This is involved in true Christianity. The Apostle sums this up perfectly in a great phrase in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Colossians v. I am labouring, says Paul, I am working, as it were agonizing in my labours. Yes, but this is the result of what He is doing to me and working in me! I am working out what He is working in. I am labouring, yes, but according to this tremendous working of God which worketh in me mightily.
So we have this perfect blending of the divine and the human, the power of God energizing a man and enabling him to carry on his work in the ministry. What a phrase! But it is also a statement that tests us and examines us. I do not hesitate to assert that the test of all preaching is its conformity to this definition of the message, and to this standard. Let us look at this task and calling of the minister, first of all negatively.
He is not simply to preach about current events. There are those who would criticize the spending of our time Sunday by Sunday in this examination of Ephesians 3, because of the world situation and the many pressing international, political, industrial and economic problems. They feel that preaching, to be relevant, should deal directly with such matters.
But is that the business of the Christian minister? Is it his business to express his view as to what the Government should have done last week or what it should not have done? Is it the business of the Church to be sending perpetual resolutions to governments and statesmen, and proffering their detailed advice on many specific issues? My answer is that I do not claim that I know any more about the international situation than any other church member.
Bitely Bible Conference
I do not have all the facts before me; so for me to express an opinion would be an impertinence. I have my views, as we all have, but I am in no position to stand and address a company of Christian people as to whether I think the Government has acted rightly or wrongly. That, I repeat, is not the primary business of the Christian minister.
- An Organization for the Promotion of Bible Study.
- El exilio interior (Spanish Edition).
- United We Fall.
- The Little Red Book: A “Bedroom Talk” Dictionary?
And I have a feeling that it is because the Church has so often done that kind of thing that not only is the Church as she is, but the world is as it is today. An impression was given to Hitler and others in Germany that his country had gone completely pacifist and would on no account engage in another war. It is dangerous for ministers, whether their position in the Church be exalted or otherwise, to express their opinions on these matters.
But again, it is not the business of the Christian Church to preach patriotism. It has often done so. The Church has often been nothing but a recruiting agency, a recruiting station in times of war. That is a travesty of the Christian ministry. The world was in great trouble when Paul wrote these things; the world has always been in trouble; but the peculiar business and task of the Church and its ministers is to do what the Apostle tells us here.
Far too often Christian ministers have been nothing but some kind of Court Chaplain, mouthing vague generalities. Neither is it the business of preaching simply to preach and to inculcate a general public morality or some general ethic. There has been much of this during the last hundred years, and the ministry has become less and less prophetic. Christianity has become more and more diluted and consequently ineffective.
The world can preach morality and ethics, and it has done so in various ways. The philosophers can do so and have done so. The Jews of the first century A. Yet further, the business of the preacher of the gospel is not merely to preach religion. Not even religion! Not even godliness in general! Judaism had been preaching the importance of religion and the vital importance of godliness. Let me go further. It is not the primary business of the preacher of the gospel even to tell people to pray and to conform to certain standards and to discipline themselves.
Mohammedanism does that, and does so very effectively indeed. It preaches a very stern discipline.
It preaches a worship of God. But that is not Christianity. In a sense you can have godliness without Christianity. It is a false godliness, I know, but it is a kind of godliness. Likewise you can have religion, and be very zealous in it. But that is not what Paul had been called to preach. He had been doing all that as a Pharisee. I go one step further; it is not the primary business of Christian ministers to teach and to preach even the teaching of Christ with regard to certain specific matters. They preach it every Sunday: war is the absolute sin, and if we only behaved in a nice way to other people, and refused to fight about anything we would be much happier.
To them that is the sum total of Christianity.
Recent Blog Posts
All these things fall hopelessly short of this great wondrous definition of the gospel which is given here by the Apostle. Think of all the pompous pronouncements upon the international situation which are made by ministers Sunday by Sunday.
- Lithium-Ion Batteries Hazard and Use Assessment (SpringerBriefs in Fire).
- Only When I Arth 8.
- Corrupt Fairy Tales;
- Love, Rachel - A Love Story from the Files of Jessica Summer (The Jessica Summer Series Book 2);
Think of all the ethical moral appeals, and appeals in the name of the country so regularly repeated. Where does Christ and His unsearchable riches come into it all? It is a travesty of the gospel; it is a waste of time.
- August 2-4, 12222.
- Josephine and I (Modern Plays).
- Related Resources.
- The Unsearchable Riches of Christ.
- Popular Links!
It is an abnegation of the duty and the task given to us. What then does Paul preach? What are we to preach? Primarily and essentially, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The essence of the gospel is Christ and what He gives to us. Not what we do, not what He asks us to do. That comes later. The obvious beginning and essence of the gospel is what He gives us, what we receive from Him. Paul is thrilled at the very thought of this. The first message, then, is about the gift of God, before there is any call to us to do anything.
Ultimately we cannot analyse it but because there is such a tendency in us merely to repeat these resounding phrases without considering what they mean, we must at least venture upon the work. The first thing we must emphasize is that the gospel is Christ Himself. Not first of all the unsearchable riches that He has to give us, but Christ Himself as the unsearchable riches. The message of Christianity is Christ Himself. Everything is in Him, and there is nothing apart from Him. God has treasured up all His riches in His Son; and everything that you and I ever derive in the Christian life is derived from Him directly.
Without contact with Him we have nothing. We are united to Him and we draw from Him; He is the fountain head. So, then, the message of the gospel is Christ Himself; what He gives, though of vast importance, takes second place. If we could but see what is in Christ! But it is unsearchable, untraceable.
This reminds us of our definition of the word mystery. It is a mystery, but it has been revealed. Thank God that this is so, otherwise we would know nothing at all about it. It follows that no man can ever find and lay hold on those riches in and of himself. Many a man has tried to do so.
Many a man has approached Christianity philosophically, and he has tried to understand it from the outside. He might as well have given up at the beginning for it can never be done.
Proclaiming the Unsearchable Riches of Christ - Bethlehem College and Seminary
The riches are untraceable, they are unsearchable; of himself man is incapable of getting at them. But, further, the riches that are in Christ are unsearchable in this respect, that no man, not even a Christian, can ever fully comprehend them. As Paul continued in the Christian life he was more and more amazed at these riches.
Six directions herein. The sixth doctrine. That it is the great duty of preachers or ministers to preach Jesus Christ to the people. Three rules or directions, that such are to observe, as would preach Christ aright to the people. They must mind more, and study more Scripture truths, than human writings, hinted in seven things.
They should dwell much upon the vanity of human doctrines, the vanity of which doctrines is discovered in five things. The last doctrine. That the office of a faithful minister is an honorable office. The several worthy names and titles that are given them in Scripture, speak them out to be honorable. They are fellow-laborers with God in the salvation of sinners. And what greater honor than to be a co-worker with God? Question: How must Christians honor their faithful ministers? Shown in five things. The Unsearchable Riches of Christ Thomas Brooks, "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ!
Eighteen properties of a humble soul. Five reasons of the point. Uses of it. Six ways wherein pride shows itself. Eight sweet inferences or uses made of this point. A word to unsaved sinners. This point proved and opened. Twelve reasons why gracious souls should exercise and improve their gifts and graces.
Seven considerations or motives to stir saints up to improve their gifts and graces. This point is opened and proved by eight arguments. To exhort Christians to labor to be spiritually rich. Five marks of a person who is spiritually rich.
The Unsearchable Riches of Christ (eBook)
If Christ is so rich, then take heed of three things. If Christ is so rich, oh then open to Christ when he knocks. If Christ is so rich, then sit down and wonder at his condescending love. A word to sinners. Nine directions to poor souls who would gladly get a interest in Christ. Does God want us to be rich, and if so, rich in what things? Jesus was teaching about the infinite value of the human soul and often compared it to the riches of the world, and it was no contest.
Whoever finds this great rich will see all that he has, is nothing compared to the Pearl of Great Price the kingdom! If you really desire to know Christ, you will suffer like Christ or share in His sufferings. God owns everything and when we trust in Christ, we become heirs with Christ Rom !
And the things offered to the children of God confound and astound.
They are truly greater than the Bible can describe. This is not our righteousness, but the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to us. What greater riches are there than to be transformed into a child of God by the Spirit of God through the Word of God, and for the glory of God!?
What kind of prosperity was John writing about? Was it wealth? Was it power? Was is something bigger and better in this world…or, was it something to be found in Christ? Our salvation cannot compare to all the riches in the universe.