Signposts

 

“But may it not be for me to boast if it is not in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”—Galatians 6:14

 

“Today, missed some fine opportunity of speaking a word for Christ.  The Lord saw that I would have spoken as much for my honor as for his, and therefore, he shut my mouth.  I see that a man cannot be a faithful, fervent minister until he preaches just for Christ’s sake, until he gives up trying to attract people to himself, and seeks to attract them to Christ.  Lord, give me this.”  -R.M. McCheyne

 

Spurgeon once likened the Bible to a road map of England.  He pointed out on the map that every road, even if through a circuitous route, led into London.  So too, he argued, did every verse, lead to Christ.  And no matter how good your skill as an orator, no matter how well you have mastered the ancient languages, and no matter how apt your sermon illustrations are, if you do not point people to Christ, your preaching has wasted everyone’s time.  We must ask ourselves of our preaching what Dr. Lloyd-Jones asked of our living, “Is God the chief end and object of your life?”

This is the model that I have tried to adopt within my own preaching.  If I am to preach, I must become a beacon that points clearly to Christ and the cross.  Exegesis and structure and illustrations and everything else that goes into writing a sermon is terribly important, but just like that road map, it does not matter how detailed and in-depth my directions are, if they lead the listener to any place but to Christ, then all my time and preparation are wasted and I might as well have said nothing.

In turn, this is the model that is set before us in living.  We must constantly be asking ourselves if what we are doing is pointing people to Christ.  Peter reminds us in his first letter that it is by our humble and submissive faithfulness to our Lord and Savior that people will be drawn to Christ.  Too often we treat winning souls as a conquest.  We hold revivals thinking that the Spirit of God somehow follows our lead when it comes to changing the hearts of man.  This model could not be further from the truth.  It is true that the Holy Spirit has moved at times to bring revival to a community through the preaching of one of his servants, yet for us to walk in with the expectation that we will be the next Whitefield or Wesley is sheer vanity.  If you want to see true revival in our land, then it will come most reliably through Christians living faithful and humble lives in the sight of an unbelieving world.  Our lives should be as street signs pointing to Christ, saying, “don’t look at me, but look at my Lord; I am merely a pointer so that He might be glorified.”

Is this how we approach the day?  Is this how we approach witnessing?  I suggest that it usually isn’t.  So often, like Robert Murray McCheyne, we miss the opportunity to faithfully witness because our directions revolve around ourselves and do not point clearly to Christ and him crucified.  Let us be deliberate in our lifestyle with Christ as the goal of every direction we give.

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