WHAT IT MEANS TO PREACH CHRIST – Acts 8


But when they believed Philip preaching good tidings concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Acts 8:12 ASV

I. To preach Christ means to preach the Old Testament, because the Old Testament is a testimony of Christ, the Messianic hope of the Hebrews.

Of the Old Testament Scriptures, Jesus said, “These … bear witness of me” (John 5:29).

The 333 prophecies of the Old Testament are all fulfilled in Christ (Luke 24:44); its glorious history was “written for our admonition” (1 Corinthians 10:11); and when the noted Bible commentator, Dr. Adam Clarke, chose a topic sentence for his life’s work, it was a New Testament text focused on the Old Testament (Romans 15:4).

The apostolic preachers, notably Paul, customarily taught from the Old Testament (Acts 17:34).

II. To preach Christ means to preach the New Testament.

The good news of salvation for mankind is found only in the word of Christ “through the apostles” (1 Peter 3:2); and, since the word of the apostles is available only in the New Testament, one cannot preach Christ without preaching the New Testament.

To preach Christ is to preach the New Testament which is the word of the apostles who “heard him”!

This, of course, eliminates the doctrines of men. If one wishes to receive the doctrines of men, he may do so from their books; but the true doctrine of Christ through the apostles is found in their book the New Testament.

III. To preach Christ is to preach all of the great facts, promises and commandments of the gospel.

A. A bare catalogue of the facts of the gospel is overwhelming: God entered our earth-life as a man, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, fulfilling the great prophecies of the Old Testament; he wrought the greatest wonders ever seen on earth, even raising the dead again and again; he was despised and rejected; he died on the cross according to the Scriptures in order to procure eternal life for men; he rose the third day, ascended to the right hand of God, established his church, sent the Holy Spirit, is reigning until all enemies are destroyed; and finally, he will raise to life again all who ever lived on earth, preside over the final judgment and appoint all men their destiny.

B. The great promises of the gospel are the richest treasure belonging to men. Jesus will forgive men’s sins if they will believe in him and obey the gospel, bless them providentially in this life, make all things work together for their good, give his Holy Spirit to them that obey him, raise them up from the grave at the last day, and provide for them an eternal inheritance among the saints in light, giving them an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom.

He will succor them in temptation, comfort them in sorrow, illuminate them in darkness, strengthen them in tribulation, love them always, and save their souls forever!

How glorious are the promises of the gospel. To preach Christ is to preach those promises.

C. To preach Christ is to preach the commandments of the gospel; and, in this area, men have often misunderstood.

Commands of Christ are sometimes written off as “mere legalisms”; and the grace and love of Christ are made the excuse for diminishing the force of his commandments; but this is an incredible folly (Hebrews 2:2,3).

“Whosoever shall break one of the least of these commandments” (Matthew 5;19) shall be called least in God’s kingdom. Not even faith can void the law of God (Romans 3:31).

IV. To preach Christ is to preach his church and kingdom.

This blessed institution is called the bride of Christ, the vineyard of the Lord, the pillar and ground of the truth, the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, the family of God, the body of Christ, the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, the kingdom of the Son of his love, and the church of Jesus Christ.

V. To preach Christ is to preach the plan of salvation, that is, faith, repentance and baptism for alien sinners, and the reception of the Holy Spirit and the continuation in the apostles’ doctrine, in the breaking of bread and of prayers, on the part of the baptized.

Two instances of this preaching are evident in the chapter before us (Acts 8:5-12; 8:35,36).

VI. Preaching Christ means preaching the obligations imposed by the holy faith in him.

It is impossible to preach Christ without preaching the Christian virtues, church membership, church attendance, generosity, self-denial, and that community of love and interest which binds men together in Christ Jesus.

Shame be upon those popular evangelists who preach Christ without spelling out the obligations imposed upon them who believe.

Morality, integrity, faithfulness in every area of life, identity of the believer with God’s church on earth, and the wholehearted, unselfish support of all that the Lord taught – such things are not optional, but mandatory.

The brief resume of what Philip taught the Samaritans by no means implies that he omitted to teach “all” and “whatsoever” Jesus commanded.

No matter what men may “say,” it is evil for one to be like the persons condemned by Paul as professors of holy religion who “by their works” deny the Lord (Titus 1:16).

Baptized, both men and women …

Again, in this, the New Testament bears witness of the fact that only accountable persons were received into the body of Christ, such a passage as this forbidding any notion that infants became Christians.


And HE said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.
Mark 16:15‭-‬16 ASV

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