Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Proclaiming the gospel to sinner and saint

Mick Porter has contributed substantially to the discussion on who should be the focus of congregational preaching. Mick leans toward preaching in the assembly as means of equipping the saints, but without neglecting the basic gospel, either:

The gospel is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe - and this must apply to both Christians and non-Christians. The apostles always preached the gospel, even/especially in the letters they wrote to Christian churches. 1 Corinthians was written as a strong challenge to a church that was tolerating worldly sin, yet it is chock-full of the gospel. Don't we use the epistles in evangelism today? Yet they were written to believers for the purpose of building them up. So the same maturity-directed teaching that was primarily directed at believers 2000 years ago is applicable today for evangelistic purposes. I say this because I think that any modern-day teaching aimed at maturity should still be gospel-saturated and therefore will always serve a dual-purpose in evangelism.

I like the idea that preaching "aimed at maturity should still be gospel-saturated." When preaching in the Christian assembly, I know that most persons there are already Christians. Those folk need sermons that don't simply go over the basics, but help them grow spiritually (That's where the challenge of Heb. 6:1-3 comes in). At the same time, there are often those present who may never hear the gospel anywhere else. "Gospel-saturated" preaching has the power to speak to the hearts of everyone: the lost, the baby Christian, and the mature saint. It's not necessarily easy to do, and I don't think it can be boiled down to any formula except, perhaps, for this: let us proclaim Jesus Christ and him crucified ( 1 Cor. 2:2). In that Truth is the power of salvation for every human being.

Update: Broken Messenger and Dark Glasses have also joined the discussion. Meanwhile The Sheep's Crib warns against "taking the simple good news and making it something academic." That, in turn, brings to mind Adrian Warnock's exploration earlier this year of the simple gospel.


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