“Gospel-Centered” is one of our buzz words of today. When it comes to preaching, what does it mean to be gospel-centered? Does it mean every sermon simply presents the gospel for salvation? Does it mean using every sermon from every text to preach the gospel only? Could it include self-help and felt-need sermons that tact the gospel on at the end? Gospel-centered preaching ultimately is communicating the gospel as the core of every sermon for both the non-believer and believer. It sees the gospel itself as motivation for salvation, Christlike living, repentance of sin, faith, spiritual growth, and understanding of biblical truth. There has been much written on a proper understanding of gospel-centered preaching. Many have said that keeping every sermon centered on the gospel becomes to repetitive for people today. Here are five reasons why I preach the gospel every single week.
1. Preaching the gospel every week ensures you nailed the point of the passage.
Walking in stealth-mode with two of His disciples, Jesus makes a shocking statement. He told them that they were slow and foolish to not see His death and resurrection as the center of every Scripture written (Luke 24:24-27). From two thousand years ago, Jesus is calling-out every gospel-less self-help, felt-need, systematic theological, and expositional sermon and lesson for all time. He says that every single passage in the Old Testament is all about His person and His work. Its easy to see gospel centrality in the New Testament, but Jesus says the Old Testament is centered on Him even though it never specifically mentions His name! When we preach the gospel weekly, we are using Jesus’ own hermeneutic to get across the main point of every passage. This doesn’t mean preaching the gospel only every week, but it means centering, grounding, and connecting everything you teach with the gospel.
2. Preaching the gospel every week sanctifies your people.
Contrary to popular belief, Christians are not sanctified through mere truth, but biblical truth that is grounded in the gospel. The Apostle Paul reminded the church at Corinth that its the gospel that is preached, believed, in which we stand, and by which we are continually being saved (1 Corinthians 15:1-2). Check it out because Paul isn’t kidding around. He’s clear that the gospel is the truth in which we remain, and the truth by which we are continually being saved by God. Every legit Christian will persevere in the gospel by living the gospel through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus by following His Lordship. So, when we preach the gospel weekly, it helps our people understand its not mere knowledge, rituals, or faithful attendance that makes them more like Jesus. The point isn’t just to become a better person. Rather, it is focusing in on the gospel for a continual basis to become more holy in the likeness of Jesus. Teach your people how to daily grow spiritually by constantly reminding them of the gospel.
3. Preaching the gospel every week trains your people to witness.
I have had pastor friends who want to combine church resources in order to train their people in evangelism on a weekly basis. I believe if you ground everything you preach and teach in the gospel, then your people will repeatedly hear it. That means we don’t simply communicate the elements of the gospel, but we also compel people to be saved through the gospel. As your people hear your pleas to the lost, they will be trained in how to compellingly communicate the gospel to their lost friends. Remember, repetition is the key to memory. (2 Corinthians 5:11)
4. Preaching the gospel every week motivates your people to bring unbelievers.
A basic preaching principle is: Who you speak to is who will come listen. If you are merely a theological communicator, you will attract all the egg-heads who love to get souped up on biblical knowledge. If you merely communicate practical truths, then you will attract those who simply want a better life for themselves. But if you center everything you preach on the gospel, your people will feel motivated to bring their lost friends for an opportunity to be saved. They will be confident that on a weekly basis they can bring their lost friends, family members, co-workers, and acquaintances because you preach the gospel weekly without fail. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
5. Preaching the gospel every week glorifies God.
I’m personally convinced that we need to return to the old, standard Sunday School answer of “Jesus”. It sure seems like the new Sunday School answer that most questions lead into is “The glory of God.” We need to go retro and get back to the way it used to be by asking questions that lead to Jesus. Here’s the deal, the glory of God has a definition. Philippians 2 says that people submitting to Jesus’ Lordship is the glory of God (2:9-11). Ephesians 3 clearly explains that God will be glorified in all churches throughout the future by focussing on Jesus (3:21). So, if our passionate motive is to glorify God with our ministries, then we must be preaching, teaching, and constantly communicating the person and work of Jesus which is the gospel.
Every single week I get pumped up to preach every passage, every doctrine, every theme, and every biblical story centered around the gospel. The crazy part is, God actually seems to enjoy blessing it. Our ministry has seen incredible growth, our people have brought many lost friends, many of the faithful attenders are growing in their faith, and we get to hear many stories about how they are sharing their faith in their daily lives. I wouldn’t trade preaching the gospel every week for anything. I never want to be guilty of preaching gospel-less again.