20 – Let’s Preach the Gospel Less!

OK, as you suspect, my title is intended to be provocative. Perhaps a better title that speaks more to my point would be this—Let’s Preach More than the Gospel! Listen to the words of Scripture—

Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.  Hebrews 6:1

The author of Hebrews had just chided his readers for being immature in the faith, being unable to digest solid food, and having to rely on milk which was intended for consumption by children.

. . . you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.   Hebrews 5:11-14

Although my title may have been confusing, the author of Hebrews is clear. Believers are expected to move on from the initial gospel they first embraced and become partakers of what Paul termed “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). Churches where the gospel is the subject of every sermon and where success is defined in terms of how many people walk the aisle to be saved, soon become populated with the kind of people Hebrews warns us about becoming.

Today, it has become popular for churches to claim they are “Gospel-Centered.” In these places, you will often hear the slogan, “Preach the gospel to yourself every day.” Of course we should never forget God’s great grace extended to us in His Son. The Lord’s Table was instituted for just this purpose. But understanding the Gospel does not provide immediate sanctification.

Instead, believers who will attend Calvary under our new pastor should expect to be taught the full range of issues addressed in the Bible. How do believers handle depression, control anger, conquer worry, raise and discipline children, love their wives, speak to one another, deal with a difficult past, endure suffering, deal with those who sin against them, refute error, forgive others, make decisions, deal with guilt, handle money, and yes, witness to others? All these and countless other problems are addressed robustly in the Scriptures.

Our next pastor will certainly understand this. He will take us beyond the “elementary teaching about Christ” and not lay the foundation again and again week after week. Instead, having poured the foundation, he will build (edify) on that foundation by preaching the Word, showing us how it intersects with all aspects of our lives.

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