And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. (Acts 5:42 )
That which separates the truth from a mere religion is that the truth concerns a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. This may seem a trite and worn out phrase, but it is true that salvation is a Person, not a doctrine. The longer I preach, the more I see the importance this distinction.
There are doubtless many who would find fault with such a generalization saying that one cannot preach without preaching doctrine. In this they would be correct, for doctrine is simply teaching. I would be impossible to preach the Person without preaching doctrine. However, it is quite easy to preach doctrine and never preach the Person.
Allow me to illustrate: Truth is, in some ways like a jigsaw puzzle. A jigsaw puzzle is made of many parts, each one important. The puzzle could not be complete if any individual part were missing. Yet, we all realize that the value of such a puzzle does not lie in the individual pieces, but in the image that is made when all these pieces are joined together in their proper relationship. Even though an unassembled jigsaw puzzle contains the very same materials and pieces as an assembled one, we recognize that there is a great difference between the two: the assembled puzzle gives us an image, a picture to enjoy. An unassembled puzzle is just a box of cardboard pieces.
The truth of God is similar: It is made of many parts, each one important. Yet the value of these parts lies not in themselves, but in the image they create when “assembled” through preaching. All the doctrines of the Scriptures are pieces of a Divine “puzzle” which, when assembled, provide us with an image of the Lord Jesus. One may emphasise the various individual “pieces” of this puzzle, and become quite expert in them, and never see the image which they were designed to create. As the Lord said to the Pharisees:
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5:39) Continue reading