Writing this post feels redundant. But even in my heart as I write this, I feel the tug of the Holy Spirit reminding me there are no sure assumptions and that he is absolutely in control of any and all results of my feeble attempts to encourage you in the importance of preaching the Gospel.
“God gave me a message to deliver and a horse to ride. Alas, I have killed the horse and now I cannot deliver the message.” – Robert Murray M’Cheyne
The famed Scottish minister Robert Murray M’Cheyne uttered these words during the time of his ministry before he died at the age of 29. M’Cheyne was widely regarded for his eloquent and powerful preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He lamented that after preaching to over 10,000 people from horseback, which in his day was an astounding number, that his horse had died and now he remained with the pressing urgency to proclaim the Gospel message but no way to deliver it to the multitudes without his horse.
In light of M’Cheyne’s example to us one question we may be left with is, “Why did the desire to preach burn so profoundly in this man and not me?”
Rather than compare ourselves to others, which can often lead to shame, guilt, or self-destruction, let us look instead to the message itself to find what it is about the Gospel that makes it worth God commanding us to mention to anyone at all.
Quite simply the Gospel message is:
“…Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” – 1 Cor 15:3b-4
Now inherent in this simple message lays the truth that, first, we are sinners. We have missed God’s perfect expectations for our lives and in doing so have rebelled against his good and loving care for us. But also implicit in this passage is that Scripture promised there would be one who would fulfill all of their requirements on our behalf and that Jesus Christ was this one. Not only did he fulfill the requirements of us in Scripture, he died for our sin. And finally, and most importantly, Jesus Christ rose from death, showing he had conquered the great enemy of all humanity so that all who trust in him have life in him.
As Paul says in Galatians 2:
For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:19-20
This message is, in all reality, foolishness and folly if it is not true. The notion that God, the God of the universe, would come down from his throne to become human, live the normal life of a first century Jew, keep the Law of God perfectly, be hated, falsely accused, tried, and put to death on a cross only to rise again from death three days later is an utterly unbelievable message – unless it’s true. Because if it is true, then it is the most amazing, spectacular, important, pressing, profound, and powerful news that could ever be uttered by human lips. If you allow yourself to sit in the awe of this, you can’t help but feel its importance and significance.
The fact that God himself chose for his Kingdom to go forward through broken, foolish human messengers preaching, proclaiming, and speaking this truth is almost as unbelievable as the message itself. But my friends this is true as well.
But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. - 1 Corinthians 1:23-25
Friends, we preach the Gospel because it is in the power and wisdom of God to do so. Sure it may sound crazy, sure God may use a fool like me or you to do it, but in its folly and in our weakness, God is magnified and the truth of this amazing news changes people’s lives as our God works through our words to reach those whom he has called to be his sons and daughters.
Preach boldly my friends,