Everyone has experienced the discomfort of having a light unexpectedly turned on in a dark room. The immediate reaction is to shield one’s eyes from the sudden brightness of the same light which causes no discomfort at all when one has grown accustomed to it. In fact, this light is even welcomed and preferred to the darkness. Such is the picture of a sinner who is happy to dwell in the darkness of his own heart and mind, when the LORD in sovereign mercy sees fit to shine the glorious LIGHT of CHRIST upon him.
That man's first reaction is to be overwhelmed with the brightness of that light. Paul was literally blinded on the road to Damascus (see Acts (9:1-9) when the intense light of CHRIST shone upon him. He was humbled in a state of repentance as he cried out, "LORD who art thou?" The LORD did not have to notify him that he was a sinner. A small glimpse of the glory and holiness of GOD will always accomplish that task. (see Acts 2:37)
One of the formulas for "soul winning" that is so popular is to inform the prospective "convert" that they are a "sinner" so they can make an informed decision about being "saved". When the LORD awakens a sinner, no one else has to convince him of the truth of his wickedness. A man who has been on the Damascus road doesn't need a trip down the Roman road. The LORD awakens a sinner not just for the purpose of showing him that he is a sinner in need of a savior, but primarily for the purpose of revealing to HIM in that same glorious light who that SAVIOR is, but the sinner can do nothing but shield his eyes at first.
Now some would have us believe that it is within the power of men to awaken the dead and cause them to see by preaching the gospel. The purpose of the preaching of the gospel is information; not revelation. (see Rom.10:14) Until and unless the HOLY GHOST directly awakens the dead they cannot hear the glorious gospel which is the very words of life to those who have been awakened. It is necessary for the SPIRIT to shine in a man's heart with that bright light of conviction before that man will ever desire to embrace the LIGHT of the gospel. It is also necessary that HE (the SPIRIT of TRUTH) reveal the spiritual truth of the spoken word or else men cannot receive it. (see I Cor.2:14)
When there was no light GOD spoke and said "Let there be light: and there was light." (Gen 1:3) In the same fashion HE directly causes the LIGHT to shine into the hearts of HIS elect sons at the appointed time. Nothing can hasten that time and nothing can delay it. Vain are the attempts of men to cause this LIGHT to shine and empty are the warnings of those who would have us to believe that some of the elect may be lost without our aid.
Now having said all of that, what a glorious privilege it is to be given the task of preaching the unsearchable riches of CHRIST to those whom HE has awakened with HIS LIGHT. The LORD JESUS spoke of HIS fulfillment of prophecy when HE quoted Isaiah, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord." (Luke 4:18-19) That prophecy was fulfilled in CHRIST and HE has now sent forth laborers into the harvest with the same message of deliverance to those whom HE has called and awakened. "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! " (Rom 10:15)
The primary purpose in the preaching of the gospel is to bring glory to GOD in the publication of the redemption which HE has purchased for HIS elect sons. Preachers are publishers of truth, proclaimers of good news, a welcome relief for weary seekers who know themselves to be needy, weak, and thirsty. Did not Isaiah foretell this very message when he said, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." (Isa 55:1)
The only "gospel" which can be of use to a man who knows himself to be lost is one which:
Magnifies the SAVIOR. Our LORD said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. " (John 12:32) HE spoke primarily of the fact that HIS crucifixion would be that to which a sinner will be drawn. HE is "mighty to save"; rather than being as HE is touted in modern day preaching as one who wants to save, and is trying to save, if men will only let HIM. HE is the SAVIOR of sinners. HE came into the world to save sinners and HE has accomplished the salvation of everyone whose redemption HE intended to purchase. Not one of those for whom CHRIST shed HIS precious blood shall ever perish.
Rejoices in HIS finished work. There is nothing left for sinners to do to be made acceptable in the eyes of GOD, HE has finished the work which HE came to do. "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." (1Cor. 1:30) Most modern day preaching is always trying to persuade folks to do something, whether it be to believe, repent, or be obedient. The preaching of the true gospel is that which informs weary pilgrims and seekers that JESUS CHRIST has accomplished their redemption once and for all. They believe it because HE hath shined in their hearts to give them light.
Lights the path he is to tread. The LORD JESUS said "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Mat 11:28-30) The LORD leads us in the way HE has already trod. HE is our CAPTAIN and our provider. "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb 4:14-16)
Gives him joy in the journey. "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." (1Pe 1:7-9)mam