Monday, 13 June 2011

A Dead Carcass or A Silent Trumpet

One of the greatest temptations we face as Christians both individually and corporately is to assume the gospel. This is a temptation to think that once we have 'understood' the gospel of Christ and Him crucified, we can now move on to other 'more mature' things.

Whilst, it is true that we are to move from milk to solid food as we mature as Christians (Hebrews 5:11-14), this does not mean that we move on from the gospel to other things. As we grow in Christ we are to hunger more and more for solid meaty food, we are to long more and more to understand deeper the truths of the Bible. However, in all of this we never outgrow the gospel of Christ and Him crucified. Instead, we are to desire to know it more deeply and more clearly. The more we mature and grow as Christians the more we should recognise our need for the gospel and the more tightly we ought to cling to Christ.

Christ and Him crucified ought, therefore, to have the central position in our life and in our teaching. If we move on from this we put ourselves in a very dangerous position. Recently I came across this warning from J. C. Ryle to churches tempted to assume the gospel and move Christ crucified from the central position He ought to have:
Whenever a Church keeps back Christ crucified, or puts anything whatsoever in that foremost place which Christ crucified should always have, from that moment a Church ceases to be useful. Without Christ crucified in her pulpits, a Church is little better than a dead carcass, a well without water, a barren fig-tree, a sleeping watchman, a silent trumpet, a dumb witness, an ambassador without terms of peace, a messenger without tidings, a lighthouse without fire, a stumbling-block to weak believers, a comfort to unbelievers, a hot-bed for formalism, a joy to the devil, and an offence to God.