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Departures: Harry Reeder III


WORLD Radio - Departures: Harry Reeder III

Recognizing more than 30 years of faithful local church ministry

Harry Reeder preaching at Briarwood Presbyterian Church on May 14 Screen shot from Briarwood Presbyterian Church Facebook video

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, May 22nd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Last Thursday, senior pastor Harry Reeder of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama, died in an automobile crash. Known for his dynamic preaching, commitment to Biblical orthodoxy, and shepherd’s heart, Reeder was a powerful voice within the Presbyterian Church in America and beyond.

REICHARD: He came to faith as a young man and felt the call to ministry. He graduated from Covenant College, as well as Westminster and Reformed Theological Seminaries.

EICHER: Reeder became the founding pastor at Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte North Carolina in 1983. Sixteen years later, he was called to become senior pastor at Briarwood —where he served for 24 years until his death on Thursday.

He is survived by his wife Cindy, three children, and nine grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday and streamed on the church website.

REICHARD: To honor his more than 30 years of local church ministry, we end today’s program with an excerpt of a sermon he delivered nine years ago at the 2014 Gospel at Work national conference. In this clip, he paces the platform—quoting scripture from memory and speaking from the heart, clearly explaining the gospel from Romans chapter 1. Here’s Pastor Harry Reeder.

HARRY REEDER (January 24, 2014): Romans 1:16 & 17: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel…” watch it closely there in your copies of God’s word… “for I am not ashamed of the gospel. For it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Gentile, for in it, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, for the righteous man…” And he quotes from Genesis, the Gospel verse from Genesis: “for the righteous man shall live by faith.”

Now that passage tells you five things about the gospel. Very quickly - this is not the purpose of it - but I want to enumerate it. It tells you five things about the gospel. Number one, the gospel is definitive. It is definitive. See the definite article. It doesn't say “I'm not ashamed of a gospel.” It says “I'm not ashamed of the gospel.” So, I didn't pay a lot of attention, unfortunately, in my high school years in grammar class, but I did find out that the definite article means that what it is modifying, it can be defined. So there's something called “the gospel.” It is what the Bible says is the first of the first things. Paul said, “I delivered to you that which is of first importance, the Gospel.” Now, everything in the Bible is important, but some things are more important than others. If you get the gospel wrong, then you get baptism wrong, you get the Lord's Supper wrong, you get everything wrong. The gospel is foundational. You got to get it right. So it's definitive. “I am not ashamed of the gospel.”

Secondly, the gospel is the power of God. The gospel is the power of God. That's crucial. Why? Because we're born dead in our sins, and it takes God to take dead people to life. So every believer has been uprooted out of a spiritual cemetery by the power of God and the gospel, and has been brought to life from the tomb of sin, to the triumph of Christ's resurrection. It is the power of the gospel.

Number three, the gospel is the righteousness of God. You don't get to heaven without righteousness. Heaven is not for the forgiven, heaven is for the righteous. We have to be first forgiven, so that the gates of hell are closed, and then the gates of heaven are opened by righteousness. Well, my righteousness is like filthy rags. Praise the Lord, the gospel gives you another righteousness imputed to you. So his power is infused within you, his righteousness is credited to you. So you are empowered and cleansed by his glorious, redeeming work, and then you are clothed with his perfect righteousness, so you are forgiven and accepted in the Beloved, the righteousness of Christ.

Number four, the gospel is inclusive. It is for all who believe. It doesn't matter whether you're Jew or Gentile, it doesn't matter whether you're rich or poor, black or white, old or young, male or female, the gospel is inclusive, God's people are being called from all the tribes and nations, and all the spheres and categories of life.

Number five, the gospel is exclusive. It is only those who, by the gospel have been brought to Christ, that are saved. It is only those who are, by faith in Christ, that are saved. Now that's the power of the gospel.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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