After decades of being ignored and/or distorted, the gospel seems to be making a come-back in the Western Church, and that is a good trend. Pulpits that used to feature anemic man-centered self-help sermons are again aflame with powerful Christ-honoring gospel-centered preaching. This new generation of church planters, pastors and preachers are not ashamed of the gospel. Like Paul, they preach it over and over and over. They never get tired of it. Neither did Paul. He mentioned the word “gospel” six times in the first chapter of Romans, revealing seven truths about the gospel we are supposed to preach:
1. Paul was set apart for the gospel. (Rom 1:1) Paul was not primarily called to social justice, political reform or Christian education. While those are important, the gospel is central and essential. All the good that has been accomplished through our church in terms of social justice and helping the poor has been rooted in and empowered by the preaching of the gospel.
2. The gospel was promised beforehand by the prophets. (Rom 1:2) Paul did not create the gospel. His message was not new. He faithfully preached what the prophets of old had promised – a seamless continuity of God’s message.
3. Paul served God by preaching the gospel. (Rom 1:9) In some circles it is popular to question the validity of preaching the gospel unless it is rooted in relationship and preceded by improving social conditions. To Paul, preaching the gospel was serving God.
4. Paul was eager to preach the gospel. (Rom 1:15) Eager, enthusiastic, motivated, dedicated, committed. To the wise and the foolish, to the Greeks and non-Greeks, to those in Judea and in Rome. The gospel was central to Paul’s calling and to his lifestyle. It was also the central cause of his persecution, but let’s not dwell on that for now.
5. Paul was not ashamed of the gospel. (Rom 1:16) Paul was ashamed of sin, but not the gospel. Today many Christians seem ashamed of the gospel, but comfortable with sin.
6. The gospel is the power of God for salvation. (Rom 1:16) Salvation requires the power of God, not the effort of man. Self-righteous good deeds are powerless. Life-changing power is only found in the gospel.
7. The gospel is about the righteousness of God. (Rom 1:17) God’s righteousness is not earned or deserved. It is revealed, in the gospel.
Note to pastors and all believers who are making disciples in small groups: Be like Paul and PREACH THE GOSPEL, OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER.