Do you feel the urgency to preach the gospel? We all should feel the weight of the fact that many people at churches all across this world are not saved by God’s grace, for they have not surrendered their lives to Him. They may be doing all the right things. They may be saying what is expected of them. But they have not been justified by the blood of Christ. Why? For one, they have not been confronted with the gospel enough.
The gospel is the linchpin of the hope found in the Bible. The gospel is the foundation of the Church. The gospel is Jesus’ mission made manifest and His salvation made available to all. The gospel is what we are to display and preach every time we have the opportunity to do so. Unfortunately, it’s easy for us to forget that people need to be reminded of the gospel or hear it for the first time. So what do we do? We don’t preach the gospel message of reconciliation to God through Jesus. We preach Jesus, sure. But we hang out in what Jesus did in His earthly ministry without telling the rest of the story. It’s time we preach the gospel every time. Here’s how.
3 Simple Steps to Preach the Gospel No Matter the Passage
These steps come into the picture once you know what verse or passage you will be preaching on.
1. See What the Text Says
Obvious, I know.
What does your passage or verse actually say? In this, you want to examine through study, what the author’s intended meaning is. In other words, what did the author mean in the context he was writing in and the context he was writing to?
This is basic exegesis.
Once you have the author’s intended meaning locked in, as best as you can, then move to hermeneutics and how the verse or passage speaks to today.
What does this speak to in today’s culture? Is this something that represents a way of thinking in people’s minds today? Is this still a problem? How do 21st Century Christians live out this passage or verse?
This is basic hermeneutics.
2. See Where the Text is Within the Grand Narrative of Scripture
Are you preaching from a passage in the Old Testament once the Law of Moses was issued? You’ll need to deal with that context and then bring your hearers up and through the New Covenant. Paul deals with this constantly, especially in Romans and Galatians. Don’t leave them in the Old Testament without applying the text to their lives now in the New Covenant where Jesus reigns and has fulfilled the Law.
Are you preaching from a passage from the wisdom literature? How do those nuggets of wisdom relate to how we can live in Christ today? Point people to how we are enabled and empowered to live right through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who is given as a gift to all who follow Christ.
Are you preaching from one of the Gospel accounts? Preach what Jesus did and taught in the immediate passage at hand, but don’t stop there. Point people to the cross and the resurrection. THIS is why He was here doing all these things that we just looked at. Don’t ever preach Jesus without preaching the whole point in Him coming – Christ crucified, Christ raised to life, Christ our Savior!
Are you preaching from a New Testament letter? Be careful to not preach a moralistic passage without following Paul’s pattern for giving a basis in which to live a right life. He always points to our transformation in Christ before he points to how we should live. In other words, he doesn’t just teach us to live right, but he teaches us how to live in Christ, indwelled by the Spirit of God. Read more on this here.
3. Apply the Text to Christ Followers and Christ Seekers by Pointing to the Gospel
After you’ve seen what the text says and you’ve seen where the text fits into the grand narrative of Scripture, you are ready to adequately apply the text to the lives of your hearers. You want to have multiple groups of people in mind when you apply any text. For the sake of simplicity, let’s group people into two categories (there are certainly more nuances than this): (1) Christ Followers and (2) Christ Seekers.
If, from your exegesis and hermeneutic process, you determine that a proper application of the text at hand is something for your hearers to do, then you must approach this in two ways.
To apply the do to the lives of Christ followers, you must point them to their reality as people who have been freed from sin and indwelled by the Spirit of God to mold them, shape them, encourage them, intercede for them, and empower them to do the do at hand. Without pointing them to their reality, a works-based faith creeps in. They must be reminded of their gospel reality.
To apply the do to the lives of Christ seekers, you must point them to their reality as well. They must see that they are utterly and completely unable to adequately do the do because they have not been freed from the shackles of sin that are binding them down. They must surrender to Jesus and be indwelled by the Spirit of God in order to do what the passage is calling them to do. For the Christ seeker, it always begins with surrendering to Jesus.
Don’t Let People Leave Without Hearing the Gospel
Preach the gospel every time, preacher. You can do this and stay true to the passage at hand. In fact, the grand narrative of Scripture is the gospel. Let’s stay true to the calling God has placed on our lives to be proclaimers of His kingdom, proclaimers of His hope, proclaimers of His word, proclaimers of His good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ.
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