Few things have so great an effect on an assembly’s life and exercise as the character of its gospel preaching. When believers sense that the gospel is being clearly presented on a week-by-week basis, they feel greater liberty to invite friends to come and hear the gospel, rather than waiting for a special series.
In order for us to properly and intelligently preach the gospel, we must understand its lofty principles. We must have a “working knowledge” of the gospel. It is impossible to clearly and simply present any truth unless I first understand it myself.
The gospel preacher has one basic responsibility: “Preach the Word!” It is the Word of God which, like seed, has life and can impart that life to men and women through the work of the Spirit of God. Stories, illustrations, poems, personal anecdotes – all these may have their place but should never detract from the presentation of divine truth.
The gospel preacher has two blessed objectives in his preaching: “Repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Our increasingly post-Christian, neo-pagan society has almost completely lost any sense of reverence or awe toward God. It is inconceivable to modern man that he should be called to account to a supreme Being for any moral actions done in this world. Consequently, it is all the more incumbent on the gospel preacher to present God as His Word reveals Him. His justice, righteousness, love, mercy – these are all broad topics that need to be brought to bear upon an audience. Much of the problem that led to the heated discussions in the denominational world, regarding what was called “Lordship salvation,” would have been nonexistent if, instead of merely emphasizing the simplicity of salvation, gospel preaching brought men to repentance. Failing to properly present man’s ruin and danger increases the likelihood of shallow, lifeless professions.
The gospel preacher has three broad topics: I Cor 15:1-3, “I declare unto you the gospel how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, He was buried and He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” Those three subjects are:
- The value of the death of Christ: “Christ died for our sins.” This truth would include, among other things, His unique, sin-atoning sufferings, redemption from sin and deliverance from eternal judgment.
- The veracity of His Word: It was “according to the scriptures.” We must preach the authority, reliability and eternality of God’s Word. If, instead, we emphasize emotions or experiences we shift the sinner’s hope from an unshakable rock to shifting sand.
- The victory of His resurrection: “He rose again the third day acing to the scriptures.” This would include presenting Him as the Almighty Savior, seated on His Father’s throne, soon to return for His people and then with them to set up His eternal kingdom.
Obviously, not every meeting needs to include all of these topics in detail, but these are the broad areas that we need to constantly keep before the minds of men and women. May God give us grace to so speak that men and women might believe (Acts 14:1).