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Gospel Preaching - A 2000 Year Legacy (part 1)

            While the concept of a "Gospel Preaching" may not be understood in the minds of many, it is as old as the Church itself. In fact, the Church that bears the name of the risen Savior began with preaching by Peter. (Acts 2:14) Preaching is underrated and undervalued. It is the means by which the Lord designed His Message of hope and salvation to be promoted. For this reason, we need gatherings for the preaching of the Gospel.

            Jesus ordained the method and the message of Acts 2. Whoever this message was for, whatever the method used, it was authorized by Christ! Jesus promised the disciples before his death, he would send the Holy Spirit to reveal/teach all things, (Jn.14:15-18,26 15:26) He instructed His disciples to “tarry in the city of  Jerusalem until endued with power from on high.” (Lk. 24:49.) The careful reader will observe that the Apostles spoke "as the Spirit gave them utterance," (Acts 2:4) which is the same Spirit promised by Jesus!

            Jesus Ordained The Method. The method used to reveal the mind of God regarding salvation, was preaching. Preaching has been defined by someone as, "a saved man standing before others telling them what Christ would tell them if he were there." Whether we believe it or not " pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe,"(1Cor.1:21).  Jesus said “preach the Gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) Those who minimize or diminish the opportunities to have the Gospel preached are really discarding a divinely authorized method of saving men and women. Should we be more concerned with the time element of a sermon rather than the content? Are we setting aside Jesus’ agenda of proclaiming "words whereby they and their entire house shall be saved"(Acts 11:14) for our own self-serving convenience?  Paul said, "woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel." (1Cor. 9:16) Why? Because this is the method our Lord prescribed to touch the hearts of sinners with the message that draws them to God for eternity!

            Jesus Ordained The Message. Understanding  the need for preaching, one might ask, “what is to be preached?”  Again, Jesus said, “preach the GOSPEL to every creature.” Paul marveled that the Galatians were "removed" from Christ by accepting a perverted gospel, which he declared, “is not another.” Dear friend, there is but one Gospel. Anything less or more is a perversion, thereby “removing” one from Christ. Neither Paul nor angels were to be given heed, but rather accursed if found preaching another Gospel. (see Gal.1:6-12) Paul stated the Gospel he preached did not originate from man "but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." (Gal. 1:12) Furthermore, his declaration of the Gospel in 1Cor. 15 states, "the Gospel which he preached ... which they received... wherein they which they were saved." (15:1-3) If what Paul preached saved the Corinthians, will it not save today? Brethren, we must demand that the preaching which occupies our minds at West End be none other than that same Jerusalem gospel ordained by Jesus, preached and revealed by the Apostles.  Anything which comes short of the Gospel which saves, (Rom. 1:16) condemns.

            The burden of preaching has always been repentance and remission of sins. The specific condemnation of sin has never been the most popular way "to win friends and influence people." Peter and the eleven could have beckoned the crowd in Acts 2 with a message attempting to "rationalize away" the fact they murdered God's Son, but they indicted them!  He said, "..let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." (Acts 2:36) The preacher who sidesteps the needed indictment of sin, is not worth taking time to listen to. Preaching styled after Peter, Paul, and Stephen speaks the truth in love by exposing soul-condemning sin, while offering freedom from its bondage.  Think about it.  Mark Pape   (more to follow next week)