Sometimes I get tired of the extravagant display of things in this world. I long for simple things. I remember so well that when I began my ministry it was among the simple country folk in the South. I found it so deeply satisfying to work among them because they wore what they were on the outside. You knew at once what a man was for he was frank about it. He lived and talked about the controlling things of his life. His life was not a ‘hodgepodge’ of elaborate thinking and doing but he practiced a very simple existence. He lived in a humble home, his people were plain people, he ate plain food. Here in his humble mountain cabin, all ‘fol-de-rol’ and making-believe were at a minimum. He had his own little piece of land on which he raised his ‘vittles’ and he was contented there. He didn’t know much about any ‘new-fangled’ religions or interpretations of God. I am afraid such simplicity is a little out of place in this progressive age but still I get hungry for it at times. Perhaps some of you feel the same as I.
Paul the apostle had run the gauntlet from youth to maturity through all the Jewish, Pharasaical, traditionalism of his day. He knew it all for he was well learned in all matters pertaining to the Hebrew laws and customs and yet I believe, when in his misguided zeal and while persecuting the new-born Christian church he beheld and consented to the stoning of Stephen, something about the simplicity of this young man’s faith struck a tender place in his heart. After his great revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ while on the road to Damascus, and after waiting upon God in wilderness fasting and prayer, he came to a very determined conclusion. He made up his mind to “know nothing among them but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. You read about this decision in the first verses of 1 Cor. 2.
Before we go further let us read our bible lesson 1st Timothy 1:12-15. “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” The last verse we just read holds in it the seed-thought of all of Paul’s sermonizing and was the foundation principle of his life. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” Here Paul joined together the human and divine titles of the Lord. He was the son of God and He was the son of man. He was the Messiah of the Jews and He was the Savior of the world. He came to His own nation and when they rejected Him, He became the deliverer of all men, the Savior of the world.
You will say, “How simple is this message”, Yes, I agree with you for our subject is just this, “A SIMPLE SERMON.” Paul saw a whole world in sin but he saw a Savior who was able. Paul was willing to leave the elaborate Hebrew Religion with al it’s forms and ceremonies and preach a simple gospel. His approach to the needs of all men was simply this, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God and there is none righteous, no not one.”
You will note that Paul does not elevate himself above his fellow men for in the latter part of our scripture reading he said these words, “Of whom I am chief.” He knew that all men were sinners and he felt that he had been the worst of all. However in another place he stated, “By the grace of God, I am what I am.” No position in the world of his day, intellectual or otherwise, could change that one truth. He was one with his brethren. They were sinners together, just needy, lost men groping for a ray of light in a darkened world. When Paul found the truth, when he saw the light, he dedicated his life to the cause of Gospel preaching, knowing that it would be the foolishness of preaching that would save men’s souls.
If I am addressing any preachers, I would beg of you, keep the Gospel messages simple. Don’t waste so much time on elaborate doctrinal discourses. Let your congregations see Christ and Him crucified as the only hope of needy men. We need more “simple sermons” today. Christian believer, don’t try and sell a sinner on your church. Bring them to Christ. Christ is the need of men. He is the answer to the problems of the world. If a man can see himself a sinner and can see Jesus as the Savior, this will be sufficient to bring that lost soul to God and cause a new name to be written down in Heaven.
I want to present to my listening audience a simple Gospel. I trust you have found this message just a simple Gospel easily understood. Simple truth is more capable of penetrating darkened hearts and changing men’s lives than any other kind of sermonizing could ever do, however elaborate the sermon may be. God gives us more simple gospel preaching.
One day when I was walking down a street with my heart heavy and my life dark, I heard some music and I heard some singing on a street corner, a busy intersection, yes, right down town in the heart of Detroit, Michigan, I heard the gospel being preached. I stopped and there was something about the simplicity and sincerity of this gospel presentation that took hold of my heart. I couldn’t erase it from my mind. It stayed with me in the days that followed.
Yes, because of this simple gospel message I was stirred and convinced of my need of God. Thank God the day came when kneeling along side of my bed in my room, I yielded myself unreservedly to Christ and peace came to my troubled soul. I am so glad for this simple gospel. I know that without Christ we are nothing. Without the Gospel we are lost men. Without Jesus we never would have the light, we never would know the way. Thank God for the simple Gospel.
Thank God for simple truth that is able to lift men above the quagmire of the sin of this life and elevate us to that high plane of Christian living and reality. If we must contend, let us contend for the simple faith. If we must preach, let it be a simple gospel. I pray God will bless this “Simple Sermon” for His glory and for your good.
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