“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Preach the Gospel?

This week I had several conversations that went like this:

(a) - "This is a great opportunity, (Christmas), to preach the gospel. We can reach people that we normally would not reach"


(b) - "Boy, our pastor really preached the gospel this weekend! I love Christmas sermons!"

Now you may see nothing wrong with this, but I believe this is the crux of the problem in the USA today. The gospel is NOT something that is preached with regularity, instead it has become the 'message' when the 'lost' come to church! Yet, in reality, what else should a pastor be preaching with regularity?

Now don't get me wrong -- I understand that sometimes you are preaching through a section of the Bible that may have various applications, but the gospel should be regular fare at your church and not just the 'holiday meals'.

How different was Paul's statement found in 1st Corinthians 2:1, 2 -- "And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

He also makes this statement in Romans 1:16, 17 --- For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, The righteous shall live by faith...

Now, contrast this view of the gospel with the messages that were preached this year in the USA:

1. At least five huge churches preached on sex -- of course, couching it in the mindset that they are trying to show we are not prudes, just good, moral people.

2. There were three (that I found) that preached on how to live a fulfilled life by losing the fear and anxiety that holds you back -- they did not speak of the power of the gospel (yes, I listened to several of them), rather that we need to 'break free' from fear.

3. You have a major 'evangelical leader' who now teaches other religions how to be more successful and 'Purpose-Driven' -- This is a person who has created an empire out of non-gospel preaching.

No wonder that people are so pleased and vocal about their pastor's Christmas service; he FINALLY gets around to preaching the gospel. Sadly, this should not be a rare event, but THE event that gathers the church.

I did not link to any of the sermons because I do not care to give these people free publicity, many of them are well-known, and they all have their defenders and trolls, who have nothing better to do that troll the blogs looking for a mention of 'their' church. They then proceed to make it all about 'their' man, instead of addressing the truth that the church they attend has little regard for the power of the gospel.

Sad is the day when a congregant brags that their pastor 'really preached the gospel', as if it were a novel concept!

May God have mercy on us!


Anonymous said...

I can see why some pastors would want to "turn up" the gospel message on Christmas or Easter, because, of course, that's when (sadly) the most people attend church. They think "Wow! Now's the chance to reach the most people."

The problem is that people who only come on Christmas and Easter do so out of tradition, obligation or some wrongly distorted sense contrition. These folks won't be back next week anyway, even after hearing a gospel message. Their mindset (and "heartset") is not to devote their lives to Christ anyway, or even "seeking" God in the first place.

There is only one thing we can do. We must preach the uncompromised Good News at all times and allow the Holy Spirit to quicken those dead in trespasses and sins.

We need to strongly preach the gospel every week (and more often), so those coming to church find Christ regardless of what the calendar says.


Ray said...

Thanks Dave! I agree with your comments...

When you gear your message to the 'occasional' attender, instead of consistently preaching the message in season and out, you are making a statement about your faith in the gospel for transformational change in ALL lives, including those of Christians who attend church every week.

I always think it is interesting when I hear people say - "I wish so-and-so had been here, they REALLY needed to hear this!", implying that they do not need to hear it, but someone they deem as lost needs to hear it. All Christians should regularly not only hear the gospel, but contemplate and meditate on the awesomeness of it!