Christ?
There are many opinions in the religious world as to what it means to preach Christ. Some say it means to preach the man and not the plan. This is the age old philosophy that says, “Doctrine is not what is important. De-emphasize doctrine because doctrine is divisive. Emphasize the man, the Christ, for therein is unity.” There are several things about this concept that need to be considered. First, the word of God says doctrine is important.
- The doctrine we preach must be sound. (Tit. 1:9; 2:1)
- It must be true (Jno. 17:17; Eph. 1:13;Col. 1:5)
- It must be the doctrine of Christ. (2 Jno. 9-11)
- It must be the the apostles’ doctrine. (Acts 2:42)
Second, true doctrine is not divisive, but it is one of the means of attaining unity. (Jno. 17:20-21)
Religious error, false doctrine, and heresy divide. (Titus 3:9-11)
So, what does it mean to preach Christ? The only way we can know is by the testimony of scripture. To preach Christ is to preach Jesus as the Messiah. (Acts 17:2-3~ Acts 18:28) This will exclude the preaching of other so-called Messiahs. There is only one! Preaching Christ means to preach the love, mercy, and grace of God. There are many false concepts of God’s love, mercy, and grace. Therefore, we must preach the true grace of God. (1 Pet. 5:12) The love, mercy, and grace of God are all exhibited in Christ. (Jno. 1:17; 3:16; Acts 15:11; Eph. 2:5, 8-9; 2 Tim. 2:1) True grace teaches us to abandon unrighteousness and to live holy lives. (Rom. 6: 1; Titus 2:11-12)
To preach Christ means to proclaim that there is only one religious body that is acceptable to God, and that it is the congregation of Christ (Eph.1:22-23;4:4; Co1.1:18,24). Philip preached Christ to the people of Samaria, and in doing so he also preached the kingdom of God. (Acts 8:4,5,12) The kingdom of God is the reign of God in the hearts of people through the gospel. The New Testament knows nothing of acceptable man-made religion. (Mat. 15: 13-14)
Preaching Christ is to emphatically proclaim the essentiality of
immersion in water in order to receive the forgiveness of sins.
(Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21) Philip preached Christ to the Samaritans and many of them were immersed. Philip taught them the necessity of immersion, otherwise they would not have known of the need to be immersed. (Acts 8: 12-13) Philip also preached Jesus to the Ethiopian eunuch. The Eunuch, like the Samaritans, was immersed. (Acts 8:35, 37-39)
Preaching Christ implies the need to vigorously defend the gospel. Paul preached Christ and he said he was put here for the defense of the gospel. (Phil. 1: 14-18) Paul disputed with those who taught a “gospel” that was not God’s gospel. (Acts 15:1-2; 17:2-4) Jude tells holy people to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to them. (Jude 3) Paul told Timothy to “Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Tim. 6: 12)
To preach Christ involves preaching the coming judgment. Paul preached Christ to the people of Athens, Greece. He told them God “commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all people by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31) Paul preached faith in Christ to Felix the governor, and in his proclamation he spoke of “future judgment.” (Acts 24:25) Felix was terrified! We must be careful not to limit the preaching of Christ to just one thing!