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why preach the gospel in every sermon? – andrew lim

gospel-painting

The Gospel of Jesus is both the ground and resource for life and meaning. I’ve discovered that I will never preach a theological truth that is more profound than the gospel.

Preaching Gospel-centred sermons does not mean preaching an evangelistic Gospel message each week concluding with an altar call; nor does it mean hastily pegging it onto the conclusion just because you have to bring it up.

Preaching a Gospel-centred sermon is not preaching a sermon with the gospel attached to it.

A Gospel-centred sermon shows the people how their anxieties, failures and dissatisfaction all find their cure through the death of Jesus and His sacrifice for our sins. It shows the people how they will not be able to do what God requires of them, but Christ has done for them what they cannot do. It is calling on the people to rest on the finished work of Jesus and to respond with joy and humility.

We say “we preach Christ and Him crucified” but it is easy to go on preaching non-Christocentric sermons. We rail against sin and promote holiness, but Christ is often nowhere to be heard. And the people go home to pray harder and sacrifice more. But it’s a fool’s errand! It’s works righteousness.

Just about the only way to stop preaching such sermons is to start to grow a deep distaste, an allergy, even a repugnance, for moralistic sermons that do not promote the fame of Christ and stir people’s hearts to ravish Him.

How then should we preach?

 

  1. Begin with the unnatural.

Being Gospel-centred is not the most natural thing for us. Feeling safe and satisfied with Jesus is not our heart’s default setting. Our self-preservative instinct automatically kicks in when we’re afraid or hurt. Throughout the day, we need to learn to process our thoughts, attitudes and actions in light of the Gospel. We need to confess our sins of smugness and anxieties in the light of the love and forgiveness of God. For unless we’ve found sufficiency and satisfaction in the Gospel, we cannot be Gospel-centered in our preaching.

 

  1. Grow sensitivity to the invasiveness of the Gospel

When Gospel-centeredness becomes second nature, you’ll begin to see the implications of the Gospel in virtually every aspects of your daily living. You will see Christ as the solution to every human ill and how the Gospel relates to any text you preach; and you’ll seek to promote it so your people may be transformed by it.

 

  1. Get to Jesus in each sermon

Preaching from any text, you could either conclude by giving the people a list of what they should now do, or you could remind them about what Jesus has done on their behalf.

If you preach on greed and not bring the gospel in, the people will probably say: “I’m going to stop making money my security, I’m going to give more away to God” but that is never going to work because the heart’s desire for a supreme object of worship is unquenchable. Greed cannot be destroyed. It can only be dispossessed.

You need to get the people to look at Jesus the Almighty God of the vast cosmos coming down to this tiny cosmic speck earth to face head-on the fires of hell because of His sacrificial love for you. When the people come to see that loving you stripped Him of virtually everything, the object of their greed will cease to be captivating. Knowing this makes Jesus so beautiful their greed for other stuff becomes shamefully pathetic.

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