BB king once sang, “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die to get there”. Even so, many say that they live for Christ, but they don’t want to live the life he lived. In other words, they love the man, but they don’t love His plan. The road to eternal life is not an easy road, but it is the only road which leads to life eternal.
From time to time men set forth the doctrine that we should “preach Christ” and leave the controversial subject of the plan of salvation. Some say, “just preach the man and not the plan” Others will say, “preach Christ and not the church.” Their idea is that we can get more people to listen to us if we don’t identify ourselves with the church of Christ; people are “turned off” by the church, they say. This doctrine is presently being propagated by some and needs to be examined in light of the word of God. Is it possible to “preach the man and not the plan,” or to “preach Christ and not the church”?
The first lesson we all need to learn is that Jesus Christ is revealed to us in the word of God, and to fully preach Christ is to preach him as he is revealed in that Word. Christ is inseparably connected with the Old Testament (Lk. 24:44); he was foreshadowed by the Law (Heb. 10:1-4). Christ is inseparably connected with every book of the New Testament. He is the one Lawgiver (Jas. 4:12); the one who authorized it (Matt. 28:18). He is inseparably connected with all his commandments, his promises, his warnings, his church, his supper (the Lord’s Supper), and his plan of salvation. All this being true, we cannot ignore any pan of what he has said without ignoring that much of Christ. We cannot ignore part of his will and be pleasing in his sight (Jas. 2:10).
Philip is an example of one who preached Christ (Acts 8): “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them” (Acts 8:5). “. . . But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women” (Acts 8:12). This text says Philip “preached Christ”; what did he preach? “Things concerning the kingdom of God” (the church, Matt. 16:18-19); “The name of Jesus Christ” (Christ’s authority, Matt. 28:18); The end result: “They believed . . . were baptized. (the plan of salvation, Acts 2:38 f; Mk. 16:16).
What did Christ command to be preached unto all the world? The plan of salvation, which was contained in the gospel of Christ (Mt 28:19,20 f; Mk 16:16). We can see that in preaching Christ, Philip preached the plan of salvation. What did Peter preach on the day of Pentecost? He preached the plan of salvation (Acts 2:22-38). Christ is not fully preached without the plan; man cannot be saved without obedience to that plan (Rom. 6:17 f; 2 Thess. 1:8), Therefore, even as Jesus said, IF, you love me, keep MY commandments (Jn 14:15). Jesus commanded all to obey the gospel in order to be saved. Then they were added to HIS CHURCH, the CHURCH of CHRIST (Acts 2:47 f; Rom 16:16). Therefore, it is impossible to “Preach the MAN without the PLAN, the man Christ Jesus.”