(A repeat from last year)
"Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in Heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:8-11).
Our Heavenly Father's purpose in the Lord Jesus Christ is timeless. It has always existed in His heart and mind, and everything He will ever do flows from His determination to "gather together in one all things in Christ" (Ephesians 1:10).
Thus, before there were sinners, God purposed a salvation and Savior for all who would trust in "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). This is the Divine order of the Gospel, namely, that we proclaim the supply of God before pointing out the need of man. All preaching, teaching, and communication of Truth must follow this sequence, including evangelization of unbelievers and edification of God's trusting children in Christ. We first declare who the Lord Jesus is, what He has done, is doing, and will forever do as the executor of God's eternal purpose. In this light, the truth of our need is revealed and defined. Just as importantly, hope precedes the sad reality of the human condition in it many forms of devilish and self destruction.
"There is a Savior. This is who He is. You are a sinner who can be saved from condemnation and mastery of sin." This is the Divine sequence of our message to the unbeliever. Or to the believer, "There is a Savior. This is who He is. You are a saint in need of greater knowledge of your Savior, and He is present with and within you to effect this growth into His spiritual and moral image." It matters not the person, or the condition of the person. We begin with "the beginning," and with the One who is "before all things" (Revelation 1:8; Colossians 1:17). Failure to follow the sequence is un-biblical, and inadvertently causes our message to be more humanistic than Divine.
"In Thy light shall we see light" (Psalm 36:9). Discovery of our Lord's perfect person and work reveals by contrast the imperfection of our own person and work. The light of His glory reveals the light of our utter need. Nothing else fully unveils the truth, and nothing else effects both the hope and conviction that leads the heart to the Lord Jesus. Surely we are to tell sinners they are sinners, and Biblically define their waywardness. Surely we are to tell wayward saints they are failing to honor their Lord, and Biblically define their unfaithfulness. However, before the indictment comes the promise of pardon, redemption, and the power of the Lord Jesus to save from sin. There is a Savior. This is who He is, this is what He has done, is doing, and will do forevermore. Our communication of Truth either begins here, or it does not authentically and effectually begin at all.
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."
"Before they call, I will answer."