Posted by Gary on August 6, 2009
Galatians 6:14 “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,”
Our summer reading group is reading “Old Paths” by Bishop J.C. Ryle. What a collection of sermons! What preaching, what power. Ryle is not hard to understand and holds forth truth with love and power. This week’s sermon is entitled, “The Cross of Christ” and from it I share this excerpt as Ryle speaks about churches that do not hold forth Jesus and His death on the cross:
No Church will ever be honoured in which Christ crucified is not continually lifted up : nothing whatever can make up for the want of the cross. Without it all things may be done decently and in order; without it there may he splendid ceremonies, beautiful music, gorgeous churches, learned ministers, crowded communion tables, huge collections for the poor but without the cross no good will be done; dark hearts will not be enlightened, proud hearts will not be humbled, mourning hearts will not be comforted, fainting hearts will not be cheered.
Sermons about the Catholic Church and an apostolic ministry,—sermons about baptism and the Lord’s supper,—sermons about unity and schism,—sermons about fasts and communion,—sermons about fathers and saints,—such sermons will never make up for the absence of sermons about the cross of Christ.
They may amuse some: they will feed none. A gorgeous banqueting room, and splendid gold plate on the table, will never make up to a hungry man for the want of food. Christ crucified is God’s grand ordinance for good to men. Whenever a Church keeps back Christ crucified, or puts anything whatever in that foremost place which Christ crucified should always have, from that moment a Church ceases to be useful.
Without Christ crucified in her pulpits, a Church is little better than a cumberer of the ground, a dead carcass, a well without water, a barren fig tree, a sleeping watchman, a silent trumpet, a dumb witness, an ambassador without terms of peace, a messenger without tidings, a lighthouse without fire, a stumbling-block to weak believers, a comfort to infidels, a hot-bed for formalism, a joy to the devil, and an offence to God.
What a word for today and for all time. What is the message your church and mine holds forth to those who attend? Are we preaching Christ and Him crucified for our sins?
May God keep us from the temptation and error of preaching a gospel that is not the gospel. The gospel is not help with finances, marriage counseling, or sermon series on sex. No doubt, such messages will find listeners but where is the cross? No mention of sin, no forgiveness of sin. No cross, no salvation.
We are building churches, are we saving souls?
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