What would be your thoughts concerning the following statement?
“The best sermon you can preach is the one that you live.”
If you agree with this statement, let me assure you there is NO Biblical support for this deadly error. Think about what someone means when they make such a statement! They are saying sinners can live in such a way as to reveal through the “sermon they’re living, everything lost sinners need to be made righteous before God. This reveals that they think more of their own righteousness (personal holiness) than they do of the Righteousness produced by the Lord Jesus Christ’s obedience unto death at Calvary as the Representative and Substitute of all God’s elect. We shouldn’t be surprised when lost sinners think this way because Christ told us they would - “Many will say to me in that day(the last judgement), Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” (Matthew 7:22)
At the final judgement these lost, self-righteous religionists are still claiming that what they’ve done ought to be enough to make God obligated to save them. In spite of the fact the Lord said, “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10), and Paul said, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20), lost sinners insist their lives can be the best sermon anyone could ever see. How tragic! Truly “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
The Apostle Paul never promoted holy living as a means to bring lost sinners to true justification and eternal life. He taught continually, as did all the Apostles, that God’s only means of saving sinners is through the preaching of the Gospel of salvation conditioned on Christ’s righteousness ALONE - “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
Peter wrote: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:23) They all agreed - “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21)
While it’s true every justified sinner should seek to be perfect in every area of their lives, they also will readily point men away from thinking their obedience has anything to do with saving them and they will point lost sinners to the Righteousness of God found only in Christ the Lord - “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Romans 10:4) Let us always point men to Christ, not to ourselves!
Grace Baptist Church of Ruston, Louisiana