Morality Preaching vs. Biblical Preaching

A message [sermon] that merely advocates morality and compassion remains sub-Christian even if the preacher can prove that the Bible demands such behaviors. By ignoring the sinfulness of humankind, which makes even our best works tainted before God (Isa. 64.6; Luke 17.10), and by neglecting the grace of God, which make obedience possible and acceptable (1 Cor. 15.10; Eph. 2.8-9), such messages necessarily subvert the Christian message. Christian preachers often do not recognize this counter-gospel impact of their preaching because they are simply recounting a behavior clearly specified in the portion of the text in front of them. But a message that even inadvertently teaches others that their works merit God’s acceptance inevitably leads people away from the Gospel. By themselves, moral axioms and advocacy of ethical conduct fall short of the requirements of biblical preaching.

Brian Chapell, Christ-centered Preaching (Grand Rapids; Baker Academic, 2005), 220.

Blessing Is Conditioned on Christ’s Perfect Obedience

To live by grace means we understand that God’s blessing on our lives is not conditioned by our obedience or disobedience but by the perfect obedience of Christ. It means that out of a grateful response to the grace of God, we seek to understand His will and to obey Him, not to be blessed, but because we have been blessed.

Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1991), 99-100.

This Do in Remembrance of Me

Remember that Christ’s commandment not to be conformed to the world is the consequence of his commandment to be conformed to himself.  ‘Thus did I not’ comes second; ‘this one thing I do’ comes first.  You will misunderstand the whole genius of the gospel if you suppose that, as a law of life, it is perpetually pulling men short up, and saying: don’t, don’t, don’t!  There is a Christianity of that sort which is mainly prohibition and restriction, but it is not Christ’s Christianity.  He begins by enjoining: ‘This do in remembrance of me,’ and the man that has accepted that commandment must necessarily say, as he looks out on the world, and its practices: ‘So did I not because of the fear of God.’

Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture: Second Kings, Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1977), 369.