Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 2, 1954
NUMBER 30, PAGE 1,12b

Preaching Christ

Connie W. Adams, Atlanta, Georgia

The tragedy of religious division has become so apparent that sectarians, who once thought such arrangements were proper and necessary, have sought recently to find some common ground for unity. The papers have carried the story of attempts to abolish differences and have one church in which all can find peace and comfort. Efforts have been made to bring about unity by camouflaging differences. In this effort much importance has been given to the saying "less doctrine, and more Jesus." Others said, "forget doctrine and just preach Christ." One preacher, who was at one time a gospel preacher, but is now a rank Modernist, said, "We need to preach less baptism and exalt Jesus more." It would be a serious blunder for one to deny that Christ was paramount in the preaching of the apostles and other early harbingers of the faith. But it is not enough for us to say we shall preach Christ, for we must meditate upon the question, what does it mean to preach Christ? Since the Lord's word supplies the answer to every vital question regarding the destiny of souls, it likewise answers this question. In Acts 8:5 inspiration said, "Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ unto them."

Since Philip was a gospel preacher and preached Christ to the Samaritans, we can be benefitted greatly by learning what Philip said in preaching Christ. We are not left to guess or imagine for in verse 12 the record states, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women." If that constituted preaching Christ then, why can we not preach Christ the same way in this generation? The idea of preaching Christ and omitting doctrine is absurd. One cannot preach Christ and neglect the doctrine taught by Christ. Look closely now at Philip's manner of preaching Christ.

I. The Kingdom

When Philip preached Christ he preached about the kingdom of Christ. Well, what did he preach about the kingdom? Perhaps he preached that the kingdom would be established at some future date and that Christ would set up headquarters in old Jerusalem and there reign for a thousand years. No, Philip knew that the kingdom of Christ was already in existence. In Mark 9:1, Jesus said, "Verily I say unto you, that there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power." From this passage we may draw two conclusions with reference to the kingdom: (1) it was to come within the lifetime of some present on that occasion, and (2) it was to come with power. To determine the time when the power came will also determine the time when the kingdom came. In Acts 1:8 Jesus said to the apostles, "But ye shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon you." Passing to Acts 2:1-4 it is noticed that the Holy Spirit filled the apostles. The Holy Spirit was to bring power to the apostles and the kingdom was to come with power. The power came on Pentecost; therefore, the kingdom of Christ had its beginning that day. When one preaches now that the kingdom is yet to be established, we may immediately know that he is not preaching Christ, for to preach the kingdom of Christ is to preach that it is already in existence.

Furthermore, to preach the kingdom is to preach its nature. It was not designed to be an earthly kingdom with an army and navy marching to conquer the world by carnal force, but rather it was and is a spiritual kingdom. "Jesus answered, my kingdom is not of this world." (John 18:36.) Not only is it a spiritual kingdom, it is an immoveable kingdom. (Heb. 12:28.)

To preach the kingdom is to preach the church. Many have labored to prove that the kingdom and the church are not the same, but the scriptures teach otherwise. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, "I will build my church." In verse 19 he said, "and I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom." He used the terms church and kingdom interchangeably here. The church and the kingdom have the same head. (Colossians 1:18.) They have the same membership. Every person who is a citizen in the kingdom is a member of the church. The kingdom was established on Pentecost, yet on that day God added the obedient to the church. (Acts 2:47.) The church and the kingdom keep the same memorial. Jesus said the Lord's supper would be in the kingdom, yet 1 Corinthians 11:22-29 shows that early Christians observed it in the church. When I preach about the church, I am preaching the kingdom and preaching the kingdom is a part of preaching Christ.

II. The Name Of Christ

It is also stated that Philip, in preaching Christ, preached the name of Jesus Christ. Now, when we preach about the importance of wearing the proper name, people are prone to say, "there's nothing in a name," or "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." It is passing strange that people do not believe this about any subject but religion. They understand its importance in family matters. They know it would be improper to sign another name to a check. If a man has a Cadillac, he would not want it designated as a Ford. Now if names are so important in temporal affairs, how much more so in spiritual realms. Peter said, "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." To preach Christ is to preach the name of Christ.

III. Baptism

When the Samaritans heard Philip preach Christ "they were baptized both men and women." If Philip did not preach something about baptism to them, what made them think they should be baptized? In Acts 8 the account is given of the conversion of the Ethiopian nobleman. The same Philip who preached Christ to the Samaritans also preached Christ to the Ethiopian. He "began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus." (Acts 8:35.) The next verse credits the man as saying, "See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?" When New Testament preachers preached Christ, people were baptized as a result, but when modern day evangelists preach, people somehow get the idea that baptism is not important. The truth is they are not preaching Christ like Philip did.

May the day never come when gospel preachers are ashamed to stand and boldly declare the truth of God's kingdom, the importance of wearing the name of Christ, and the necessity of baptism! In this manner we will be preaching Christ as the apostles and early inspired men preached Christ.