I have realised afresh just how important it is that we actually PREACH the gospel. The full gospel is the power of God to salvation, healing, holiness or whatever part of the message we preach to people. When we PREACH it, then Jesus will do His part and reveal Himself as the one who does according to what we have been truly preaching concerning Him.
The devil knows this, so he has worked a plan to disempower Christians everywhere. I can tell you now, I have to face this mindset myself and overcome it.
I am now living with my family in Australia, a western nation, probably one of the most universally prosperous and easy going nations on earth. There are few people actually PREACHING the gospel here. By preaching, I mean boldly, unapologetically declaring the facts concerning the identity of Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection, with expectation that God Himself will prove it to be so. What we do have is people inviting others to church meetings, to Alpha Courses, to special outreach events and so on. That is, if they aren’t too discouraged at the failure they experienced already in this regard. Most of the time, lets face it, people just don’t want to come to such things, so they either politely decline the invitation, or they say they’ll come and don’t follow through. In Australia you almost consider you’ve done a great job once you get people to THAT latter stage of promising to come but not doing it. There’s a fair chance then that you might actually get them to church one day. And things go well, they might ACTUALLY be PREACHING THE GOSPEL that day in church, and something might happen for your friend or acquaintance. But most of the time, what is preached in church is for the church to gain some additional wisdom, improve their lifestyle or their sanctification, and then a call may be made at the end for those wishing to “give their lives to Christ” to engage in prayer and a counselling session.
So even if you get your friend to church they might not hear the gospel preached with conviction. They are actually more likely to hear tithing preached with conviction, but that is not one and the same with Preaching the Gospel. Tithing is not a central message of the New Testament, but it IS a central message for financing the local church these days, and pragmatic leaders know it helps to get the job done, so there we go.
But your pastor might preach the gospel sometimes in church. That’s good. You probably don’t have an EVANGELIST in your ministry team because evangelists are all about the Body of Christ working for the Great Commission rather than just getting fed again and again, and people don’t want to pay for that. Evangelists in Australia are almost an extinct species. I don’t know how it is in other western nations exactly, but evangelists are usually at the bottom of the ecclesiastical food chain. And by the way, God will work through ANY believer who PREACHES the gospel when they are filled with the Holy Spirit. The problem is that both the culture of the world and the church is against believers actually PREACHING. It also seems to be against Christians ACTUALLY getting filled with the Holy Spirit. Christians are often quick to point out they don’t preach, as if it proves that they are really sensitive souls who would not upset anyone. Least of all the devil.
The result of all this is that we’ve almost restricted the PREACHING of the gospel to a tiny minority of pastors and many of them don’t actually expect anything supernatural to happen when they preach in church. The ones who do are considered to be almost “super apostles” if miracles happen in their churches. But this is only because the preaching of the gospel in faith has artificially been made a RARE commodity in our world. By the way helps explain why so few miracles are happening in the West today. There are other reasons – such as church disunity, lack of desperation and so on – but this is a major one.
Almost all the systems of the church are designed to get people to church and pay money into the system RATHER than to get people preaching the gospel. Pastors teach people to invite people to the church so they can preach to them and teach them to give, but most people out there in the world know this and they aren’t so excited about coming. We try to entice them with bigger and better programmes and higher quality music, but for most churches, its not working. The proof of this can be seen every time the person out the front of your church asks “How many people are visiting here for the first time?” I’ve been in good churches of many hundreds of members where only a handful of visitors are present, and who knows but half of them actually are interstate visiting Christians or people checking out the church because they are unsatisfied with their present congregation.
I’m calling for Christians to start first thinking about preaching the gospel. Thats a good first step. But we’ll need to move beyond the thinking and planning stage to the actual doing. That will be radical. Perhaps we’re afraid of what might actually would happen. We’d probably see some fireworks.