(James Smith, "Rills from the Rock of Ages", 1860)
Paul was . . .
an extraordinary man,
called to an extraordinary office, and
being sent to perform an extraordinary work
—he chose an extraordinary subject.
He knew history,
he was acquainted with philosophy, and
he was well versed in tradition.
There were . . .
few subjects that he could not handle,
few themes that he could not discuss,
few congregations that he could not interest.
But he made the conversion of sinners the object of his life—and he chose Christ crucified to be the subject of his ministry!
No matter where he went—he took his subject with him.
No matter whom he addressed—he directed their attention to this point.
He knew what man required—and what man preferred; but it made no matter to him. As he wrote to the Corinthians, so he always acted, "Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified—a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God!" 1 Corinthians 1:22-24
Paul's subject then, was Christ Crucified!
Paul CHOSE this subject—and he had good reasons for doing so!
First, it is a most comprehensive subject,
for it is the center where . . .
time and eternity,
God and man,
sin and holiness,
life and death—meet!
It is the theater where God . . .
displays His perfections,
unfolds His purposes,
maintains His rights,
confounds His foes, and
secures His glory!
It is the instrument by which . . .
death is destroyed,
sin is conquered,
rebels are reconciled,
saints are sanctified, and
heaven is opened!
It is an object which . . .
imparts holiness, and
furnishes matter for endless praise!
Second, it is the most honored subject.
It tunes the harps of heaven.
It fills the sweetest songs on earth.
It is that by which the Holy Spirit works . . .
in the conversion of sinners,
in the consolation of saints,
in the sanctification of believers, and
in the establishment of the church of God.
By the preaching of Christ crucified . . .
the oracles of the heathen were silenced,
the altars of the heathen were cast down, and
the temples of the heathen were transformed into houses of prayer.
By the preaching of the cross . . .
society is elevated,
nations are honored, and
millions are snatched from Hell!
Third, it is a subject that is intensely hated!
Devils hate it, and try to prevent its publication.
Erroneous men hate it, and try to substitute something of their own for it.
And just in proportion as men are influenced by the prince of darkness, or yield to the pride of their own fallen natures—will they hate the doctrine of the cross!
But all Christians love it,
all the ministers of Christ glory in it,
all poor perishing sinners need it!
The more we know of God's nature and government—the more we see of man's natural state and condition.
And the more we feel of our own weakness and depravity—the more shall we prize and value the doctrine of the cross!
Christ, and Him crucified shall be . . .
the subject of my ministry,
the theme of my songs,
the joy of my heart, and
the foundation of my everlasting hope!
O my soul, look to Jesus—as crucified for your sins!
Think of Jesus—as dying in your stead!
Speak of Jesus—as full of grace and love!
Christians! WHAT do we preach?
We are ALL preachers—and we preach daily!
But do we preach Christ?
Do we speak of Him with our tongues?
Do we write of Him with our pens?
Do we honor Him with our lives?
Is Christ and His glory—the grand end and aim of our life?
WHY do we preach Christ?
Is it out of love to Him?
Is it that we may do good to souls?
Is it that we may please God?
Christ crucified should be preached by every Christian.
Christ crucified should be preached in all companies.
Christ crucified should be preached every day.
if we would save souls from death,
if we would rescue sinners from eternal misery,
if we would make believers happy,
if we would cover Satan with shame,
if we would deprive death of its sting, and
if we would make the road to glory plain—
we must preach Christ crucified;
we must exercise faith in Christ crucified;
and we must daily meditate on Christ crucified!
May Christ and His cross be all my theme!
May Christ and His cross be all my hope!
May Christ and His cross be all my joy!
Cross of Jesus! Jesus crucified!
To you would I look in life—and all its troubles!
To you would I look in death—and all its pangs!
To you would I look in glory—when filled with all its joys!
"God forbid, that I should glory, except in the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ!"