Must a preacher preach the Gospel in every sermon?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Must a preacher give a Gospel presentation in every sermon?

How would you respond if asked, "Must a preacher preach the Gospel in every single sermon?"

What might be at the root of such a question?
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
The preacher must preach the text in every sermon.

He must preach the text in its proximate and ultimate contexts. Since all the Word preaches and teaches Christ in some sense (and the gospel is simply the good news of who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for us), then, yes, at some point every text illumines some aspect of that good news to us and that needs somewhere or other to be proclaimed in the preaching of that particular text.

Does every pericope proclaim the gospel directly? Hardly. Does every passage of the Bible, somehow, fit into the larger story of God the Father bringing His people to salvation in and by the Lord Jesus Christ as applied by the Holy Spirit? Yes. And that must never be far from the mind and the exposition of every biblical preacher.

Peace,
Alan
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
There are a few possible meanings, depending on who is asking that question:

1. Some use a phrase like "gospel presentation" to mean there must be an altar call with every sermon.

2. Others, though, especially recently, mean to say that the preacher should include a mention of how the larger context of the text leads to Jesus and his saving work, or that exhortations should be grounded in an encouragement first of all to more deeply appreciate and believe the good news.

My answer would be "no" to the first meaning, and "that's a good practice" to the second meaning. I don't preach, but even teaching Sunday school classes I intentionally make sure I talk about Christ and encourage both believers and any unbelievers who might be present to practice faith in him. This is not an altar call, but rather a focus of attention on what is central to Christian hope and life. I find it takes being intentional or I am likely to stray and simply tell fun stories or urge students to 'buck up' in some way—without feeding them anything that can power their efforts.

Spurgeon said, "A sermon without Christ! As well talk of a loaf of bread without any flour in it. How can it feed the soul?"* A preacher ought to feed as well as inform and exhort, and we feed on Christ. If that's what the question it getting at, it's a good question.


* Sermon 826, "Christ the Glory of His People"
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
The term "Gospel" is often used without defining what it is.

Ask ten people what "The Gospel" is and you likely will be startled at the disparate answers.

An excellent example would be a sermon series elucidating each of the Ten Commandments. (The Westminster Larger Catechism is an excellent source for this). One could tie each one back to "The Gospel." but that might not be appropriate if the preaching was on broad application of that application, for example.

Preaching and teaching expositionally (Scripture interprets Scripture) is the key Reformed hermeneutic. That means often even obscure passages and texts can be related back to what we might term "The Gospel." It is a point of growth to know how amazingly true that is in so many cases.

But it is not a requirement, of Scripture. The Scriptures have all genres, including narrative, and any such requirement would be a binding of conscience by the will of man, not God.
 

clark thompson

Puritan Board Freshman
A preacher needs to always preach the word, I often teach of how we Christians should live because those I teach are committed Christians and know and have accepted the gospel.
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The "Gospel" writ large should be present in every Christian sermon. Every sermon should contain a call (in keeping with the text) to rest and trust in the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ including a call to repentance and faith.

There is a massive difference between a lecture on a text (which is how I would categorize far too many sermons I hear in Reformed circles) and the preaching of a text.
 

Toasty

Puritan Board Sophomore
If a preacher is preaching through the Book of Esther, how would he go about mentioning how Christ saves people from their sin and how man is justified before God?

Suppose that someone is preaching through Proverbs 1 where it says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Would it be appropriate to mention that fearing the Lord is one of the characteristics of the regenerate and how someone is regenerated?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Whereunto was he appointed a preacher?

2 Tim. 1:8-11, "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles."
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
If a preacher is preaching through the Book of Esther, how would he go about mentioning how Christ saves people from their sin and how man is justified before God?

How about something like this:

Est 4:11 "All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days."

....

Est 5:1 On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king's palace, in front of the king's quarters, while the king was sitting on his royal throne inside the throne room opposite the entrance to the palace.
Est 5:2 And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won favor in his sight, and he held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.


Even before an earthly king, presuming to enter in his presence means death.

How much more with God? How could we sinners dare stand before the throne of the most Holy King?

We cannot hope for a golden scepter to be pointed toward us, who only have filthy rags to clothe us. Yet, we can be clothed in royal righteous robes, clothed in the righteousness of one who does stand before that throne on our behalf.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
If a preacher is preaching through the Book of Esther, how would he go about mentioning how Christ saves people from their sin and how man is justified before God?

Vic gave a great answer. Let me add another one. I can't resist, since my book has about half a chapter devoted to teaching the gospel from Esther. Here's a shortened version.


There are two kings in Esther: Xerxes and the unnamed King of Heaven, who showed Himself to be the one truly in charge. Haman should have sought honor from Him instead of from Xerxes, and Esther proved herself wise for putting Him and His people first. Like Esther, we need to remember that we belong to a far better King than even the great king of Persia:

* The king of Persia ruled an empire. But King Jesus rules all heaven and earth.

* The king of Persia was duped by a gift to his treasury. But King Jesus owns all things and freely shares them with us.

* The king of Persia will love you for a night, use you for his pleasure, and then send you back to the harem. But King Jesus gives a costly love that’s faithful forever.

* The king of Persia executes all traitors, impaling them on the gallows. But not King Jesus. We have all been unfaithful to him and deserve to die, but he has gone to the gallows in our place, impaled at his hands and feet.

Always remember who you are and what King has saved you to serve Him. It will make you wise and brave like Esther.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
It's also good to bear in mind always something of the Messianic purpose behind the various contributions to the sum of special revelation.

The story of the preservation of the elect nation is necessarily the story of the preservation of the Promise. God is able to bring his Messiah into the world however he will. His way of doing so is manifest by the historical record of what actually did take place. And Esther records a significant piece of that history.

The sovereignty of God over history is the control requisite to ensure that Jesus will arrive "in the fulness of time." Xerxes, Haman, Esther, Bigtha--persons great and small were exercised with their own concerns, but were unwittingly serving divine purposes that will benefit the elect. The God of Israel is God over the idols and the powers of all the nations. And yet the book of Esther manages to convey this divine mastery without a single direct reference. What unbelief cannot see, faith cannot help but see.

Another temporal deliverance, another sign pointing to the certainty that "good news" of ultimate salvation would one day ring out in celebration surpassing Purim's.
 

Toasty

Puritan Board Sophomore
If a preacher is preaching through the Book of Esther, how would he go about mentioning how Christ saves people from their sin and how man is justified before God?

How about something like this:

Est 4:11 "All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days."

....

Est 5:1 On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king's palace, in front of the king's quarters, while the king was sitting on his royal throne inside the throne room opposite the entrance to the palace.
Est 5:2 And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won favor in his sight, and he held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.


Even before an earthly king, presuming to enter in his presence means death.

How much more with God? How could we sinners dare stand before the throne of the most Holy King?

We cannot hope for a golden scepter to be pointed toward us, who only have filthy rags to clothe us. Yet, we can be clothed in royal righteous robes, clothed in the righteousness of one who does stand before that throne on our behalf.

Thank you. That is something that I never thought of before while reading Esther.
 

Toasty

Puritan Board Sophomore
If a preacher is preaching through the Book of Esther, how would he go about mentioning how Christ saves people from their sin and how man is justified before God?

Vic gave a great answer. Let me add another one. I can't resist, since my book has about half a chapter devoted to teaching the gospel from Esther. Here's a shortened version.


There are two kings in Esther: Xerxes and the unnamed King of Heaven, who showed Himself to be the one truly in charge. Haman should have sought honor from Him instead of from Xerxes, and Esther proved herself wise for putting Him and His people first. Like Esther, we need to remember that we belong to a far better King than even the great king of Persia:

* The king of Persia ruled an empire. But King Jesus rules all heaven and earth.

* The king of Persia was duped by a gift to his treasury. But King Jesus owns all things and freely shares them with us.

* The king of Persia will love you for a night, use you for his pleasure, and then send you back to the harem. But King Jesus gives a costly love that’s faithful forever.

* The king of Persia executes all traitors, impaling them on the gallows. But not King Jesus. We have all been unfaithful to him and deserve to die, but he has gone to the gallows in our place, impaled at his hands and feet.

Always remember who you are and what King has saved you to serve Him. It will make you wise and brave like Esther.

Thank you. It reminds me to see Jesus in all of Scripture.
 

MarieP

Puritan Board Senior
My pastor uses the illustration of the game tether-ball. The ball may be closer to the post at some times more than others, but it's never far away from it. And the goal is to wrap the cord around the post as tightly as you can (but you do have to hit the ball!)
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
My pastor uses the illustration of the game tether-ball. The ball may be closer to the post at some times more than others, but it's never far away from it. And the goal is to wrap the cord around the post as tightly as you can (but you do have to hit the ball!)

That is a superb illustration! I may have to use it sometime.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
If the Word is being preached, it is hard to imagine it NOT including the Gospel. You would have to go out of your way to remove it.
 

whirlingmerc

Puritan Board Sophomore
The same comments might apply to Sunday School lessons. They should be truth drenched, God glorifying and '...the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy..." if that's not somehow in there, it's a problem

Revelation 19:10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (NASB)
 

nick

Puritan Board Freshman
1. Some use a phrase like "gospel presentation" to mean there must be an altar call with every sermon.

2. Others, though, especially recently, mean to say that the preacher should include a mention of how the larger context of the text leads to Jesus and his saving work, or that exhortations should be grounded in an encouragement first of all to more deeply appreciate and believe the good news.

In a lot of churches I've been at, there was a "gospel twist" at the end of the sermon which I think would fall into point 1. I've also heard people try to pull the "gospel" from every verse to where it feels forced. Most of this seems to be fueled by who the primary audience is during a worship service. The audience is God, and his visible church is worshipping him. In a lot of churches today the audience is the unbeliever and the desire to "convert" them.

I do think preachers can tie a sermon together at the end with a gospel presentation and it not be an "altar call" style twist. I'm pretty sure I've heard this done where it was not in a manipulative way to get a certain reaction.

I love this verse though: If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15). Jesus is crystal clear about how we show that we love him. People have a tendency to turn this into works-based, or when they hear it preached, it sounds like legalism. When I hear the word preached, I have a desire to know more of his commandments and more of my shortcomings. That's not legalism, that's love.

We recite Exodus 20:1-17 (the law of God) every Lord's day followed by a corporate confession of sin where we admit our shortcomings and cling to our only hope: The Lord Jesus Christ, so if the sermon is about an attribute of God, should I feel that I didn't hear the gospel? I don't think so. Cherry-picking a sermon or sermon series for examination, might not get you the result you want if you think the gospel needs to be in every sermon in a certain way. The whole worship service needs to be considered.

If the message is "I can do it without Christ", then no, that is not a good thing, but I think if you are at a church where the word is faithfully preached, the gospel will be all over the place (preaching, praying, singing, reading, sacraments) when appropriate.

I'm just a pew dweller, so take it for what it's worth.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
According to Jesus (Luke 24), Christ is the point of all of the Bible. If we preach without the Gospel then we are merely teaching biblical history in diachronic or chronological fashion.

My wife and I heard a sermon in a broad evangelical church last year. The preacher was doing a sermon in a series on the book of Proverbs. He started by telling us what we should do, finished by telling us what we should do, and generally should-ed all over us throughout the body of the sermon. The only mention of Christ came in one of his five applications at the end when he told us that we "should" be Christ-centered.

A sermon without Christ is just moralism.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top