GRACE GAZETTE
Volume IIssue 16
Published occasionally for Zion’s mourners
Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Hebrews 12::12-13

PREACHING TO THE DEAD

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. (Ezekiel 37:1-4)

The most popular notion among "preachers" today, is that if they can compose and deliver and appealing and persuasive message, that they can surely be "successful" in gaining converts. They adopt all manner of clever tactics to "get men to believe" the gospel. They use cunning devices and easy three or four-step formulas which they are sure will produce results. Emotional pleas complete with the proper "mood music" are used to "get them down the aisle". There are even classes one can attend to learn the proper "techniques" for "soul winning". Now we cannot fault these brethren for their zeal, which, when compared to indifference and self-satisfaction, should be the cause of much shame to the complacent. Neither do we wish to be critical of their motives, nor sincerity. But the foundational doctrine which gives rise to these ideas is as flawed as the "results" these tactics produce. The basic concept that man in his natural state is neutral in regards to the gospel or that he has some natural ability to receive spiritual truth, and thereby can be "persuaded" to believe the gospel by the proper arguments or presentation, is false. (see Mt.16:17) The truth of the matter is that unless God himself, in Sovereign Mercy, reaches down and awakens men who are dead in trespasses and sins (see Eph.2:1; Col.2:13) they shall remain in such a state regardless of what they "agree to" or profess to believe. A man (or woman), boy or girl) must have his eyes opened and his fundamental animosity towards GOD (see Rom.5:10;8:7; Col.1:21) changed or he will not "receive", nor can he know (see 1Cor.2:14) the message of the gospel. "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of GOD." (John 3:3). So what are we to do? Men cannot hear and will not believe, yet we are commanded to preach the gospel to every creature. (Mat.28:19-20; Mark 16:15).

We must preach the gospel to the Dead! We must preach primarily out of obedience to the Lord, regardless of the outcome or of the visible success of our endeavors. Our main purpose is not to get men to do something; rather it is to glorify CHRIST. Our message is always the same, JESUS CHRIST the LORD of all, crucified for sinners, risen from the dead, and coming again to receive his own and to judge the world.

We must preach the gospel to the Dead! Knowing that it is through the foolishness of preaching that GOD is pleased to save them that believe. (see 1Cor.1:21) Just as Ezekiel prophesied to the dry bones and they began to live, so also, GOD gives life to dead sinners through the preaching of the Gospel. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16) We must be faithful to him who said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." (John 12:32)

We must preach the gospel to the Dead! Knowing that it is the LORD of the Harvest that will both send laborers and give the increase "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Romans 10:14-15) God is not a beggar trying to get somebody to do something for HIM. HE has hands, feet, and eyes of HIS own and is quite capable of calling his children to HIMSELF without the intervention or skill of man. Yet HE is pleased to give men the privilege of being used as vessels of Honor for HIS glory in the preaching of the Gospel. (see 2 Corinthians 4:7) HE will send HIS messengers unto the ends of the earth and all the powers of hell cannot destroy them nor hinder the purpose of HIM who sends them to accomplish HIS task. (See Isaiah 51:11).

We must preach the gospel to the Dead! Knowing that HE alone has made us to differ from another. (See 1 Cor 4:7) We are just beggars telling other beggars where we got our bread. Were it not for HIS great Mercy we too would perish. Ought not our hearts to be moved with compassion for Sinners just as his was? (See Luke 19:41).

We must preach the gospel to the Dead! Knowing that unless the LORD builds the house they labor in vain that build it (Ps.127:1). It is a waste of time to adopt any methodology which is not directed by the word of GOD. The supposed success of the salvation mongers will be seen one day as the wood, hay, and stubble that it really is. When GOD Saves men he changes their hearts and minds. II Cor.5:17)

mam

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