The Centrality of the Gospel in Preaching 17
The centrality of the gospel in preaching is not only for the lost, but also for the redeemed. The gospel not only communicates our need of forgiveness from the penalty of sin, but the gospel also stresses God’s ongoing presence for all believers in need of strength in the battle against the power of sin and to live a life glorifying to God.
Regarding the gospel, author and conference speaker Jerry Bridges explains, “Many Christians think of the gospel as only for unbelievers. Once we trust in Christ, so the thinking goes, we no longer need the gospel. But … the gospel is a vital gift from God not only for our salvation but also to enable us to deal with the ongoing activity of sin in our lives. So we still need the gospel every day” (Respectable Sins 10).
The gospel is absolutely necessary for the unbeliever without Christ, as well as for the believer endeavoring to serve and live for Christ. The gospel is the central point not only of our justification but also our sanctification. In light of this, the centrality of the gospel in preaching is a non-negotiable, and the church must not compromise and replace it with entertainment, a cultural relevant message, pragmatism, personal truth, rationalism, materialism, emotionalism, a social agenda or any other declaration.
The gospel that the church is to preach is the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 4:23; 24:14), the Gospel of God (Romans 1:1; 15:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Timothy 1:11; 1 Peter 4:17), the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1), the Gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 9:12, 18; Galatians 1:7; Philippians 1:27; 1 Thessalonians 3:2), the Stewardship of God’s Grace (Ephesians 3:2), the Grace of God (Acts 20:24), the Gospel of Salvation (Ephesians 1:13), and the Gospel of Peace (Ephesians 6:15).
It is the Kingdom of God (Luke 16:16), the Glorious Gospel of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4), the Preaching of Jesus Christ (Romans 16:25), the Mystery of Christ (Ephesians 3:4), the Mystery of the Gospel (Ephesians 6:19), the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13), the Word of Christ (Colossians 3:16), the Word of Salvation (Acts 13:26), the Word of Reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19), the Word of Truth (Ephesians 1:13; 2 Corinthians 6:7), the Word of Faith (Romans 10:8), the Word of Life (Philippians 2:16), the Ministration of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:8), the Doctrine According to Godliness (1 Timothy 6:3), and Sound Words (2 Timothy 1:13).
It is likened to a Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31, 32; Mark 4:30–33; Luke 13:18, 19), a Good Seed (Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43), Leaven (Matthew 13:33), a Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:45, 46; Luke 13:20, 21), a Treasure Hidden in a Field (Matthew 13:44), a Householder (Matthew 20:1–16) and a Feast (Luke 14:16–24).
May the church delight in the gospel, always remember the power of God is contained in the gospel, recognize the righteousness of Christ is revealed in the gospel, and live by faith because of the gospel. May the church resolve that the gospel will be central to everything it says and does. To God be the glory as this is accomplished. Soli deo Gloria!