Print Sermon

These sermon manuscripts and videos now go out to about 1,500,000 computers in over 215 countries every year at www.sermonsfortheworld.com. Hundreds of others watch the videos on YouTube, but they soon leave YouTube and come to our website. YouTube feeds people to our website. The sermon manuscripts are given in 35 languages to about 120,000 computers each month. The sermon manuscripts are not copyrighted, so preachers can use them without our permission. Please click here to learn how you can make a monthly donation to help us in this great work of spreading the Gospel to the whole world, including the Muslim and Hindu nations.

Whenever you write to Dr. Hymers always tell him what country you live in, or he cannot answer you. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net.




THE NEED OF THIS HOUR -
PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, July 24, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"But we preach Christ crucified" (I Corinthians 1:23).


I have been reading an article titled, "The Need for Biblical Preaching," by Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Mohler is a conservative man, and he has much to say in this article which is good and true. I don't agree with liberals in the Southern Baptist Convention who still maintain tight control of the 153 leftist Southern Baptist colleges, universities, and university-owned theological schools. Dr. Mohler, a conservative president, merely heads one of the seminaries. The Southern Baptists have a long, long way to go before we can proclaim that they have won the battle over liberalism. None the less, Dr. Mohler is a fine conservative man. I have given his entire article as an appendix at the end of this sermon. I hope you will read it on the Internet.

Without giving Dr. Mohler's whole article, I will try to summarize it in a few sentences. He says that preaching has fallen on hard times. There has been a shift from Bible-centered preaching to human-centered approaches to "meet the needs" of modern people. He quotes the rank, Bible-rejecting liberal, Harry Emerson Fosdick, who said, "Preaching is personal counseling on a group basis." He says that the old way of preaching was exemplified by the Puritan Richard Baxter, who said, "I preach as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men." But Baxter's old way of preaching, says Dr. Mohler, has changed in the last several decades to Fosdick's liberal method. "For Fosdick, the preacher is a kindly counselor offering helpful advice and encouragement." Mohler says, "Shockingly, this is now the approach evident in many evangelical pulpits. The [pulpit] has become an advice center and the pew has become the therapist's couch. Psychological and practical concerns have [replaced the preaching of the Gospel]. [The Gospel has been replaced by speaking on] temporal needs such as personal fulfillment, financial security, family peace, and career advancement. Too many sermons settle for answering these…needs and concerns, and fail to proclaim the [Gospel of Christ from the Bible]." You can read the rest of Dr. Mohler's article at the end of this sermon.

I believe he has pointed out the crying need of the churches at this hour - preaching Christ crucified, based on the words of the Bible. And this was precisely the point the Apostle Paul made when he gave the words of our text,

"But we preach Christ crucified" (I Corinthians 1:23).

Others may give bright and cheerful motivational messages borrowed from the Reader's Digest,

"But we preach Christ crucified" (I Corinthians 1:23).

Others may preach on a "purpose driven life,"

"But we preach Christ crucified" (I Corinthians 1:23).

Still others may give so-called "expositions," going through a long passage of Scripture, in order, verse by verse, saying a few shallow things about each verse as they pass along, trying to feed the goats, and somehow turn them into sheep by this method of "feeding" them,

"But we preach Christ crucified" (I Corinthians 1:23).

A preacher friend who thinks like I do about preaching agreed heartily when I said that he and I are dinosaurs. We are rapidly becoming extinct, since the old Gospel preachers have died off, and a new generation of highly successful men (it may superficially appear) have shown that the old way of preaching doesn't reach the modern man. And yet, I must still say with the Apostle Paul,

"But we preach Christ crucified" (I Corinthians 1:23).

You may ask why we, at this church, focus our preaching on the subject of Christ crucified. I will tell you why in three points.

I. First, we preach Christ crucified because Christ crucified is the
most important theme we could ever speak on.

The Apostle Paul, not Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, or John MacArthur, is the best model for any preacher. And Paul said, "We preach Christ crucified." That's enough for me! You can call me a dinosaur, a relic from a bygone day, too old-fashioned, with a pair of horned-rimmed glasses (big ones), a white shirt and tie, and an Old Scofield Bible in my hand, declaiming the great truths of the Gospel. So be it! If I am an outdated dinosaur, I stand in line with some pretty awesome dinosaurs of the past - Martin Luther, George Whitefield, John Wesley, John Bunyan, and C. H. Spurgeon. If I am a dinosaur, so were they, but they were pretty fierce ones in the pulpit. I would rather be a Tyrannosaurus Rex with flashing teeth, than one of the toothless wonders of the modern pulpit! Count me on the side of the fierce old dinosaurs, like Baxter and Bunyan, than with the spineless, smiling sycophants of the modern pulpit! Count me with men like the Apostle Paul, not the jelly livered "possibility thinkers" in the so-called "super churches." (What's so "super" about them anyway?) They aren't as "super" as the Mormons, who have even bigger crowds. They aren't as "super" as the Pope, who turns out literally millions to hear his stodgy "homilies." They aren't as "super" as Billy Graham, who has to resort to monkey tricks like featuring the "testimonies" of Bill and Hillary Clinton to draw a "super" crowd. No, I will not adopt their methods to draw a "super" crowd of worldly, unsaved people to hear forty-five minutes of rock music, before they are given 12 minutes of Oprah Winfrey-style "uplifting" motivation. I don't do that and I never will. To the day of my death I will stand with the Apostle Paul, who said,

"But we preach Christ crucified" (I Corinthians 1:23).

Why do I say that? Because preaching Christ crucified is the most important message that the world has ever heard - or ever will hear - until God pulls the curtain down on the stage of life and says, "Gentlemen, it is closing time." To the end of my life - nay, to the end of the world, my prayer will be that this inner city church, surrounded by strong paganism, unbelief, false religion, and unfathomable sin will continue on, never giving in to the world spirit, saying with the Apostle Paul,

"But we preach Christ crucified" (I Corinthians 1:23).

In fact we boldly say with the Apostle,

"I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (I Corinthians 2:2).

Others may choose another motto if they wish, but ever and always our theme must be,

"But we preach Christ crucified" (I Corinthians 1:23).

That is our anthem and our theme, and will be till God calls us home to Heaven!

"But we preach Christ crucified" (I Corinthians 1:23).

Christ crucified is the most important sermon any man could ever preach. Let us preach it "as a dying man to dying men." And whatever other choruses and "rock" songs others may feature in their services, let our song, and our anthem remain the same. "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood." Stand and sing it loud and strong!

There is a fountain filled with blood, Drawn from Emmanuel's veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains;
Lose all their guilty stains, Lose all their guilty stains,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains.
   ("There Is a Fountain" by William Cowper, 1731-1800).

"But we preach Christ crucified" (I Corinthians 1:23).

II. Second, we preach Christ crucified because Christ is the most
important person who ever lived, and His crucifixion is the most
important event in all human history.

He is the most important person who ever lived - not merely because of the lessons He taught or the example He gave - but because of who He is! By the hypostatic union, He is the God-man. No one who has ever lived could declare what Christ said, when He uttered these words,

"I and my Father are one" (John 10:30).

"He that seeth me seeth him that sent me" (John 12:45).

"He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14:9).

C. S. Lewis said that no one could say those words unless he were a madman - or who He said he was, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity - God the Son! By the mystery of the hypostatic union of God and man, Jesus alone, of all men who have ever lived, is both God and man. So strongly does the Bible present that hypostatic union of God and man in Christ, that

"God…hath purchased [us] with his own blood" (Acts 20:28).

The Body of Christ is the Body of God. The Blood of Christ is the Blood of God. Let those who reject these truths about the God-man Jesus do so at the peril of losing their souls in Hell fire, for

"He that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16).

We preach Christ crucified because Christ is the God-man, the most important personage ever to live on this earth. And His crucifixion on the Cross is the most important event in all of human history - for it was there on the Cross that the perfect, sinless God-man was crucified to pay the full penalty for your sin. And it is there that God's Blood poured out of those God-man veins to cleanse you from all sin, so you could stand in His perfect imputed righteousness in front of a Holy God. That is why we say with the Apostle,

"But we preach Christ crucified" (I Corinthians 1:23).

III. Third, we preach Christ crucified because He is the only one
who can save sinners from the guilt and penalty of sin.

Jesus said,

"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).

Christ is the only God-man who has ever lived. He is the only man who shed God's very Blood to cleanse your sins. No other religious leader or teacher has ever made such claims. But Jesus made them boldly.

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

No one but Jesus Christ, God the Son, can save you from the guilt of sin and the damnation of eternal Hell!

Others may preach "many ways" to Heaven. That may sound good in a pluralistic society which rejects all absolutes concerning what is right and wrong - and what is false and true. Let them reject the absolutes. Let them call us narrow-minded bigots. That will not in the slightest deter us from our holy calling,

"But we preach Christ crucified" (I Corinthians 1:23).

We end this sermon with a quotation from great Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, who, when speaking on our text, said,

We must be very clear in telling the sinner that there is no hope for him anywhere else but in Christ (C. H. Spurgeon, "Preaching Christ Crucified," The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1979 reprint, vol. LVI, p. 485).

Spurgeon said that the faithful preacher is to preach Christ crucified

to sinners of every age…of every rank…He also preaches Christ to sinners of every sort, even to the atheist, the man who says there is no God, and he bids him believe and live. He preaches Christ to the openly profane…to the harlots in the streets…to the drunkard…[to those unconverted in the church…to all men and women]. The preaching of Christ crucified…has power enough to turn…sinners into saints and so we [will] keep on preaching Christ [crucified] to all sinners of all sorts. We do not even intend to leave out one, not even you, my friend, who thinks you are left out, or ought to be left out…there is yet mercy for the miserable, yet there is forgiveness for the guilty who will come and trust in Jesus Christ, and him crucified…Oh, sinner, I [wish] you would trust Christ this very moment! Do you realize how great your danger is?...Beware lest thou art taken away unprepared, for, if that is your unhappy [destiny], there will be no ransom that can deliver you from [Hell]. See thy need of Christ, sinner, and lay hold of Him by faith. None but Christ can save thee (ibid., pages 487-490).

Come to Christ. He will pay the penalty for thy sin. He will clear thy sinful record and clothe thee in His righteousness. Oh, sinner, come to Christ!

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: I Corinthians 1:18-25.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
"For All My Sin" (by Norman Clayton, 1943).

(Dr. Mohler's article follows this outline)

THE OUTLINE OF

THE NEED OF THIS HOUR -
PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"But we preach Christ crucified" (I Corinthians 1:23).

I.   We preach Christ crucified because Christ crucified is the
most important theme we could ever speak on,
I Corinthians 2:2.

II.  We preach Christ crucified because Christ is the most important
person who ever lived, and His crucifixion is the most
important event in all human history, John 10:30; 12:44;
John 14:9; Acts 20:28; Mark 16:16.

III. We preach Christ crucified because He is the only one who can
save sinners from the guilt and penalty of sin, John 14:6;
Acts 4:12.


APPENDIX: "The Need for Biblical Preaching," by Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., given in its entirety for your study and edification.

The Need for Biblical Preaching
By R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary,
Louisville, Kentucky.

Has preaching fallen on hard times? An open debate is now being waged over the character and centrality of preaching in the church. At stake is nothing less than the integrity of Christian worship and proclamation.

How did this happen? Given the central place of preaching in the New Testament church, it would seem that the priority of biblical preaching should be uncontested. After all, as John A. Broadus famously remarked, "Preaching is characteristic of Christianity. No other religion has made the regular and frequent assembling of groups of people, to hear religious instruction and exhortation, an integral part of Christian worship."

Yet numerous influential voices within evangelicalism suggest that the age of the [Bible-based] sermon is now past. In its place, some contemporary preachers now substitute messages intentionally designed to reach secular or superficial congregations - messages which avoid preaching a biblical text, and thus avoid a potentially embarrassing confrontation with biblical truth.

A subtle shift visible at the onset of the 20th century has become a great divide as the 21st century gets underway. The shift from [Bible-based] preaching to more topical and human-centered approaches has grown into a debate over the place of Scripture in preaching, and the nature of preaching itself.

Two famous statements about preaching illustrate this growing divide. Reflecting poetically on the urgency and centrality of preaching, the Puritan pastor Richard Baxter once remarked, "I preach as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men." With vivid expression and a sense of gospel gravity, Baxter understood that preaching literally is a life or death affair. Eternity hangs in the balance as the preacher proclaims the Word.

Contrast that statement to the words of Harry Emerson Fosdick, perhaps the most famous (or infamous) preacher of the 20th century's early decades. Fosdick, pastor of the Riverside Church in New York City, provides an instructive contrast to the venerable Baxter: "Preaching," he explained, "is personal counseling on a group basis."

These two statements about preaching reveal the contours of the contemporary debate. For Baxter, the promise of heaven and the horrors of hell frame the preacher's consuming burden. For Fosdick, the preacher is a kindly counselor offering helpful advice and encouragement.

The current debate over preaching is most commonly explained as an argument about the focus and shape of the sermon. Should the preacher seek to preach a biblical text through a [Bible-based] sermon? Or should the preacher direct the sermon to the "felt needs" and perceived concerns of the hearers?

Clearly, many evangelicals now favor the second approach. Urged on by devotees of "needs-based preaching," many evangelicals have abandoned the text without recognizing that they have done so. These preachers eventually may get to the text in the course of the sermon, but the text does not set the agenda or establish the shape of the message.

Focusing on so-called "perceived needs" and allowing these needs to set the preaching agenda inevitably leads to a loss of biblical authority and biblical content in the sermon. Yet, this pattern is increasingly the norm in many evangelical pulpits. Fosdick must be smiling from the grave.

Earlier evangelicals recognized Fosdick's approach as a rejection of biblical preaching. An out-of-the-closet theological liberal, Fosdick paraded his rejection of biblical inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility - and rejected other doctrines central to the Christian faith. Enamored with trends in psychological theory, Fosdick became liberal Protestantism's happy pulpit therapist. The goal of his preaching was well captured by the title of one of his many books, On Being a Real Person.

Shockingly, this is now the approach evident in many evangelical pulpits. The sacred desk has become an advice center and the pew has become the therapist's couch. Psychological and practical concerns have displaced theological exegesis and the preacher directs his sermon to the congregation's perceived needs.

The problem is, of course, that the sinner does not know what his most urgent need is. He is blind to his need for redemption and reconciliation with God, and focuses on potentially real but temporal needs such as personal fulfillment, financial security, family peace, and career advancement. Too many sermons settle for answering these expressed needs and concerns, and fail to proclaim the Word of Truth.

Without a doubt, few preachers following this popular trend intend to depart from the Bible. But under the guise of an intention to reach modern secular men and women "where they are," the sermon has been transformed into a success seminar. Some verses of Scripture may be added to the mix, but for a sermon to be genuinely biblical, the text must set the agenda as the foundation of the message - not as an authority cited for spiritual footnoting.

Charles Spurgeon confronted the very same pattern of wavering pulpits in his own day. Some of the most fashionable and well-attended London churches featured pulpiteers who were the precursors to modern needs-based preachers. Spurgeon confessed that "The true ambassador for Christ feels that he himself stands before God and has to deal with souls in God's stead as God's servant, and stands in a solemn place - a place in which unfaithfulness is inhumanity to man as well as treason to God."

Spurgeon and Baxter understood the dangerous mandate of the preacher, and were therefore driven to the Bible as their only authority and message. They left their pulpits trembling with urgent concern for the souls of their hearers and fully aware of their accountability to God for preaching His Word, and His Word alone. Their sermons were measured by power; Fosdick's by popularity.

The current debate over preaching may well shake congregations, denominations, and the evangelical movement. But know this: The recovery and renewal of the church in this generation will come only when from pulpit to pulpit the herald preaches as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.

(Dr. Mohler's article is reprinted from Pulpit Helps, Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, publisher, July, 2005, pp. 1, 11).