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Preaching The Gospel

by Bernie Parsons

Preaching The Gospel 

Bernie Parsons

Presented to the Westwood church of Christ on 08/18/02 

Mark 16:15: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” 

As I have maintained throughout this series of meetings, the main thrust of the church—the called-out body of Jesus Christ, is to preach the gospel to the world. I am of the mind that if we will dedicate ourselves to this mission, we will find more peace within the body of Christ, will feel better about our Christian lives, and will accomplish much good. 

But I want to ask you, “What exactly is the gospel of Christ?” As I grew up in the church, may of the preachers and church members talked about preaching the gospel, and “gospel meetings”. (We called them revivals in the earlier days, for they signaled a reawakening to the message of God.) Yet most of those who mentioned the gospel seemed to equate the gospel to a series of five steps that they often called the “Plan of Salvation”. They said that we must preach the gospel, and proceeded to tick off “Hear, believe, repent, confess, and be baptized.” I grew up thinking that those five words were the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are not. If they are not, what, then, is the gospel of Christ? 

Mark gives us the answer in the opening words of his treatment of the life of Christ.

Mark 1:1: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
2: As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
3: The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4: John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
5: And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
6: And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;
7: And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
8: I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
9: And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
10: And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
11: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 

Mark then launches into a rather complete account of the life of Christ upon this earth. I can draw no other conclusion than that the entire life of Christ is the gospel message. In fact that gospel story—the god spel, the good story, or the god story—began in ancient days, not merely at the moment of our Lord’s birth. Peter preached the gospel to the Jews at the Pentecost gathering, as we can read in Acts chapter 2. 

See how complete this message was? It summarized the plan of God regarding Jesus, and included the message of the crucifixion. For another gospel sermon, read Acts chapter 7, which I won’t do at this time lest we linger here longer than some find comfortable.

Paul said that his intention was to only preach Jesus, and Him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:1: “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
2: For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
3: And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
4: And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
5: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”

We can rest assured that Paul delivered a very similar message to that of Peter, and of Stephen. This message was carried out to the world of Paul’s day. Jesus had said:

 Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

 To which Paul has said: 

Colossians 1:5: ”For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
6: Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:”

Colossians 1:19: “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
20: And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
21: And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
22: In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
23: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;”

In Acts 8, we read that even before Paul’s conversion, the persecuted Christians who fled Jerusalem carried the gospel far and wide into the world.

Acts 8:1: “And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
2: And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
3: As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
4: Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” 

Jesus told the early disciples to take the gospel to the entire world. Peter preached it to the Jews, as did Stephen and others. Paul preached it to the Gentiles and Jews, as did the scattered, persecuted Christians out of Jerusalem. I conclude, therefore, that we are obligated in our time to get the message out to the world. Start in our own backyard, if we see that as the place to begin our ministry. But let us not stop there. Let us take it, not only to our own families, but also to our neighbors. Let us take it to our acquaintances, and on to strangers. 

Where is it appropriate to preach the gospel? Jesus preached it on the seashore, on the mountainside, and in the desert places.

Matthew 13:1: “The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.
2: And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3: And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;”

 Matthew 5:1: “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,”

Mark 6:32: “And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.
33: And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him.
34: And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.” 

He taught it in the synagogues, and in the temple at Jerusalem. He taught it in the public places, where the crowds gathered, and He preached it in private, in people’s houses. 

Matthew 4:23: “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” 

John 7:14: “Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.” 

John 19:38: “And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.”

The apostles and disciples taught it to their Jewish judges and tormentors, those leaders of the Jewish religion. They also taught it to Jewish kings and to Roman governors.

Acts 4:5: “And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,
6: And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.
7: And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?
8: Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,
9: If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
10: Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.” 

Acts 25:23: “And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus' commandment Paul was brought forth.” 

They taught the gospel in the Jewish synagogues, and the Gentile places of worship. They taught in by the riverbank, and in a rolling chariot.

Acts 9:20: “And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.”

Acts 16:13: “And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.
14: And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.” 

Acts 8:29: “Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
30: And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
31: And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.”

I could go on, but you get the picture. Don’t ever say that you have no opportunities to present the gospel. Don’t make the excuse that you are waiting for the opportune time and place. The time is anytime; the place is wherever you find yourself.

 If we are too fearful, we will miss golden opportunities to preach the gospel to the lost. We sometimes sing a sobering song, “You Never Mentioned Him To Me”. Let’s see that no one can honestly address us in that fashion. Let us preach the gospel every time we can, every place we can.

It is true that some of the apostles and early Christians were killed because of preaching the gospel. John the Baptist, and Jesus, Himself, were killed for preaching the gospel. We may be killed for preaching the gospel—and with the state of world as it is today, that is not a far-fetching concept. Muslims and others are killing Christians around the world as we speak. 

If we don’t preach it, it won’t get preached. Let’s all do our part in preaching the gospel. 

If you are here, and not a Christian, you need to be. Count the cost—that you life may be on the line, and never look back once you make the commitment. But also count the cost if you stand before God, and He sentences you to eternal death and damnation. What would you give in exchange for your soul?


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