12 Jul The Grace of God (Part 8): Preached Grace
Preached grace is the preaching of the gospel, which, when accompanied by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, releases the power of the gospel to transform sinners into saints by God’s grace.
Colossians 1:5–6 explains, “You have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth.”
The first page of the Bible reveals that God created the world through speaking, or, in other words, the world began with a sermon. In the first chapter of Genesis, we read that “God said” ten times. We then read seven times that “God saw” what His sermon accomplished, including revealing God, creating order, creating good things, bringing life, creating an environment in which life can exist, separating things, coming with authority, and accomplishing what God intended in powerful authority.
We then see that Satan the serpent shows up in Genesis 3 also to preach, which he did to our first parents, Adam and Eve. His sermon included twisting God’s Word and even boldly declaring that God’s sermon was a lie. Our first parents then had to choose which sermon they would believe. Tragically, they believed the serpent’s sermon over God’s, and sin, death, and chaos have ensued ever since. Furthermore, the serpent has continued preaching through false prophets and teachers every day since. In our own day, songs, movies, advertising, politics, and television are in essence sermons that preach about the important matters of life, such as who God is, who we are, and how we are to live our lives regarding such things as sexuality. Sometimes the serpent’s sermons are very subtle and other times they are widely public.
In the Old Testament, to counteract the false sermons of false preachers God sent forth a succession of prophets to declare His Word in truth with passion and authority. Those prophets declared, “Thus says the Lord,” hundreds of times in the pages of the Old Testament. Generally speaking, their messages centered on commanding people to repent of their sin, turn from false spiritualities, turn to God, and trust in the coming of Jesus. The work of the prophets continued until the coming of John the Baptizer, whom the prophet Malachi (3:1), hundreds of years prior, had revealed was coming to prepare the way for Jesus.
In Matthew 4:17 we then read, “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Indeed, Jesus’ ministry included feeding the hungry, healing the sick, loving the outcast, and befriending the sinner. But we must never forget that Jesus’ ministry began with preaching. Thus, preaching is the first priority of ministry that leads God’s mission, which is accompanied by various other ministries that support, supplement, and sustain the preaching of God’s Word in truth with passion.
The same Holy Spirit who inspired the Scriptures to be written also takes the preached Word and uses it to bring conviction, revelation, and transformation in the hearts, minds, souls, and lives of those who hear and obey the Word of God. Subsequently, when it comes to preaching, the message and the means are both all about God’s grace for the transforming of our lives and legacies.
Which Bible teachers have really helped you understand God’s grace according to God’s Word? How can you encourage them today?