SOURCE: B.C. Goodpasture, May 1968, Volume XII, No. 9, pp., 429-30.
The Glory of Preaching
by B.C. Goodpasture
There are two basic elements in all gospel preaching: the human and the divine. The gospel, the thing to be preached (Mark 16:15-16), originated with God (1 Timothy 1:11), has to do with Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-3; 2:1), as is to be proclaimed by man (2 Corinthians 4:7; 5:19). Preaching as a means of bringing salvation to the lost is a divine provision (1 Corinthians 1:21). The chief glory stems from the divine, rather than from the human element in the ministry of the word. Paul said, “Though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of” (1 Corinthians 9:16).
What are some of the things that contribute to the glory of preaching? We suggest:
1. In preaching the gospel there is the glory of an exclusive privilege.
Neither God, nor Christ, nor the Holy Spirit, nor any angel, directly preaches the gospel to man. Christ directed Ananias to Saul (Acts 9:12-15), the angel put Cornelius in touch with Peter (Acts 10:5), and the Holy Spirit sent Philip to the chariot of the eunuch (Acts 8:29). In evangelizing the world, preaching the gospel is the exclusive privilege of man. No angel nor archangel can share directly in this glorious work. Man is permitted to proclaim that message concerning which the ancient prophets searched, and into which the holy angels desired to look (1 Peter 1:10-12). God has committed his gospel to earthen vessels (2 Corinthians 4:7). The weight of this responsibility and the glory of this opportunity should humble man and inspire him to do all he can to make known the unsearchable riches of Christ.
2. In preaching the gospel there is glory in the privilege of delivering a dynamic message.
The chief glory in heralding the gospel resides not in the fact that one may thereby entertain or instruct his hearers, but in the fact that he may thereby save them: “The gospel of Christ … is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). In the proclamation of the gospel, man is privileged to deliver the most important message ever heard. He is permitted to engage in the greatest work in the world.
3. In preaching the gospel there is glory in saving the most priceless thing on earth, the soul of man.
It is a matter worth while to save the possessions, the literary productions, and the physical bodies of men. But these are as nothing compared with saving the souls of men. When Paul was planning to visit Corinth, he wrote the church, “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls” (2 Corinthians 12:15). The Great Apostle was not primarily concerned about the material affairs of the brethren at Corinth. He was interested in their souls. The soul is of inestimable value. Jesus inquired, “What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26). Knowles Shaw, “the Singing Evangelist,” said, just before he was killed in the wreck of a train near McKinney, Texas, “It is a glorious thing to rally lost men around the cross of Christ.”
4. In preaching the gospel there is a glory in the prospect of an eternal reward.
There is great satisfaction in bringing light to those who sit in darkness; there is great compensation in seeing those whom we have brought to Christ through the gospel happy in the possession of salvation. But the larger rewards are in the hereafter. Daniel, an exile, by the waters of Babylon, wrote, “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). The glory of the stars in the midnight sky will end with the wreck of worlds and the crash of matter; but the glory of the soul winner is eternal. It is no wonder Paul asked, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of glory? Are not ye, before our Lord Jesus at his coming? For ye are our glory and our joy” (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20).
Finally, in view of the foregoing considerations, the reader will surely exclaim with the great apostle to the Gentiles, “How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15).
Also found in Gospel Advocate, September 7, 1967.