“The poor have the gospel preached to them” Matthew 11:5
In the first place, let me say then, that the gospel must be preached where the poor can come and hear it. How can the poor have the gospel preached to them, if they cannot come and listen to it? And yet how many of our places of worship are there into which they cannot come, and into which, if they could come, they would only come as inferior creatures. They may sit in the back seats, but are not to be known and recognised as anything like other people. Hence the absolute necessity of having places of worship large enough to accommodate the multitude, and hence, moreover, the obligation to go out into the highways and hedges. If the poor are to have the gospel preached unto them, then we must take it where they can get it. If I wanted to preach to English people, it would be of no use for me to go and stand on one of the peaks of the Himalayas, and begin preaching; they could not hear me there.
The gospel must be preached attractively before the poor will have the gospel preached unto them. Why, there is no attraction in the gospel to the great mass of our race, as it is currently preached. I confess that when I have a violent headache, and cannot sleep, I could almost wish for some droning minister to preach to me; I feel certain I could go to sleep then, for I hare heard some under the soporific influence of whose eloquence I could most comfortably snore. But it is not at all likely that the poor will ever go to hear such preachers as these. If they are preached to in fine terms in grandiloquent language which they cannot lay hold of the poor will not have the gospel preached to them, for they will not go to hear it. They must have something attractive to them; we must preach as Christ did; we must tell anecdotes, and stories, and parables, as he did, we must come down and make the gospel attractive. The reason why the old puritan preachers could get congregations was this--they did not give their hearers dry theology. They illustrated it; they had an anecdote from this and a quaint passage from that classic author; here a verse of poetry; here and there even a quip or pun a thing which now a-days is a sin above all sins, but which was constantly committed by these preachers, whom I have ever esteemed as the patterns of pulpit eloquence.
Preaching must reach the popular ear; and to get at the people it must be interesting to them, and by the grace of God we hope it shall be.
But, in the next place, if the poor are to have the gospel preached unto them, it must be preached simply. It is a waste of time to preach Latin to you, is it not? To the multitude of people it is of no use delivering a discourse in Greek.
We may preach, very simply too, and very attractively, and yet it may not be true that “the poor have the gospel preached to them,” for the poor may have something else preached to them beside the gospel. It is, then, highly important that we should each of us ask what the gospel is, and that when we think we know it we should not be ashamed to say,”This is the gospel, and I will preach it boldly, though all men should deny it.” Oh! I fear that there is such a thing as preaching another gospel “which is not another, but there be some that trouble us.”
Mark, it is not preaching, but it is preaching the gospel that is the mark of Christs dispensation and of his truth. Let us take care to preach fully the depravity of man, let us dwell thoroughly upon his lost and ruined estate under the law, and his restoration under the gospel, let us preach of these three things for as a good brother said, “The gospel lies in three things, the Word of God only, the blood of Christ only, and the Holy Spirit only.” These three things make up the gospel. “The Bible, the Bible alone the religion of Protestants; the blood of Christ the only salvation from sin, the only means of the pardon of our guilt, and the Holy Spirit the only regenerator, the only converting power that will alone work in us to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Without these three things there is no gospel. Let us take heed, then, for it is a serious matter, that when the people listen to us it is the gospel that we preach, or else we may be as guilty as was Nero, the tyrant, who, when Rome was starving, sent his ships to Alexandria, where there was corn in plenty, not for wheat, but for sand to scatter in the arena for his gladiators.
The Lord grant that the whole of us may feel the influence of the gospel I contend for this, that to gospelize a man is the greatest miracle in the world.
“The lame walk.” Gospelizing a man is more than this. It is not only making a lame man walk, but it is making a dead man who could not walk in the right way walk in the right way ever afterwards.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible