Upping the ante on the most important kind of preaching—an opportunity you can’t afford to miss
The gospel is central to Christianity, and preaching is vital to sharing the gospel. Connecting these dots can help us cultivate a healthy church environment.The gospel is central to Christianity. – Whaid Rose Click To Tweet
Notably, these assertions—the importance of the gospel to Christianity and the importance of preaching to sharing the gospel—find support in the New Testament Scriptures, especially in the Epistles of Paul.
For example, in Romans, the most theologically sophisticated and doctrinally significant of Paul’s epistles, the word “gospel” appears as early as the very first sentence: “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1 NKJV).
Straight out of the chute, so to speak, Paul speaks of the gospel as an essential element of his faith. In the next five verses, Paul reveals 4 true facts about the gospel:
- The gospel belongs to God.
- God promised it from ancient times through the prophets and in the Scriptures.
- It was all about the historic Jesus Christ.
- It finds its fulfillment in His death and resurrection, which is the foundation of our faith and ministry (see Romans 1:1-6).
The Gospel is Central
We see therefore that for Paul, the gospel of Jesus Christ is central to what it means to be a Christian. As has been said, Christianity minus the gospel equals nothing.
Equally important in the mind of Paul is the business of preaching. We read in 1 Corinthians 1:21 (KJV) “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
To borrow from Eugene Peterson’s Message translation, God delights in using preaching, which the world considers foolishness, to turn conventional wisdom on its head.
But Paul isn’t speaking of preaching in general; he has a particular type of preaching in mind. Preaching can have any number of goals or aims, but preaching of the highest order is that which proclaims what Paul calls “the message of the cross” (verse 18).
This is gospel-focused preaching, and it has a two-fold aim: the saving of souls and helping believers better understand and appreciate the gospel. Sinners need the gospel to be saved. Saints need the gospel to fully grasp the radical nature of their salvation and ongoing need for Jesus’ amazing grace.
Preach the Gospel
Gospel-focused preaching therefore views all Scripture in relation to Him who is at the heart of the gospel. That isn’t to say that every Bible verse talks about Jesus, but rather, that the whole Bible is about the unfolding mercy and love of God, which culminates in the life and ministry of Jesus. This is why we must preach the gospel to both sinners and saints.
Obviously, preaching isn’t the only means by which to share the gospel, but the fact is that preaching, proclamation, and sharing are implied in the word gospel itself. For in its most basic sense, the gospel is about good news, and good news is for sharing.
We share the good news in obedience to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Neither the word “great” nor “commission” appears in these verses; their fixed association with it underscores our understanding of the weight of Jesus’ final charge to His disciples.
But we don’t just share the gospel as a matter of obedience. We share it because the love of Christ constrains [compels] us” (2 Corinthians 5:14). We share the gospel to more closely align ourselves with Jesus’ promise to make us fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). And we share the gospel because the Bible says “He who wins souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30).
In his classic work, The Soul Winner (Eerdmans Publishing, 1964 & 1995), Charles Spurgeon asserts that “Soul-winning is the chief business of the Christian minister; indeed, it should be the main pursuit of every true believer” (p. 15).
Churches where both minister and members are passionate about soul-winning score at least three points on Pastor Mark Dever’s Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. Dever’s list includes a biblical understanding of three things related to this article: the gospel, conversion, and evangelism.
Share Your Faith
These matters invite an honest evaluation of your local church environment: Is the good news about what Jesus did to save sinners regularly and clearly preached at your church? Are there regular reminders that people must be born again to enter the kingdom of God? Does the pastor share his faith with non-Christians and encourage the congregation to do the same?
Blessed are those who are able to answer in the affirmative. For those needing help in these areas, the Artios Center for Vibrant Leadership (at Artios Christian College) is pleased to come alongside you with help and encouragement via its 2022 Summer Seminar on August 28.
For just 3 hours on a Sunday afternoon in late August, we will give our hearts and minds to the subject of Gospel-Focused Preaching. Sounds like a deal!
This dynamic event will be divided into 3 segments:
- Tell Me—a strong case will be made for gospel-focused preaching
- Show Me—two veteran preachers will demonstrate how this is done
- Send Me—participants will be challenged to go preach the gospel with conviction and passion
And the best part of the deal is the post-seminar one-on-one coaching opportunity to be made available. Sounds like something worthy of your time and personal investment? See registration details below.
Jesus is the only true hope for our broken world. Therefore, “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28, NIV).Jesus is the only true hope for our broken world. – Whaid Rose Click To Tweet
- Register for Gospel-Centered Preaching │ Summer Seminar here: https://my.artioscollege.org/en/resources/41#resource
- Register for Predicación Centrada en el Evangelio | Seminario de Verano 2022 here: https://my.artioscollege.org/en/resources/42#resource