What is gospel preaching according to the Bible? First, let’s eliminate some things. It is not being “politically correct”, it is not “winning friends and influencing people”, it is not “pleasing men” (Gal. 1:10), it is not “tickling ears” (II Tim. 4:4), it is not “fables” (II Tim. 4:4), it is not jokes, funny stories, experiences, etc., and it is not after-dinner type speeches, nor contemporary book reviews.
It is preaching “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27); it is keeping “back nothing that is profitable” (Acts 20:20). It is a distinctive message (I Cor. 14:7-9). God’s people are different (II Chron. 7:14; Rom. 12:1-2). Christ’s church is made up of the saved (Acts 2:47). It is Christ’s church (Matt. 16:18). It is the one over which He is head (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). It is the one that He has promised to save (Eph. 5:23). It is the “one church” of Ephesians 4:4. If both the church and the message is not distinctive then they are not what God demands. The liberal movement which began in the 1960s and continues today came about because many quit preaching the distinctive message; they wanted to fit in and be accepted and popular. It has resulted in a great many congregations of the Lord’s church going into apostasy by abandoning the Truth. The reason some get upset today when they hear the Gospel preached is because they have attended a congregation where they have never heard the Gospel preached like it must be preached. How long has it been where you attend since you heard lessons on the one church, the plan of salvation, the organization of the church, and the worship of the church? How often do you hear lessons on marriage, divorce, and remarriage? Or lessons on the sin of drinking alcoholic beverages? Do you hear lessons on modesty? Why is it that when we go out and preach, we hear, “I haven’t heard preaching like that in a long time”? One of the reasons the church is not growing, not many being converted, may be because not much seed is being planted (Luke 8:11).
Gospel preaching is the preaching of “sound doctrine” (I Tim. 1:10; II Tim. 1:13; 4:3; Titus 2:8; 1:9; 2:1). All preaching, all doctrine is not “sound doctrine”. As we mentioned in our first article on this subject, Gospel preaching produces a stir. It was said of Paul and Silas, “These men do exceedingly trouble our city” (Acts 16:20). The charge was made in Thessalonica, “These that have turned the world upside down”. I wonder how long it has been since gospel preaching has “exceedingly disturbed” a city, or has “turned the world upside down.” Too many today just want to fit in.
Gospel preaching must not be compromised nor changed in any way. When “false brethren who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage” (Gal. 2:4), Paul refused to compromise “no, not for an hour” (the smallest amount of time to the Greeks); and his reason was, “that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.” Compromise, to any degree, removes the gospel (Gal. 1:6-7; Rev. 22:16-17).
Preacher, how about you? Are you truly a “gospel” preacher? or is that just the name that you wear? Elders, do you demand gospel preaching? Members, do you demand and support the gospel? Let us determine to preach the gospel as the Bible describes and demands.
Paul M. Wilmoth