This short article may be taken to be very difficult to swallow. In actual essence it simply contains the basic instructions of the Christian faith and doctrine. When we neglect the preaching of the word (and resort to carnal means of church growth) we inadvertently pander to base activities that on the surface may draw multitudes but profit little to bring sinners to repentance. You see, only God begins the good work of salvation in us. (Phil 1:6) Then after he begins it, we repent of our sins and believe in Christ as our Savior. Jesus said it is the spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. (John 6:63)
So, we learn from the bible that its not only the preaching of the Word that causes faith to exist in God’s people. There is a two fold event that occurs – the preaching of the Word together with the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.
A good illustration to help see this connection is:
Imagine a blind man is seated in a dark room. He sits in pitch darkness for two reasons. In the first instance, there is no light. In the second instance he cannot see for his eyes are blinded. What he needs in order to see are two things. He needs the introduction of light and he needs his eyesight restored.
By the preaching of the Word of God, the illumination or turning on of the light occurs. When we neglect the preaching of the Word for fancy games, movie sermon series and positive self help affirmations in church many people miss having an opportune moment to have their lights turned on. Every one who hears the preaching of the Word is exposed to the light.
Regeneration (making the dead man live again) is similar to the opening of the eyes of the blind man. It requires the greatest miracle that only the Spirit of God can do. Regeneration restores one’s ability to understand spiritual things.
Both preaching of the Word and regeneration are there fore essential as the ultimate answer is not found within man himself but in the Sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit regenerates those whom God has called and chosen (his elect).
God makes the elect alive from the dead, they are then able to respond to the gospel offer.