The Tabernacle Scroll
"It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry; but others out of goodwill. …….But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice” (Philippians 1: 15 & 18, NIV, emphasis mine.)
When he wrote to the Philippians, Paul was ‘in chains’ because he was ‘preaching Christ’. His imprisonment stimulated others to forcefully proclaim the gospel. However, not all of those who were so stimulated did so with the right motives! Some actually did so out of rivalry and a sense of competition with Paul. Rather than being upset by their motives, Paul rejoiced. What did it matter what their personal motives were as long as Christ was being preached? Now, we must not assume from this that our motives are not important. God will judge our works!
But it is not about our motives that I write. I want to answer the question: “What does it really mean to ‘preach Christ’ effectively"? Someone once defined effective preaching as “ preaching that keeps the Saviour pre-eminent in all things”. To ‘preach Christ’ would therefore imply relating all truth to His person and His work. In other words, Christ is not simply the message; He is the reason or motive!
When we ‘preach Christ’ we are trying to touch three areas: (1) the heart (to encourage devotion), (2) the mind (to bring sound teaching) and (3) the will (to instill duty to perform). Preaching that is aimed only at the emotions and has no doctrinal foundation or practical application will never have any lasting benefit (producing weak Christians). Preaching that only reveals truth without making a personal heart response application is nothing more than a religious lecture (producing legalists). Preaching that demands changed behaviour without relating that requirement to sound doctrine can well become control and manipulation (which is really witchcraft). So, be on guard for false teachers and prophets.
Now for some examples. When Paul was teaching on the duty of giving, he based it on the doctrine of God’s grace (2 Cor. 8:1-9). He based the duty to forgive on the doctrine of “God forgave you” (Eph. 4:32). He encouraged us to walk in love (a duty), because “Christ loved us” (a doctrine, Eph.5: 1,2). Not just a message, but also a motive! An appeal to the emotions, but to the mind and will too.
You might be thinking “But I’m not a preacher. This does not apply to me”. WRONG! Remember, every time you read the Bible, Christ is being preached to you! The principles are the same. The Word speaks to your mind, your heart and your will! So, whenever you speak of Christ, your appeal should do likewise.
www.kerysso.org-Preach The Word with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues