The Gospel 15: Preach One Message

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 28, 2024 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
1 Corinthians 2:2

Paul had one message as he went out from city to city to plant churches and to make disciples of Christ: he preached Christ, and he preached the crucifixion and all that came with it. He absolutely knew far more things than that, but he saw no value in any other topic unless they could point to Christ. Paul knew the Greek culture and Greek mythology, and that’s why in Acts 17 when in Athens, Paul could not only use their own statue to the unknown God but cite two Greek poets who had echoed the truth of who Christ is, even if they did not know it. But in all his preaching, he had one goal and one destination: to proclaim Christ.

Paul understood what it means to be an evangelist. He described himself as a herald. In those days, a herald was the official “news reporter.” A herald would get a message from the king, go to the assigned town, get his soapbox, and then proclaim the message, precisely as the king gave it. The herald would only clarify when questions were asked but never depart from the message. At any point, if word got back to the king that the herald did not give the message in the exact way the king meant it, the herald would be put to death.

The prophets in the Old Testament were treated the same way. If they were going to claim to speak for God, they had to have a 100% fulfillment rate. Any prophecy not fulfilled in their lifetime was held until validation or failure took place. God had a purpose in all this: He wants any who speaks for Him to say exactly what He said and only what He said. It is amazing how God chose to use any of us at all to give His message, but He has chosen to work through weak, frail, fallible, and untrustworthy humans to get His message across. This is not what man would ever think of, but it absolutely is what a God who wants to prove without question that it was His doing and not anyone else’s.

What does this mean? It means we have no say in what the message is. I can picture many readers picking up on that and immediately thinking that everyone has to listen to what I say because I am the only one with the truth. That is not what I am saying at all. But those who think that way are doing precisely what Paul rebuked the Corinthian church for doing: searching and seeking their favorite celebrities and chasing opinions and appearances instead of chasing after Christ. If anyone takes my advice here properly, they won’t need me afterwards, because all I am doing is pointing the way. My book Biblical Foundations has a testimony of a couple getting back to Christ and their marriage being saved. I did not write about marriage; I wrote about following Christ. That saved their marriage. It wasn’t any fancy trick. It wasn’t special counseling (though I do not knock a right application for that). It was simply preaching Christ.

As I wrote over the last several weeks, the Gospel reaches every type of person; I just sampled out seven categories. It is the Gospel that has the power of God unto salvation in every area of life. The Gospel can even deliver someone from writer’s block or answer some scientific mystery by putting everything in the right perspective. Knowing the supremacy of God and how He will determine how much we need to know and when we need to know it can often remove blinders that keep us from seeing the answers. The Gospel has it all, so we need to preach the Gospel as God gave it.

One of my greatest peeves today is when I hear someone professing some very obscure teaching found nowhere in Scripture and then say that “the Gospel doesn’t change” or “it’s not necessary to deal with that to be a Christian.” Watch out for that, because most of the time, those are mere excuses to say, “I can believe whatever I want as long as I agree to a core set of doctrines, and I’ll get into heaven regardless.” That mindset is not a Christian one; it’s a humanistic position that is using God as a means for the self’s end. With that mindset, these people are not seeking after Christ because He is worthy to be worshiped; they are using Jesus as a means to get to paradise where they can celebrate eternity without any regard for their sin.

This false gospel came primarily in the mid-1800s spearheaded by Charles Finney who sought to make sinners as comfortable as possible for when they came to repent of their sins. He is the one who made the “altar call” popular and just by professing doctrines one is proclaimed to be “saved”. That is nonsense. The Gospel was changed from man needing God to save him to God needing man in heaven so He would not be lonely and from God-honoring to man-glorifying. That’s not the Gospel. I’ll address more of these issues as I continue in the series, but I will wrap up this post with these final words.

We have one message to share: one message and one message only. Anything we have to say must have that goal and target in mind no matter where we start from. Every text of Scripture is about Jesus in some way, shape, or form. Therefore, there is a message of the Gospel that comes out of every passage of Scripture, from Creation to the Fall, to the Flood, to the Tower of Babel, to the Old Testament history, to the law, to the judges, to the kings, and to the prophets. They all point to Jesus. We are to proclaim Jesus no matter what our context is, but we are ALSO to proclaim Jesus as He is revealed and not as anything else. Many people would indeed be better off staying silent than opening their mouths and preaching something other than what God said. That is why so few of us should be teachers. It is a serious position to take, but those who do it faithfully will be greatly rewarded. I have much more to share about how to preach the Gospel and how to handle responses to the Gospel over the next few weeks.

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