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“A Message from God unto Thee”

Judges 3:20


Shortly after coming here as your pastor, when I was 29 years old, on May 11, 1980, I introduced my message to you with the following words.

“I like to read the biographies of God’s servants. It is always a blessed form of instruction for me. As a young man, my heart is encouraged by reading of how God worked in his servants in their mature years. As I read of those grand old men, I find that there is one thing characteristic of those whom God has been pleased to use for his own glory. It is the testimony of those who heard them that in their latter years they seemed to be totally consumed with one message. – They seemed to preach nothing but Jesus Christ. The nearer they came to heaven, the more their giant hearts were filled with thoughts of Christ. They preached up Christ, being convinced that nothing but the message of Christ and him crucified could do poor sinners any eternal good.

Now, my brothers and sisters, if you and I would be useful and fruitful, if we desire to serve our generation for the glory of Christ, we must make it our business as a congregation of believers to preach Christ and him crucified. Let us determine, at the outset of our labors together, to resist that tendency of human nature to be taken up with tangents. Let us adhere tenaciously to the old, old story. There is nothing like striking at the center, and keeping to the vital points; and as we are keeping to Christ and him crucified, we are keeping to that which will save souls, build up believers, feed and comfort the church, and bring glory to God.

Sometime ago, I had time and reason to make a solemn review of my ministry. And I resolved, by the grace of God, that so long as God gives me breath, I would preach nothing else but Christ unto men. Pulpits are made for preaching. For me to use my pulpit to lecture upon the sciences, morality, or politics would be to betray God, belittle my office as God’s preacher, and mock my hearers. With the Apostle Paul, I make this solemn avowal, “God forbid, that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Therefore, I come to you this morning with the glorious message of substitutionary redemption, blood atonement. I am full of anticipation as we begin our ministry together. And I want to begin with that which will be the key-note of our message for years to come. I ask that you give me your careful attention as we consider this question – “For Whom Did Christ Die?” The Apostle Paul gives us the answer in our text. – “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” I pray that God will graciously use my words for the salvation of the ungodly here this morning. And for us who are the children of God, I trust that the Lord God will fill our hearts with precious thoughts concerning our Redeemer. When my life is ended, I hope for only one thing from those who have heard my voice. I hope that you will reflect upon the days that we shall spend together and say, ‘Our pastor preached unto us the precious things of our Savior, Jesus Christ.’”

Nothing has changed. This is still my desire and my determination.




Don Fortner








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