But why is it that when the gospel is preached only some believe? The answer is that the gospel itself has no power to quicken the dead. Just as light has no power to give sight to the blind, so the gospel has no power to restore understanding to spiritually blind people. “It is the spirit that quickeneth,” said Jesus (John 6:63). Without a direct work of the Spirit in the heart, men may hear what the preacher says, and may even enjoy it; but they will never he convinced and converted. It was so with some who heard Ezekiel preach! “Lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that bath a pleasant voice,” said the Lord, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not” (Ezek. 33:32). This is What the Bible means when it speaks of having ears and not being able to hear. It means that people can hear the words (sounds) without appropriating them (the meaning). But when the Holy Spirit regenerates the heart the word has its effect.
Well, Rome has always been associated with a lot of mischief but I think the gospel is changing the hearts of some. Daniel Ventura writes about the effects of the Reformation and gospel in Italy today:
The first thing I noticed when driving from the airport is that Italian drivers are crazy. No one is paying much attention to stop signs, speed limits, or any other traffic signs for that matter. Everyone seems to be in a hurry to get to and from wherever it is they are going, and there is not much acknowledgment of one another on the road unless you have an Italian flag hanging outside your window following the victory of an Italian soccer match (then you receive a flood of honks every corner you turn!).
It seems Italian driving indicates something about the Italian cultural mindset in general. Both in the car, walking down the street, in café’s and supermarkets, everyone is focused simply on what is going on right in front of them. There are not many friendly hellos’, warm smiles, conversations on the corner, or any real human acknowledgement of one another for that matter. And in such a difficult economic time for Italy, it makes a lot of sense that there is this sense of depression and gloom wherever you go. In many ways, people are forced into this kind of lifestyle because the pressures are so great to meet financial obligations; so only an individualized fast paced life keeps one enduring each day.
How little must the presence of God be felt in that place, where the high functions of the pulpit are degraded into a stipulated exchange of entertainment, on the one side, and of admiration, on the other! and surely it were a sight to make angels weep, when a weak and vapouring mortal, surrounded by his fellow-sinners, and hastening to the grave and the judgment along with them, finds it a dearer object to his bosom, to regale his hearers by the exhibition of himself, than to do, in plain earnest the work of his Master, and urge on the business of repentance and of faith, by the impressive simplicities of the gospel.-Thomas Chalmers
A very interesting and very dis heartening occurence these days in many churches and among very well meaning Christians is when time for testimonies exceeds time given to listening to the preaching of the gospel. No, testimonies are not wrong. They indeed remind us that God is doing marvellous things in our midst. But it is also good to remember that it is the gospel that saves and not the flashing lights and THE BOOM in the story – however dramatic the experience was.
If our testimonies, our teachings and our lives are centred around the gospel then we will be known as the gospel guys-Christ followers or Christians saved by grace through faith in Christ to the glory of God. Read more of this post
This is a very wonderfully passionate sermon clip where Voddie Baucham preaches on the cultures wars, the relevance of preserving the sanctity of marriage and the lace that binds everything together…the centrality of the gospel in our lives.
Now you know why I got carried away and kept screaming for him to preach on. 🙂 …Read More!
It is usually said that if a stone is thrown into a pack of dogs, the one hit by the stone will usually holler. The same seems to be true with the preaching of the gospel – it begins to bring conviction of sin. Some people don’t like this message and it becomes an offence and a stumbling block to them. North Carolinans seem to be chewing on something odd this week:
On Monday night, vandals desecrated the Cedar Hill AME Zion Church in Ansonville, east of Charlotte, North Carolina, spray-painting obscenities on the wall, smashing stained-glass windows and defecating on the church pulpit. …Read More!