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We live in the most religious day the world has ever known. Multiplied millions of dollars are given by people every year to build huge, elaborate “church” buildings. In some places, thousands of people crowd into huge auditoriums every Sunday to sing the songs of Zion and listen to a man preach. Their sincerity cannot be questioned. They hope, by their religious devotions, to attain everlasting life and salvation. As I behold their devotions, I feel like Paul, when he came into Athens and beheld the devotions of the Athenians on Mars Hill. I want to cry out to the world around me, “God is not impressed with silver, or gold, or stone graven by art and man’s device. God is Spirit. If you worship him, you must worship him in spirit and in truth. Outward religion, without heart faith in Christ, is damning!”
Paul tells us, “bodily exercise profiteth little.” That is to say, the mere exercise of religious duties and devotions, even when performed with great sincerity and zeal, are of no benefit to your soul. “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” Godliness is Christ in you. Godliness is the knowledge of and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That is indescribably great gain. And that is what I want for you. I want you to know Christ.
Apart from living faith in Christ, there is no pardon for sin, no cleansing from iniquity, no reconciliation with God, no access to him, no acceptance with him, no peace in your soul, no hope of heaven, no escape from hell, no salvation! Yet, it is by the outward means of public worship, by the preaching of the gospel that God the Holy Spirit conveys grace and salvation to our souls (Romans 10:17; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 1:23-25).
We are infallibly taught that the preaching of the gospel is the divinely appointed means of spiritual life and blessing. There is no substitute for it.
If Christless sermons fall on Christless crowds,
Allured by music and bewitching show,
The lifeless will remain lifeless,
And the bubble burst in woe.
The blame for so much empty, lifeless religion in our day must be laid squarely at the pulpit. Multitudes of those men who fill the pulpit, whose responsibility it is to preach Christ to eternity bound sinners Sunday after Sunday, only scatter chaff, and never preach the pure wheat of the gospel, — “Jesus Christ and him crucified.” “Christ is All” in the Book of God. “Christ is All” in redemption. “Christ is All” in salvation. And Christ will be All in eternity. Let Christ be All in the pulpit! My purpose in preaching and in all that I write is simple. I want you to know Christ. I have no other ambition. Therefore, I am determined to know nothing among you and to preach nothing to you, except “Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
God cannot be known, sinners cannot be saved, except by God the Holy Spirit revealing the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Most people who are familiar with the Bible, when they think of the Book of Exodus, immediately think of three things: The Exodus, The Giving of the Law, and The Wilderness wanderings of Israel. Few, very few realize that this blessed book of inspiration, in all its details, was written to reveal “Jesus Christ and him crucified.” It is my hope and prayer that God the Holy Spirit will discover Christ to you in the Book of Exodus.