Many in the religious world today have the
idea that we need to preach Jesus. Of course, this preaching is not
preaching Jesus at all. They say, “Preach the man and not the plan.”
The religious world is crying out for those who would “preach Jesus” to
them. I agree with them in that we need to preach Jesus. But
just what does it mean to preach Jesus? Those in the so-called Christian
world would have us to believe that preaching Jesus means that we do not
preach about one church, or about baptism for the remission of sins; all
we need to do is tell them about Jesus. But what does the Bible have
to say about preaching Jesus? The Bible plainly tells us what it
means to preach Jesus in Acts 8:5-12. Let us look at what it meant
to Phillip to preach Jesus.
When Phillip preached to the Samaritans, they believed the things he said concerning the kingdom. The kingdom is none other than the church, which Christ promised to build (Mt.16:18,19). Phillip could not preach Jesus without preaching about the church, which Christ died to establish (Acts 20:28). There is but one church (Eph.4:4-6) and Christ is going to one day save that church (Eph.5:23). No doubt Phillip told them these things. It is the church to which the saved are added (Acts 2:47). To Phillip preaching Christ meant to preach about the one church of Christ.
When Phillip preached Jesus to the Samaritans, he included in his preaching the authority of Christ. Christ stated to the apostles, “All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Mt.28:18). As Christians we are to respect the authority of Christ to the point that all that we do in faith and practice is according to his will (Col.3:17). The authority of Christ does not allow for innovations of man, including such things as instrumental music and drama in worship. The religious world in general does not like to hear about the authority of Christ, but those in Samaria to whom Phillip preached gladly accepted what he had to say on this subject.
There is no doubt that Phillip preached baptism when he preached unto them Jesus (Acts 8:12). It is impossible to preach Jesus without preaching baptism. This can also be seen in the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch. Phillip began at the same scripture and preached unto him Jesus (Acts 8:35). As they came to a certain water, the eunuch asked Phillip what did hinder him from being baptized (8:36). That baptism is necessary for salvation cannot be denied by the honest Bible student for it was Christ who laid down this requirement (Mk.16:16), and it was his apostles who continued to teach this very same thing (Acts 2:38; I Pet.3:21). The religious world would have us preach the man, but not the plan. This is absurd! The man is the plan, and his plan includes baptism for the remission of sins!
What does it mean to preach Jesus? Among other things, it means to preach about the one church of Christ, the authority of Christ, and baptism for the remission of sins. Let us make sure that we do not get wrapped up in this denominational garble about preaching Jesus. Let us make sure that we stick to preaching Jesus the way the NT prescribes.