One of the greatest responsibilities a minister of God’s word has is the ability to correctly interpret the scriptures, as well as reveal Christ through the scriptures while preaching the Gospel. Sunday after Sunday, people flock to the churches in hopes of hearing something that may help them in life. Regardless of the conditions and contingencies in one’s personal life, what they ultimately need is Christ; however, if the sermon being preached lacks the Gospel, if it lacks the revealing of Christ through the scriptures, it will fail to ultimately do what a gospel message is intended on doing; that is to save a sinner. Unfortunately, many churches in America focus their sermons on a particular topic, give their attention and focus on developing the topic and fail to explicate Christ and the Gospel.
It is relevant to acknowledge the excessive use of the word gospel. If you ask the average person after church if they heard the gospel that day, for the most part, they will answer in the affirmative regardless of what they heard. So long as the Pastor delivers a message with a scriptural pronouncement from the bible, people will accept it as the gospel; however, not all biblical messages are gospel messages. For example, if the minister or chaplain is merely talking about a friend dying for another friend being one of the greatest actions of love, great! Sounds like a relevant message for anyone, but if it is only that, then it is not the gospel. If the preacher adds in the fact that Christ exemplified that particular love by dying for His sheep and explains how and why he did it, then that is gospel preaching.
It is important to realize this peculiar discernment for the sake of being vigilant in the word of God as it is written in
2 Timothy 2:15 Study earnestly to present yourself approved by God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
It is therefore important to realize there are certain qualities of a gospel message that needs to be proclaimed to qualify as a gospel message. Consider the following; what I call qualities of the Gospel.
- The audience needs to realize who and what they are in their spiritual disposition when they are without Christ.
- Romans 5:12,19 – sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… by the one man’s disobedience, the many were made
- There are no exceptions to All men being born sinners and spiritually dead as a result of Adam’s disobedience. Spiritually dead means no man can give himself spiritual life or a spiritual rebirth of their own volition or will; it is a gift of from God, and until God, Himself gives grace and faith to the sinner; the sinner has no spiritual inclination toward God.
- John 3:36 – Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
- Here is a great example of the current disposition of every unbeliever. We see two categories in this verse; those who believe in Christ and those who do not. Believing in Christ is here exemplified by our obedience to Him. Notice that for the unbeliever, it reads the “wrath of God remains on him.” So many do not realize that God not only possesses the attributes of love and patience but also possesses the attributes of anger and wrath. For the sinner or the ones who have not yet repented of their sins and follow the Son; God is angry with them. Sinners are currently under the wrath of God as all are until they come to Christ. Notice the verse reads “wrath of God ”
- In fact, the longer the sinner remains without repenting, the more wrath the unbeliever will receive from God on the day of judgment. Romans 2:5 “But according to your hardness and your impenitent heart, do you treasure up wrath for yourself in a day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” One may want to consider; what are sinners saved from? They may have been saved from drugs, alcohol, or violence, but ultimately when God saves a sinner, He saves them from the wrath of God being poured on them for eternity in the “Lake of Fire.”
- Once the sinner realizes their spiritual condition without Christ; they need to understand repentance and obedience to Christ.
- Job 42:6 – therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
- Dust and ashes was a physical Jewish expression of repentance; but nevertheless, it reveals to everyone what ought to be the general reaction of anyone who realizes they are a wicked vessel underneath the eyes of God. To despise yourself implies a realization of how worthless and helpless one is as a sinner unable to change and desperate for the grace of God.
- Matthew 4:17 – From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent! For the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
- After the baptism of Christ; the first message He began to proclaim and continually until His death was repentance, as was also the primary message of John the Baptist. Repentance is explicated in the sense of having a change of heart; turning from a life of disobedience to God’s laws to a life of obedience to Christ’s commandments.
- In no particular order; the audience needs to learn who and what Jesus Christ is.
- John 4:25 – The woman said to Him, I know that Messiah is coming, who is called Christ. When He has come, He will tell us all things.
- The word Christ in the scriptures is not found in the Old Testament but only in the New Testament alone; nevertheless, make no mistake that the Jews were well aware that the title Christ to them was in reference to the Old Testament prophecy of the Messiah. Jesus Christ was never created but has been and always will be an eternal being with no beginning or end and one with God the Father and the second person of the Holy Trinity.
- Isaiah 9:6 – For to us a Child is born, to us, a Son is given, and the government shall be on His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
- Although, the word trinity is not found in the Bible; the indications and implications are strongly written throughout the Holy Bible. It is evident in Isaiah 9:6 because the words child and son are capitalized in reference to the prophesied Messiah; furthermore, in this passage, He is given titles attributed to God Himself such as, “The Mighty God, and Everlasting Father.” This is very significant because the Son of God is being referred to as the God and Father. Christ is everlasting meaning eternal with no beginning and no end. Christ is referred to as Mighty God possessing in eternally all the attributes possessed by God the Father Himself.
- Revelations 1:8 – I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, says the Lord, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
- This is a strong and clear passage in the New Testament testifying of Christ’s deity and Godhead. Christ Himself in His resurrected and glorified state referred Himself personally as “The Almighty,” which closely correlates with the Old Testament passage of Isaiah 9:6.
- The audience needs to learn why Jesus Christ came to earth in the flesh and died on the Cross as a substitutionary atonement for the sins of those who may believe in Him.
- Romans 8:3,4 – For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; so that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
- Pay close attention here. Before the Son of God came in the flesh it was the law which was sent to Moses and given to God’s people to fulfill. When the Apostle Paul wrote, “the law could not do . . . (and) was weak through the flesh,” He does not mean that the law itself falls below the standard of God, or that the law itself is weak and insufficient, but instead the weakness of the law is in the flesh of man’s inability to obey it completely. The nature of humanities flesh is corrupted by sin to the extent of deliberate and passive disobedience to God’s law. This is critical because God’s requirement to be in His kingdom in Heaven is the absolute fulfillment of God’s commandments; in other words, what justifies sinners to enter Heaven is absolute righteousness; for there can be no sin in Heaven.
- God’s plan is a judicial remedy. God sent His Son in the “likeness of sinful flesh.” God knowing that no human could fulfill the law of God, in other words, incapable of righteousness; Christ left His Heavenly domain, made Himself lower than the angels in heaven, placed Himself in the flesh through the birth of a virgin who was conceived by the Holy Spirit of God so not to be corrupted or imputed by the sinful nature of man’s seed. Christ made Himself subject to the temptations general to all humans and in the flesh limited in Godly powers and attributes until His time came to fulfill His purpose.
- Jesus Christ the Son of God is sent by the Father now in the likeness of a sinners flesh making Himself subject to the justice of God against sin. Jesus Christ the only one with the capability to obey all of God’s commandments flawlessly fulfills righteousness for the sake of those who may believe in Him. And so; through Jesus Christ’s obedience, the law is not only made strong but is fulfilled not only ceremonially, but morally as well. Here is where the death of Christ is valued. Here is what gives the death of Christ worth and value to atone for the sins in the world of those who come to Christ for salvation. Christ being completely guiltless of death; for it is only the sinner who should suffer the consequence of death since the penalty for sin is death; is put on the cross to die. Christ then takes on the sins of the world for those who come to believe in Him and Jesus Himself becomes sin on the cross, where it was pleasing for God at that moment to condemn His own Son. A guiltless one was put to death instead of the guilty who deserved to be condemned.
- Now as it is written in Romans 8:4 so that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Here is the good news. Here is the glorious gospel. The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us, not because of anything we did on our own to merit such a title, but because for whoever has repented of their sins and believes in the Son of God and His redemptive work; the righteousness of Christ is attributed on the account of the sinner who believes in Christ. We are therefore justified by God because of the faith and grace given to the sinner, which is the means necessary to believe in Christ. The regenerated (born again by the Spirit of God) individual now does not walk according to the flesh, because the flesh can never fulfill the law of God, but they now walk according to the Spirit, because they now believe in Christ which justifies them by faith as righteous in the sight of God based only on the merit of Christ’s good deeds and not our own. Praise God for His glorious Gospel. For as it is written in Romans 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
- The audience needs to learn about the
- John 11:25 – Jesus said to her, I am the Resurrection and the Life! He who believes in Me, though he dies, yet he shall live.
- So much may be gleaned from this verse alone. Jesus is the Resurrection, the Life. Jesus had the power to resurrect people while on earth if He asked it from the Father, and in the last day while in His glorious state, He will resurrect all who believes in Him with His own power. No one who dies on this earth as a Child of God fully dies, but instead, their bodies are merely seeds in the soil being prepared for the harvest for the day of resurrection. Those who believe in Christ are alive in Him already because they are no longer dead in sin. No longer are they slaves and in bondage to sin. No longer are they subject to the curse of sin and death. Believers of Christ while on earth have had a spiritual resurrection and now have the freedom from sin to follow, love, and obey Jesus Christ; furthermore, no fear needs to be given to the death of the body. Death to the Christian can now be something to look forward to with joy. For those who are in Christ, to die and lose the pleasures of this world is to gain everything in eternity. The poorest man in Heaven if there was such a thing is the richest one in this world. Not because of any spiritual commodity, but because of the fact that we have Christ. If anyone has Christ they have it all because Christ is all.
As I stated earlier, not all messages are a gospel message. Sermons serve a great purpose for the edification of the body of Christ; however, it takes a peculiar realization to expound Christ and the gospel through a sermon. The qualities of the gospel can be interrelated into any sermon no matter what the topic is. The preacher needs to pray and fast, that the Lord reveals Jesus Christ to him through the scriptures. It is written in Hebrews 10:7 Then I said, Lo, I come (in the volume of the Book it is written of Me) to do Your will, O God.” The scriptures are full of Christ; they speak of Him. Why is it important to expound on Christ and the Gospel in a Sunday morning sermon? Because the preacher/teacher never knows who in the crowd is not saved. The preachers bear the responsibility to assure they are bringing the gospel every week or whenever they preach. They cannot afford to neglect any part of the Gospel. They cannot afford to merely depend on having someone repeat a prayer as a method for salvation because the scriptures only speak of one method given by God in Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. Amen.