Preaching The Gospel
by Bernie Parsons
Preaching The Gospel
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 churchthe 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;
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 storythe god spel, the good
story, or the god storybegan in ancient days, not merely at the moment of our Lords
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 wont do at this time lest we linger here longer
than some find comfortable.
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.
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 Pauls 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.
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
Colossians 1:19: For it pleased
the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
In Acts 8, we read that even before Pauls 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.
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.
13:1: The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.
Matthew 5:1: And seeing the
multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
Mark 6:32: And they departed into
a desert place by ship privately.
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 peoples 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.
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.
4:5: And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,
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.
Acts 8:29: Then the Spirit said
unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
I could go on, but you get the picture. Dont ever say that you have no opportunities to present the gospel. Dont 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. Lets 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 gospeland 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.
dont preach it, it wont get preached. Lets all do our part in preaching
If you are here, and not a Christian, you need to be. Count the costthat 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?