“I prophecy that you shall never lack again”, “I decree and declare financial breakthrough over your life”, and “you have the power to speak it into existence through faith” are examples of phrases that you might often hear in many churches. Many people with thunderous applauses and shouts of amen validate such “preaching”. Such preaching encourages its members because they know the pain of struggling to pay rent, pay school fees, and keep up with the basics. However, such messages are destructive to the individual’s spiritual life and encourage them to love the things of this world instead of the God who saved them (Matthew 6:24). What kind of preaching is best in a local church? The answer is gospel preaching as opposed to motivational talks.
What Is a Church to Preach?
Consider what a church is supposed to do according to scripture. A church is to regularly gather (Hebrews 10:24-25) to hear the word preached (Acts 2:42), to sing (Colossians 3:16), to pray (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), to give towards the Lord’s work (Acts 2:44-45, 4:32-37), to evangelize (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8) and to practice the sacraments of baptism (Acts 2:41, 8:12 and the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:17-34). In addition, covenanted members dwell together while lovingly caring for one another (1 Corinthians 12:12-26), even through hard practices such as church discipline (Matthew 18:15-17).
One thing I want us to focus on is the church’s job of preaching the word (Acts 2:42). In the great commission, the church is called to help believers grow in their newfound faith (Matthew 28:20). Consider that Jesus says, “teach them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). What did Jesus command and teach? The answer is the gospel (Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:14-15). He continued preaching the gospel everywhere he went, and before he ascended into heaven, he told his disciples to continue preaching and teaching the gospel (Mark 16:15-16, Matthew 28:18-21). Therefore, we Christians and churches alike are to preach the gospel constantly.
The Gospel is Not Just for Unbelievers
We get confused about the gospel because we think it is only for unbelievers. Then, after you become a believer, the gospel is no longer essential for you to hear again because you believed it. A wise pastor will know that the gospel message is not only the foundation of the Christian life but also the entire house (Galatians 6:14). The gospel is something that Christians should hear all of the time to help them endure in their faith (1 Peter 1:3-6, 4:1-2, 1 Timothy 6:12). That’s why we need to attend gospel-preaching churches, not just churches that tell us we’re blessed and can have breakthroughs.
Consider that in 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 Paul says, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.” Notice that Paul is writing to Christians. He wants to “remind” them of the gospel he preached to them (1 Corinthians 15:1). It is also the gospel in which they “stand” in their faith and by which they are “being saved” (1 Corinthians 15:1). It is the gospel to which they are to “hold fast” (1 Corinthians 15:2). This is the entire Christian life right here. The gospel is what we receive, stand on, and are being saved by; it helps us hold onto Jesus until we die. So the gospel is not just for unbelievers but believers too.
Benefits of the Gospel
Consider all that the gospel does in our lives:
- Brings Hope and Praise (Romans 5:1-5, Jude 24-25)– The gospel brings hope and praise when we consider all that Jesus has done for us. Gospel preaching brings worship and lots of hope that no matter what happens, we have Jesus and will be with him in heaven forever (Romans 8:37-39).
- Reminds of Our Identity in Christ (Colossians 3:1-4, 1 Peter 2:9-10)– Knowing your identity through what the gospel promises will help you clear away false voices in your head that tell you you’re worthless and that there is no plan for your life. You’re reminded that you’re made to give God the glory that pleases him. You’re not worthless to God because he’s redeemed you, called you out of darkness, and made you a worshipper, which brings him joy.
- Sustains Us (1 Peter 5:10-11, 1 Timothy 6:12)- Remembering what Jesus has done for you through gospel preaching helps sustain you to fight the good fight of faith. Remembering the grace of God through Jesus will help you remain firm in your faith no matter what schemes the evil one throws at you (1 Peter 5:8-11, Galatians 6:10-17).
- Keeps Us from Sin (Romans 6:1-4, 2 Peter 1:3-4)- The preaching of the gospel reminds us of the great promises we have through it to strengthen us against the temptations of sin.
- Motivates Good Works (Titus 2:11-14, Ephesians 2:8-10)- The gospel reminds us that God saved us to be changed into a people that will do good works. Through the continuous preaching of the gospel, we are reminded of who we are in Christ, which leads to amazing works for God’s glory.
- Protects From Despair (Romans 8:31-39)- No sin we commit makes God love us less. The gospel frees us from despair. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, which was shown to us through the gospel of the cross. We need to hear this constantly.
- Inspires Righteous and Holy Living (Ephesians 4:20-24, 2 Corinthians 5:17)- Continuous preaching of the gospel reminds us of who we were and are currently. It helps us know how to walk in righteousness and holiness, allowing us to experience God’s presence and blessing (Isaiah 59:1-2).
- Beats Down Pride (Titus 3:1-7, Ephesians 4:32-5:2)- A sober reflection on our sin and what God has done for us in the gospel destroys our pride and cultivates a spirit of humility before the Lord and others. As a result, relationships are maintained and even restored whenever we consider the gospel’s truth in our lives.
- Helps us Focus on Joy (1 Peter 3:18)– The goal of the gospel is that we get God. We will be with him in heaven for all of eternity, and being in his presence is the fullness of joy forever more (Psalm 16:11). Hearing the gospel regularly preached will help you remember this joy and can bring joy into your life no matter what is happening.
Go to a Gospel Preaching Church
There are more things that I could write about the benefits of hearing, knowing, and applying the gospel to our lives, but I will stop here. Hearing the gospel preached to you will benefit you in ways that will cause your mind’s attention and heart’s affection to be focused on the Lord Jesus. Hearing messages such as “I decree you will never be poor again” or “there is a breakthrough coming your way” will only cause you to love things of this world as opposed to Jesus (1 John 2:15-16). Attending a church that preaches the gospel regularly leads to amazing spiritual, emotional, and joyful benefits. Are you in a gospel-preaching church?
If you’re confused about what a gospel message should be like, read our blog, “What is the gospel?” That will help you discern more clearly what a gospel-preaching church should teach you.