I know a church where the pastor preached a series of sermons simply titled “Jesus.” For several weeks he expounded on the character of Christ and what he has done for us. It was brilliant. It was heavenly.
But then he stopped. The series came to an end and the pastor began a new series. I don’t remember what it was except that it wasn’t about Jesus, it wasn’t brilliant, and it wasn’t heavenly.
The single greatest need in the world today, is for a revelation of the love of our heavenly Father and that love is revealed in Jesus Christ. The single greatest tragedy in the world today, is that those who are called to reveal the gospel, reveal something other than the good news of Jesus.
I know this because I used to do it. As a pastor I preached in reaction to needs and problems and current events. No more. Never again. Now I preach in reaction to Christ alone, for he is the Answer to all of our needs and problems. He is the one who gives Meaning to all of life’s events.
How to preach the gospel of grace
By pointing to Jesus; by getting people to lift their eyes off their sin and hurt and fix their eyes on Jesus our Deliverer and Healer.
- If you are a Bible-teacher, teach the Bible to reveal Jesus.
- If you are a story-teller, tell stories that connect with the Greater Story of Jesus.
- If you are a musician or artist, create good art that captures something of the goodness and beauty of Jesus and his kingdom and creation.
How NOT to preach the gospel of grace
- Preach things that distract us from grace (eg: conditional forgiveness, law-keeping, progressive sanctification, judgmental prophecies, angel worship, endless genealogies, myths, etc.);
- Preach things that diminish faith (eg: sin-management, worldly philosophy, inclusionism, etc.)
- Pursue causes (politics, missions, church-building, Zionism, etc.) in ways that stir up the flesh.
Please understand I am not saying causes are bad or that we should have no investment in them. I’m simply saying they are subsidiary to the gospel that we have been called to preach. Jesus trumps everything. He is the good news the poor need to hear. He is the sight to the blind and the freedom for the captive. He is our long-awaited year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:18-19).
“Paul, how do I preach the gospel of grace?”
Preaching the gospel is simple – it’s just telling people about Jesus. But if you need a little more inspiration – maybe you’re looking for a conversation starter or a ten-week series outline – check out E2R’s new “Teaching Resources” page. It’s packed with useful stuff.