MAIN POINT: WE ARE TO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL.
“All you need is love” is not an axiom that applies to how the gospel spreads. Why is it so important for the individual Christian to “proclaim the message”?
1) FIRST, WE ARE TO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL IN ORDER TO MAKE GOD’S WISDOM KNOWN.
i) We are to see the manifold wisdom of God in the gospel. There is a uniqueness of Paul’s preaching and ministry as he is an apostle—laying the foundation of the church. Jesus preached the kingdom of God and the kingdom came in His death and resurrection. Yet, Jesus appointed the office of apostle to make known the riches found in what He did. These riches are so marvelous, they so display the glory of God and His marvelous wisdom that as the church is formed and begins to bear the image of Christ the angels see it and they are stunned, amazed, and flabbergasted. Yet for us, the gospel tends to be “old hat”. It is something worn out and rickety. We are told today that our generation must ‘reinvent the gospel’; that we must make it more ‘relevant’ to our culture. Culture has gotten bored with the gospel so we must reinvigorate it. I would suggest people get bored with the gospel because they are looking for man’s wisdom not God’s wisdom.
ii) If we are going to raise up a generation that stands in awe of the gospel, if we are going to see it amazing, as the angels themselves see it—we need to return to preaching the gospel in vigor! God’s wisdom is made known in what Christ did on the Cross—this message must be announced. One must state: God has done X in Christ. More than in any other age, in the 20th and 21th century the church has been distracted. We want people to be excited about God so we have tried to generate excitement through human activity and human games. Our culture is ‘amusing itself to death’ so we are told we must do more to amuse our audiences. Pastors must not be entertainers and marketing specialists. Youth leaders must be party planners and run endless game nights so kids will get excited. In this environment, where did the gospel go? We need to start with the basics: the gospel is a message to be proclaimed.
iii) Why do I, the Christian, need to “proclaim” the gospel? There are many ways to answer this question but for our passage:–The gospel is a message to be announced. Proclaiming the gospel makes the wisdom of God known. Paul had a unique ministry—unique to its time and position. Apostle’s laid a foundation once for all. But the common thread remains: proclaiming the gospel makes God’s wisdom known. All other forms used to win people try to mix the wisdom of God with the wisdom of man.
iv) How do I proclaim the gospel?
- Know who you are before Christ. Paul considers Himself lowly before God. You have to start with a knowledge of your lowliness. You need to be driven in humility to Christ.
- Look to see where God has called you. Pay attention to your gift. Pay attention to where God has put you in your life: your work place; your neighbors; your sports team; your children’s friends. Paul was called to the Gentiles but all of us have people in our life we’ve been called to proclaim the gospel.
- Know the message backwards and forwards. Know the message inside and out. You have to immerse yourself in the gospel. You have to know what Christ has done at the cross. Grow in learning what it means. Second, are your affections won by the gospel? Do you delight in seeing the glory of God in Christ? Salesmen must know the specs of their product to make sales. Ambassadors must know the policies of their country to negotiate peace. A Christian must know the gospel and grow in the gospel in order to proclaim it.
- Ask God for opportunities to share your faith.
- Have a confidence in God’s gospel. Trust Christ so that you can say:
Romans 1:16 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek
i) Your opportunities to proclaim the gospel glorify God. Your opportunities to proclaim the gospel are part of God’s eternal plan—God makes His plan so that he might receive all the honor and glory. You and I have the privilege of being a part of God’s eternal purpose. When we serve Him in good works, we are doing things He has prepared in advance for us to do.
ii) Our access to God is based not on how we serve but on whom we have faith in. There is always a danger of exalting servants of God. Missionaries who sacrifice greatly, or pastors who serve tirelessly become heroes. There is nothing wrong with rightly honoring such people—I can think of several pastors who labors have been influential in my life. There is always the danger of hero worship. It is easy to exalt such people as ‘super spiritual’ or somehow think they are closer to God. Occasionally, I have been asked by people outside the church to pray for them and they ask in such a way that they imply that my prayers will be heard more by God because I am a pastor. My access to God is the same as every other Christian’s access—it comes through Jesus Christ.
iii) When we proclaim the gospel, we must make clear that people can have access to God, they can use this access boldly and confidently but it only comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
iv) Do not lose heart when you do not see immediate fruit from your proclamation. For Paul, proclaiming the gospel put Him in jail. For us, we might risk offending a friend or relative. We might be passed over for a promotion because we are known as ‘the Christian’. Around the world, Christians often take their life in their hands when they proclaim the gospel. Do not get discourage! Do not lose heart. Look to Christ: He is fulfilling His eternal purposes and growing the church.