Summary: Preaching of the gospel should be an encouraging word.
The world has much religion, but it has only one gospel. Religion in itself or in its own vacuum is man made. There lies the difference between religion and the gospel. Religion is man made, the gospel is God given. Religion is what man does for God; the gospel is what God has done for man. The gospel we preach has a unique and unusual power; it actually defies human logic and reasoning. The gospel we preach can break a hard heart, and yet that same gospel can heal a broken heart. The gospel we preach can afflict the comfortable, and yet that same gospel can comfort the afflicted. The gospel we preach is a balm for the burdens of God’s people. It’s a salve for the sickness that often invades the body of Christ. The gospel we preach is spiritual medicine for our misery, its peace for our pain. It’s calmness sometime for life chaos.
The Pastor/Preacher has been called and commissioned to do many things, but the Pastor is charged and commissioned to proclaim, to preach, and to be the herald of His Word. The preacher has been armed with the word of God. God has place in the heart, hand, and the lips of the Pastor/Preacher a great and grave task, to handle his word. And handle that word with care, compassion, and commitment to his people. The preaching of the gospel is the bedrock of our calling; it’s the center of our mission.
The proclamation is what God has sent us to do! It’s the treasure we have in these jars of clay. Can you believe that? God has invested a treasure such as this in us. In this worthless vessel of clay, he has entrusted his gospel to us.
In this 12th chapter of John, Jesus is drawing close to his destiny of the cross. He has been anointed by Mary (Lazarus’ sister), Judas is upset because he feels that the costly perfume could have been used for better things. Christ has also entered the city of Jerusalem on a donkey and the Palm branches have been strewn in front of him. The Hosannas have been boisterous.
In verse 32, He says, and I, if I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.
And the next verse clearly says that He was speaking about His death. He was actually prophesying the power and the affect that the Cross would have on the world. The one then and the world that was yet to come.
But these words can equally be applied as an application and reminder to those of us in the Pastoral Role. These words can contain:
1. The Force of the Gospel (And I)
2. The Faith of the Gospel (be lifted up)
3. The Fruit of the Gospel (will draw)
These words can serve as reminders to us of the priority, commission, and the responsibility of this calling. The Pastor who leads, serves, and preaches can use this as a mandate for the ministry that God has assigned. This text suggests several principles and precepts.
I. As Pastors we have a Lifting Word.
The preacher must preach Christ as if he was crucified yesterday, rose today, and is coming back tomorrow. We are armed with a word that lifts the hearer. Our gospel is a lifting gospel; the preacher can not lift you. But the power of the preaching will lift you.
A. This Word Can Lift Your Spirit.
Sometimes there are those who come to church with a wounded spirit, worn spirit, a weary spirit. There is something about the power of the gospel that can lift your spirit. It can change your attitude; it can motivate you in the midst of your misery.
The story of the woman who cleaned floors 6 days a week and rose to go church early on Sunday after working 6 days 13 hours a day.
B. This Word Can Lift You In Your Situations.
1. If you are perhaps wondering how to make it through your weakness… His grace.
2. If you are wondering how you are going to make it; my God shall supply.
3. If you are feeling alone and forsaken… He promised never to leave you.
4. If you are have doubts about his power and provision. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever more
II. As Pastors we have a Liberating Word.
What a word that is, and I. That is an awesome word connected to an awesome phrase.
I am the Way, I am the Good Shepherd. I am the Alpha and Omega; I am the Bread of Life... I am the Door...
Christ was a greater liberator than Gandhi in India, Greater than King and his dismantling the bricks of segregation, greater than Mandela, greater than Schindler..