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The Gospel the Power of God.

The Gospel the Power of God.

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Published by glennpease

" For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but
unto us who are saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians L 18.

" For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but
unto us who are saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians L 18.

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 15, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE GOSPEL THE POWER OF GOD. BY JOH HOWARD HITO" For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us who are saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians L 18. THERE is something very interesting I might almost say striking in the first phrase presented to us by this verse " the preaching of the cross." By " the preaching of the cross," of course, we understand the preaching of the Gospel, a phrase, indeed, which the apostle uses synonymously with it in the preceding verse. And there must be some reason why this, which is not the direct phrase, is used to denote the preaching of the Gospel ; that is, some reason why the preaching of the Gospel may be called also " the preaching of the cross." There are two circumstances which may have led to the use of this name. First, the apostle did not so preach the Gospel as to con- ceal the cross. Ecclesiastical history presents to us cases in which this has been done. It is upon record that some of the Roman Catholic missionaries that went out to China and the East did preach the Gospel concealing the cross hold- ing back the fact that Jesus the great Saviour had died in ignominy upon the cross, and telling their hearers only of those facts concerning him which had a ghnious appearance, such as his resurrection and ascension. And it might not have been altogether unnatural that the first disciples should have sympathized in such a feeling, and have gone about the world telling rather that Christ had risen than that he had died, telling rather of his ascension to the right hand of God than of his execution as a criminal under Pontius Pilate. This fact, as it was very humiliating, and had a character of ignominy and disgrace, so it tended to attach dishonour to his name, and to the Gospel of salvation which was
* Preached at Devonshire Square Cliaj^l, London, March 7th, 1852. 136 THE GOSPEL THE POWER OF GOD. preached in his name. But the apostles did not do so. With them the preaching of the Gospel was the preaching of the cross: they told the whole story, and gave as full and de- tailed an account of the Saviour's death, and the reproaches that fell upon his name, as they did of his resurrection and ascension into heaven, and the power that he exercised there. So distinct was this that their preaching of the Gospel might with justice be called "the preaching of the cross." Secondly, there is another reason which justifies the use of this phrase: the crucifixion of Christ supplied, and was the origin of, the great and influential topics which their preach- ing of the Gospel contained. It would have been nothing for Paul to have preached the resurrection of Christ the ascension of Christ- the glory of Christ in heaven, if he had not preached his death. These facts, glorious as they are, have no evangelical glory or meaning if you separate them from the cross. To say that Christ rose from the grave, and ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father, and maintains perpetual dominion there, is to state glorious facts ; but hide the circumstances of his atoning death pass it over let it not be told and there is nothing in all the rest. Take away the cross, and you take away the very life and soul of the Gospel itself. So the preaching of the Gospel was "the preaching of the cross." From the most ignominious part of it they drew the whole power of the Gospel they preached. And likely enough it was, that, going about the world and preaching such a Gospel, they should find many people who would reckon it " foolishness." Viewed according to the current notions then prevalent in the world, it was a foolish thing to preach such a Gospel as that. As far as the world
was Jewish, and leavened with Judaic notions, the people were everywhere expecting something great pomp, power, splendour. To preach to them a Gospel of the " cross "- to tell them of a man who was crucified with thieves, who was buffeted, and scourged, and spit upon that did not cor- respond with their ideas at all. They thoxight it "foolish- ness." And as far as the world was pagan, and leavened with the notions of pagan philosophy, men were intent on the pursuit of speculation. They wanted to settle the question of the nature of virtue of the sublime of the false of the true and many other points that Paul did not THE GOSPEL THE POWER OF GOD. 137 want to settle at all Paul taught them practical matters of eternal moment, which were "foolishness" to them. The simple doctrine he promulgated could not resolve any of their philosophical problems. A great many people, also, cast it aside from a general obduracy and unconcern of heart. A likely issue enough; but, thanks to God, not the only issue. There were some to whom it was "the power of God;" some who were saved by it. To them, and in their  judgment, it was a powerful thing. They had felt it such, and experience was a good proof in that matter. They found it a thing divinely powerful, having such power as never was found in any contrivance of man since the world was : a power worthy of God, such as might be fitting and honourable for God himself to exercise upon the heart and character of man; a power indicating the Gospel message to be not less than divine. We come, then, to a general idea on which I mean to enlarge a little, namely, that the Gospel is a power an instrument adapted to be of great influence on the heart of man. God's scheme of salvation by Jesus Christ has an efficacy with respect to his own system, and as it regards the procedure of his own administration ; but it is to have an effect, also, upon the heart and character of man. The preach-

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