And he said unto them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” (Mark 16:15).
Have you noticed that there are literally thousands of preachers in this nation?
America makes up about 4% of the population of planet earth and has well over 90% of all Christian ministers. Preaching permeates the radio, television, and the Internet. There are churches buildings every mile or so in most cities, and in some cities there is one every other block. It seems like one out of ten cars have a little silver fish stuck somewhere. There are Christian magazines, t-shirts, bumper stickers, coffee cups, cartoons, comic books, fiction series, and every other marketable item imaginable. I was surfing the Internet the other night for Christian music and found thousands of free Mp3 downloads. I received this year’s telephone book a couple of weeks ago and there were hundreds of churches listed.
There is a church two miles from my condo that has over ten thousand members, and there are three more that size within a twenty-minute drive that I know of. Last year I attended a crusade that filled a 45,000-seat stadium three nights in a row and saw literally thousands answer the altar call. Over and over again I am told by Christian ministers of the vastness of their ministry’s media coverage, and over and over again I find a world that has yet to hear the gospel. What I do find is pastors who take on the role of “Dr. Feel-Good”, refusing to preach the gospel, leading churches that are focused on gaining membership instead of winning the lost, and a world that is in desperate need of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The question always comes to mind, “How can there be so much Christian media and ministry in America and so little impact upon Americans?”
I do not have the answers, but I can see a piece of the puzzle. American ministry has done so little to impact America because we do not preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yep, I said it. Let’s just let it hang out there for a second.
Oh, we do a lot of preaching, we have a lot of programs and outreach, and we spend a lot of time, talent and treasure doing it; but we do not see the Biblical results of preaching the gospel.
“And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following,” (Mark 16:20).
Did anyone ever stop and ask, “Why are there no miracles at my church?” Has anyone ever considered the possibility that there are no miracles because the Lord cannot confirm the word that we are preaching?
I have been a part of several different ministries over the years who fall into this category. All of them have excellent vision. All of them have a dynamic leader. All of them have wonderful people as members. All of them preach from the Bible. All of them claim to be Spirit-filled. All of them are within the same city, and no one outside of their respective memberships even knows they exist.
If your church closed tomorrow and never held another service would your city even know you were gone?
The Spirit of the Lord anoints the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19).
The first message of Jesus Christ is “Repent, for the kingdom heaven is at hand,” (Matthew 4:17). Any gospel proclamation that does not preach the cross of Christ and its demand for separation from sin is ultimately doomed to failure. All such efforts will be void of the presence of Christ and the Holy Spirit. The greatest love that was ever displayed was Jesus, dying on the cross for the sins of a world that had nailed Him to the tree. The greatest love a believer in Jesus Christ can show a lost and dying world is to tell them the truth of the gospel.
Pastors are often told that they should be more loving if they preach on subjects like, sin, holiness, righteousness, and eternal judgment. A pastor who fails to preach such “unpopular” subjects has no love for the people he preaches to. Unconditional love is not based upon the acceptance or rejection of the one who is loved but upon the one who does the loving. The Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t love you because you believe the gospel; the Lord Jesus Christ loved you while you were separated from God by sin. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).
The preaching of the Gospel has nothing to do with what people want to hear. The preaching of the Gospel is based upon what God wants people to hear. The love of Christ is conveyed by confronting the lives of lost men and women with the eternal truth, “ye must be born again.” The love of God does not massage the consciences’ of the lost with positive messages of morality and brotherly love without revealing the harsh reality of the eternal destiny of a person who has not been born from above. The love of God pushes past the socially acceptable teaching of a lukewarm church and declares the everlasting truth of the gospel, “he that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1 John 5:12).
What is the Gospel? The Gospel is the divine interruption of human existence for the purpose of causing an eternal change in human destiny. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost,” (Luke 19:10).
Preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with all of your heart. Speak the divine truths of repentance and forgiveness of sin. Tell the story of the cross and the resurrection. Lay hands on the sick, cast out devils, and show the world that God is not locked away in the pavilions of heaven but that He has come to live on the inside of you. How will you know that the gospel has been preached? The lives of men and women will have been eternally changed by the power of the Holy Ghost, bodies have been healed, marriages are repaired, the devil has been humiliated, and God has been exalted.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest missing element in the churches of the United States. Open your Bible and preach!