Continued Missing Parts,
3. The Threat and Terrors of Hell, and the Guilt of Sinners. We often hear people say, “I’m tired of hell-fire and brimstone preaching!” “Well,” I often reply, “when was the last time you heard any?” It is true, very few people preach on hell anymore – it is no longer in vogue. We shouldn’t scare the poor sinners, no, that wouldn’t do. They’re just unfortunate, misguided souls, right? Wrong! The Bible clearly shows that they are rebels who have robbed and dishonored the living God, infinitely offending Him.7 They have no right to look at themselves in any other light.
But we, smart as we are, have decided to help God along. He doesn’t understand our generation as well as we do. The things Jesus emphasized in His preaching were all right for the Jews, but our generation needs a more gentle, loving tone. “Tell ’em about heaven!” We talk about heaven, about the “rewards of being born-again,” but we completely neglect the other side of the “two-edged sword.” (Heb. 4:12) What right do we have to remove things from the Gospel that Jesus Himself gave great place to in His own preaching?8
4. The Law of God Preached to Convict One of Sin. Pages could be written on this subject, but there is room for only one brief example. When the rich young ruler came to Jesus, he asked a very direct question: “Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Can you imagine what our preachers would answer him today? “Just admit you’re a sinner, accept Jesus as your Personal Savior, go to church, pay your tithes, try to be good, and you’re in!” But what was Jesus’ answer? “You know the commandments… if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matt 19:17; Mark 10:19) The commandments?? Why they went out with Cecil B. DeMille! Isn’t this the “age of grace”?
Well, the truth is Jesus wasn’t preaching the commandments to him as the way of salvation, He was using the commandments to specifically convict him of his particular sin – greed. That rich boy loved the bucks, and Jesus knew just how to flush him out of the bushes – preach the Law! And that’s exactly what the Law is for- “For through the Law comes the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20), that’s what Paul said. The Law must be preached – not as the way of salvation, but as a searchlight put on the sinner’s heart, so he can see how utterly rotten he is, compared to the way God requires him to be. (Gal. 3:24)
But today again, we are wiser than God. Our preaching isn’t filled with “dos and don’ts.” No, we don’t want to scare the “liberated generation” away. Why, if we said that fornication was wrong, or drugs, or abortion, or any other specific sin, people would feel all condemned and then how could they get saved? But that’s just it, Jesus preached the Law to the rich young ruler so that, after feeling condemned about his greed, he could turn and obey Jesus and find true treasure in heaven. “Go and sell all you possess and give it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven, and come, follow Me.” (Mark 10:21)Unless people are truly convicted of sin, if they do not fully see that they are totally condemned by the requirements of God’s Law, then it is virtually impossible to show them the need for a savior. Why, what would they need to be saved from? Fun?
That is why our modern gospel must dwell on “all the good things God will do for you if you’d just accept Him!” We can’t convince a sinner that he needs a savior by just getting him to admit that, “Well, generally, yes, I am a sinner.” He must see how the Law of God totally condemns him as a sinner,9 and then the beauty of the Gospel, the glory of the cross, the marvelous power of Christ’s blood will be able to penetrate his anxious, waiting mind and heart. Only by the preaching of the Law can a man fully desire to be saved from his sin. For, “I would not have come to know sin except through the Law. “(Rom. 7:7). To continue
7) John 8:44; Acts 13:9-11; I Cor. 6:9; Gal. 4:16: Eph. 2:1-3; James 4:4; II Peter 2:12-19. 8) Matt. 5:22; 8:12, 10:28, 13:41-42, 49-50, 22:11-14, 23:13,33, 4:48-51, 25:30,46; Luke 13:26-28. 9) Rom. 2:12,20, 3:20-21, 4:15, 5:13,20, 10:4; I Cor. 15:56; Gal. 2:16,19, 3:10-11; James 29:11.