Tonight will bring us the second evening in our annual Gospel Crusade. Last night we heard a marvelous sermon from God’s Word, presented to us by Bill Green (preacher for the brethren that meet at Harrison and Willow St. in Conway). He opened our Crusade with a sermon entitled “He preached unity.” A few points to make:
The “He” of the statement is Jesus Christ. He is the One we follow. He is our guide and master. What things He did we should do. How He lived, we should live. That’s the theme of the week, condensed into the phrase “DWJD: Do What Jesus Did.” Whereas many people are wondering “What DID Jesus do?” God’s people need not ask the question: We know what He did. The Bible tells us.
What did He do? One thing He did was “preach.” My master wore many hats while he walked on this earth. In earlier years He would have no doubt been called a carpenter, as it was customary for sons to learn their father’s (in this case, Joseph) trade. Later He was a teacher, with many students who sat at His feet and learned His instruction. But the one role He occupied so entirely was “preacher.” When challenged by His enemies, He preached. When questioned by His students, He preached. When faced with a throng of supporters or skeptics, He preached.
What did He preach? Among other things, He preached unity.
But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
The verse quoted above is probably not what you immediately thought of when reminded that Jesus was a preacher of unity. Likely you thought of Jesus’ words as recorded in John 17. There, Jesus spoke of all believers in Him being one, as “one” as Jesus and the Father are one. That’s a beautiful picture of unity but remember that those words were spoken by Jesus as a prayer to God. Certainly Jesus prayed about unity, but He also preached about it too!
In the previous quote, Jesus was accused of wrongdoing because He shared a meal with the outcasted of society. His response was perfect in its conciseness: “The healthy don’t need a doctor, the sick do.” To that He elaborated: “I came not to call the self-deluded but humble sinners to repentance.” The Pharisees refused to listen to Jesus’ preaching. Why? Because they had deluded themselves into thinking they were righteous and didn’t need Jesus. The publicans and sinners however recognized their faults and flocked to Jesus. Nevertheless, Jesus did not favor one group over the others. He still preached to both (those that believed they were righteous but were not, and those who knew they were not and desired to be).
What was Jesus goal? To bring both sinners (the aware and the deluded) to a state of true righteousness. In so doing, both would be united behind Jesus.
What did Jesus do?
He preached unity!