I’ve been at this now for nearly six years; serving Christ and his people, preaching the Gospel. There comes a temptation to think to myself, “Self, you’ve pretty much covered all the bases, this is territory already conquered.” How many different ways can one package and present the fact that we are sinners, lost and condemned and that God in his amazing grace has given his Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, into human life and death so that we might be saved from what our sins earn for us, everlasting death and damnation? Perhaps, in order to keep the messages new and interesting, and attract more people to our church, we should take a different path, one that helps people to live a better life in this world and feel better about themselves? There are other churches that are doing that, and they seem to be getting “ginormous”. Why not us?
Why not, I’ll tell you why not! No…let’s let Jesus tell us why not. ‘Then he opened their mind to understand the Scriptures; and he [Jesus] said to them, “Thus it has been written that the Christ suffer and rise out of the dead on the third day and that there be preached in his name repentance into the forgiveness of sins to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”’(Luke 24:45-47) Now maybe I’ve been preaching this message for nearly six years, but the Church of Jesus Christ has been preaching it for nearly 2000, and has been commanded to preach it until the day that Christ returns. Repentance into the forgiveness of sins; that the Christ suffered, died and rose from the dead to earn it for us. That is the message that Jesus, God, wants preached in his name, it’s the Gospel and I believe that is what I ought to be doing. The Gospel is more than happy talk about Jesus and God. The Gospel is preaching and teaching that actually brings forgiveness of sins, life and salvation in Jesus’ name. It is the death and resurrection of Jesus personally applied to dying sinners. We all fall into that group and need to hear the details on a continuing basis. Sin and death is a dragon that just won’t die, not in this age. It needs to be continually battled and contained so as not to overwhelm us, and others need to be rescued from its grasp.
But what about our fear that if we don’t give the world what it wants, tell it what it wants to hear in the way that it wants to hear it, that our congregation, our denomination, will wither and die on the vine? That we’re outdated and impotent? The Apostle Paul tackles that one at the beginning of his letter to the Church in Rome, a place far more worldly and corrupt at the time than even our 21st century world. “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”(Romans 1:16) What Paul is saying is that he is going to continue to preach the Gospel because it is where God’s power of salvation is delivered, it comes from no other direction. He goes on to write; “Faith comes through hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”(10:17) The only way that forgiveness and salvation can be received is through faith, and the only way that faith can be kindled and fanned into a raging fire is in hearing the Gospel, the Word of Christ.
“We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:23-25) It’s all about Christ and the cross, his life, death and resurrection, no matter what others might say and think. There is no more that can be done and there is no more that can be said! Even if the world doesn’t want to hear it, especially if the world doesn’t want to hear it, because it’s what everyone needs to hear, time and time again, until time itself runs out.