How Sharp is Your Gospel Message?

I believe that the gospel being proclaimed by MOST Christians today is not in full harmony with the gospel the Apostle Paul preached. And if you happen to say “Amen!” in response, I dare say that you may also be off-message. I plan to utilize some things Paul said in the opening words of his first letter to the church at Corinth to prove my point.

 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (I Corinthians 1:15).

If you consider yourself a Bible believer, then surely you agree with Paul’s words immediately above. Let me say that if you REALLY believe these words, then the gospel you preach will reflect it. I am afraid however, that the truth being conveyed by Paul here does not seem to have its appropriate impact on the way most Christians proclaim the gospel. Let me suggest that the full embracing of this truth is foundational to one’s preaching.

Wherever Paul went, the gospel was rejected by most people and only some received it. Those who rejected it despised it and considered it foolishness. When Paul ran across such people, he purposely excused himself from them and went looking for any who would appreciate it.  For two examples, see Acts 28:24-28 and Acts 13:46[1]. Most Christians these days do not seem to follow Paul’s pattern. Instead there is a tendency to employ various arguments designed to convince people to believe the gospel. Such efforts will almost always result in the opposite result because the cross of Christ will be made of no effect.

 “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect” (I Corinthians 1:17).

Think back on past gospel conversations you had with unbelievers. Do you recall conversations that devolved into debate or argument with people who seemed determined to prove you wrong? This has probably happened to us all. But let me suggest that whenever you find yourself in such a debate, you do well to excuse yourself as Paul used to do. Otherwise, the cross of Christ will most likely be diminished in the eyes of all who hear. Rather, we must keep in the very front of our minds the truth Paul expressed in the following verse:

 “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches…But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:13-14).

For our message to be in harmony with Paul’s message, we must always remember that our message is foolishness to the natural man. We should expect most people to despise it and argue against it. The only people who will not do so are those that God Himself prepares beforehand to hear it. So, rather than argue with the natural man who rejects the gospel, we should be always ready to leave so we can spend our time looking for those people that God has prepared beforehand to hear our message. On the contrary, if we persist in making arguments and debating with those who argue against it, we are banging our heads against a concrete wall. Banging one’s head against a concrete wall accomplishes nothing good.

If you read all this and find yourself in agreement with it, then you should also be in agreement with the following statements:

The widespread use of what most Christians call “apologetics” is contrary to Paul’s approach of evangelism. It sorrows me greatly to know that so many Christians consider themselves not qualified to talk with people about the gospel because they do not feel capable of making all the arguments aimed at convincing people to believe. God does not require us to become expert at “apologetics” as most people define it today. Rather, we are called to proclaim the gospel. If we convey the things Paul taught and stick to them,

If we stick to the things Paul taught in his letters (such as Romans), we can rest assured that our message is on point. (The things Paul taught in his epistles represent his message.) This message is to be PROCLAIMED, not debated!


[1] “And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, saying,

     ‘Go to this people and say:     “Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand;     And seeing you will see, and not perceive;     For the hearts of this people have grown dull.     Their ears are hard of hearing,     And their eyes they have closed,     Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,     Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,     So that I should heal them.”’“Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!”  (Acts 28:24-28).

 “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:46).


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