Gospel Centered Preaching Must Go Beyond the Sufferings of Christ

All Roads Lead to Christ

I have heard so many sermons of Gospel centered for the last few years. It’s an amazing projection from any scripture to Christ in preaching, and I see the impact of that. I have also just learnt to preach Christ from Old testament in my seminary RTS, and indeed its powerful and refreshing. Because all scriptures in OT speak of Christ, and indeed Spurgeon says all roads lead to London, the same way, all scripture in OT and NT lead to Christ.

But if we preach a sermon and ends up with the sufferings of Christ, and his eventually taking the wrath of God with darkness descended on him on the cross, so we can be reconciled to God, and we stop at that, it will be intriguingly inadequate and doesn’t do justice.

Christ did not Incarnate into this World Just to Die for Us

It will be preposterous for God to incarnate into this world just to die for mankind. You know you hear sermons when Jesus suffered in the darkness so we can have the light of God, Jesus being condemned by God, so we can be accepted by God, etc., this is absolutely true and biblical, but the problem is, we are not supposed to stop there. Because it leaves us the lingering question in my mind, did Jesus come to this world to suffer and that’s it? We all know there is the resurrection of Jesus, but we don’t see that being articulated in the gospel centered messages ending part of the sermons, because I think many preachers want to push the narrative of Christ’s sufferings, exchange his immortality for our mortality, etc., the penal substitution doctrine.

Christ Died for us Knowing that He will resurrect later and Win Humanity Over

Yes, that is definitely the big story of the gospel, but it’s not completely correct and adequate, because Christ didn’t come to exchange our pain only, because he knows there is the resurrection and the glory that awaits him. There is, so to speak, an amazing reward waiting for him. He did this for winning back the elect humanity back to God, and he will be enthroned forever and ever with his new brethren that he won by his blood.

Hebrews 12 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

So why and how did Jesus endure the cross? For the joy set before him, he endured the cross. Brothers, Jesus didn’t come to the world for a sad ending, though we know that, we don’t preach it, so the sake of pushing the narrative of his sufferings to move the hearts of the congregation. That’s why I think we missed out the victorious aspect of Jesus’ ministry by doing that in reformed circle, while the charismatics focus on the victorious aspects and lack the sufferings part of Jesus.

Why is this Important to Us ?

Why is that important? Because that will affect our doctrine, our lifestyle, because the perception of Christ is very important. If we walk away from sermons with the deep impression of Christ died to set us free, etc., but not mentioning and exalting Christ in his victorious resurrection that defeats death, Christians may begin to develop the heart of gratitude and love to wards Christ, but not getting the sense of victorious Christ, and hence victorious life and ministry. We lament, but we must also, at the same time look forward to celebration, laughter’s, rejoice, like Psalms say: Rejoice in the Lord, Rejoice!

Psalm 32:11 (NIV) 11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you are righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!

In conclusion, we must preach Christ’s victorious ascension from the death that triumphs over death when we preach the sufferings of Christ on the cross to take our place. Amen.

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