To a group of pastors in London, Tim Keller explained the inner workings of an old Coke machine in his Manhattan apartment building. After inserting the proper coinage, Keller explained, you must pound the side of the machine with your fist. After a couple of smacks the coins can be heard trickling down into the heart of the machine. A Coke falls into the bottom tray. Without beating the side of the machine, the coins don’t settle and the Coke will not fall.
Keller takes this metaphor into the pulpit. While preaching, he thinks of his audience as an assembly of Coke machines. His audience needs a little pound on the side of the head to get the truth of the gospel to sink into the heart and to produce spiritual fruit. He laughs when he says this, but the point is true.
Luther knew this centuries ago. He wrote,
“Here I must take counsel of the gospel. I must hearken to the gospel, which teacheth me, not what I ought to do, (for that is the proper office of the law), but what Jesus Christ the Son of God hath done for me: to wit, that He suffered and died to deliver me from sin and death. The gospel willeth me to receive this, and to believe it. And this is the truth of the gospel. It is also the principal article of all Christian doctrine, wherein the knowledge of all godliness consisteth. Most necessary it is, therefore, that we should know this article well, teach it unto others, and beat it into their heads continually.” *
I am thankful to God that I am surrounded by pastors, friends, and a wife who are skilled at swinging the gospel hammer. I’m always in need of it.
So who swings the gospel hammer in your life?
* Martin Luther, St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (Smith, English & Co. 1860), p. 206.
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