Question:

Recently one of our members complained to me that one of the men I have been teaching and giving tips on how to present a sermon, often mentions in the Bible classes he teaches and sermons that he preaches, the ungodliness and immorality that a lot of our political leaders are guilty of as well as many people of the world and even many of our brethren. 

She seems to think that instead, he needs to "just preach the gospel".

In his defense, I explained to her that in order for him to be effective and God pleasing he first and foremost must preach like Paul instructed Timothy.  That is, the truth in love, that is simple, reveals the awfulness of sin with a love for God and the souls of man.  That when he uses current issues of our present day he has not created them but that they are facts given to him.  When he preaches lessons using these illustrations  we can make application of his lessons.  To preach without application is useless. 

Perhaps I need to ask what her definition of "just preaching the Gospel" consists of.

If you have some suggestions I'm all ears.


Answer:

It was Paul who said to the Ephesian elders, "For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). In among the things he taught was, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light" (Ephesians 5:11-13). Hence, preaching the gospel is teaching about sin, ungodliness and immorality.

An aspect of the gospel is repentance from sins, yet how do people turn from sin if they don't understand they are in sin or what is even sinful? We have a culture that no longer recognizes that fornication is sinful, it actively trying to deny that homosexuality is a sin, lying is overlooked because everyone does it. I just heard of yet another congregation that fired its preacher because among other things he taught that the casual use of alcohol was sinful. The shameful point is that the gospel isn't being taught by those who advocate "just preach the Gospel."

Notice the topics Paul taught: "Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, "Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you"" (Acts 24:25). Paul taught the gospel and it left his audience afraid.

Sometimes I wonder how many congregations would hire John the Baptist. "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire"" (Matthew 3:7-10). There is a place for lessons that leave you squirming.

Take a look at "Preaching Like Paul" for more ideas.