There is ONE THING that completes every message. If THIS is not the linchpin, foundation, central focus… the preacher failed. A message about worry, or family, or self esteem means nothing without IT. Regardless of the preacher’s ability to preach… bring a congregation to tears… or lift them to the heights of joy, to leave this ONE THING out makes him an absolute failure. If the message is about prosperity or wealth and yet does not clearly present THIS, it is a horrible failure. What is it? As Paul wrote in 1 Cor 2:1-5…
When I came to you, brothers, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know NOTHING among you EXCEPT Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men BUT THE POWER OF GOD.
I’ve listened to a lot of preaching and preachers the last few years and, sadly, have been disappointed many times. As a result I have feared there were too many times I preached Bible messages but failed to CLEARLY present the Gospel as Paul described. I will go so far as to say that to NOT present the Gospel is the most egregious failure a preacher can commit.
Presenting the Gospel is NOT just a nod to the death and resurrection of Jesus for a minute at the end of a message. It is not an “Oh by the way” thing about Jesus at the beginning either. The Gospel is not a spring board to jump off of and then spend the rest of the message talking about something else. No, presenting the Gospel IS the central focus of every message, every sermon, every Sunday School lesson, every prayer meeting.
Be a discerning listener next time you hear a message. Listen for the Gospel. If you don’t hear it plainly, it may have been Biblical but it wasn’t the Gospel.