"But I do not account my life of any value
nor as precious to myself,
if only I may finish my course and the ministry
that I received from the Lord Jesus,
to testify to the gospel of the grace of God."
Do we have a passion for lost souls? Do we go "where Christ is not yet named" to proclaim the life giving truth of sola fide to people who need the Savior? Do we identify with the profound self-condemning burden of the Apostle Paul for others to know the Lord when he says, "For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh... to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises" -Romans 9:3-4. Or has apathy about the things for eternity numbed our hearts to the cries of those dying without Jesus Christ? Though God has chosen His elect in Christ before the foundations of the world (Eph. 1:3-5), He still commands us to go into all the world and preach the gospel; to call all men everywhere to repentance; and to be ambassadors for Christ (cp, Rom. 1:16, Acts 17, Phil. 1:29). "Hell is burning while the church sleeps" beloved. When will we wake up from the slumber of our souls, loosen our tongues and proclaim the cross of Christ without apology, without hesitation, and without fear?
In most gospel calls today, there is little talk about sin; repentance; justification by faith; the Law; Lordship; propitiation; loving Him more than all other loves; denying yourself, taking up your cross and following Him, etc. One might legitimately wonder in the absence of those things, what do people actually respond to when we see public calls to follow the Lord Jesus Christ? No where in the gospels did the Lord ever invite someone to simply accept Him and pray a sinners prayer. The gospel is not just an offer of salvation; the gospel is a call to follow the Lord; a command to repent of our sin; and a compelling to be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:14-21). Amen?
Correct Theology Should Not Make us Silent
As one who believes passionately in the doctrines of grace; the five solas; historic reformed biblical Christianity; and God's sovereign election of His own from all eternity in Christ; I deeply fear that "correct sound theology" has made some of us silent, proud, lax rather than bold, dispassionate, and to abandon the proclamation of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in the marketplace. Where are the Whitefields, the Edwards, the Baxters, the Watsons today; in short, where are the sovereign-grace evangelists of our day willing to do "all things for the sake of the elect?" (2 Tim. 2:10).
We need to come out from under the safety of our comfort zone and step away from the ease of our carefully, crafted, cultivated world, and go "where Christ is not yet named" (Roms. 15:20). Whether across the street or around the world; we all need to be faithful witnesses for Christ Jesus our Lord (Acts 1:8).
It is good news we have to proclaim beloved (Rom. 1:16): how can a sinful man or woman have peace with a holy God for eternity? (Rom. 5:1-2). We must come to the cross where the perfect "righteousness of God was put on display as a propitiation for our sins." Let's live it, defend it, proclaim it, and share it; and "not loving our lives as unto death." (Acts 20:24).
I hope these two biblical and practical lists below of "The Gospel Proclaimed: and "The Gospel Obeyed" will encourage you and strengthen you to go into all world and preach the gospel. Evangelism is not just for a few professionals in the body of Christ--we are all to be witnesses of His transforming grace right where the Lord has placed each of us in the world.
THE GOSPEL PROCLAIMED:
Any clear presentation of the gospel of grace would include the following in some measure:
1. The Law - Romans 3-4; Galatians 3-4
2. Man's Inability to Save himself - Total Depravity - Romans 3:10-18; Ephesians 2:1-3
3. Justification by Faith Alone (the heart and soul of the gospel) - Romans 3-5; Galatians 3-4
4. Unmerited, Undeserved Grace - Ephesians 1-2
5. The Incarnation and Sinless Life of the Lord Jesus Christ - John 1:1-14; Hebrews 2:9, 14-17
6. The once for all Vicarious Penal Substitutionary Death of Christ on the Cross - Hebrews 2:9, 17-18; 9:14
7. Atonement, Expiation, and Propitiation in Christ - Romans 3:24-26; 1 John 2:2; Hebrews 2:17
8. The Triumphant Bodily Resurrection of Jesus from the Dead - Philippians 2:5-12
9. Jesus Christ proclaimed as Lord - Romans 10:9-10; Phil. 2:11
10. The Call of the ungodly to Repentance from Sin - Luke 24:46-49; Acts 2:36-42; 17:24-31; Romans 1-2
11. The Prayer for God to grant Saving Faith to the Unregenerate - Ephesians 2:8-9;
12. The Call to Follow Christ as Lord - Matthew 7:21-23; 16:24-28; Luke 14:24:25-35; Romans 10; 2 Cor. 5:14-21
THE GOSPEL OBEYED:
What must one do to be saved? Man cannot do anything to be saved--he is hopelessly dead in trespass and sin. Man is completely impotent to save himself--there is no hope for him apart from Christ (Eph. 2:1-3; Roms. 3:10-18). Salvation is all of grace; all of faith; all of Christ; all of the kindness of God; all of the sanctifying and regenerative work of the Holy Spirit; and all based upon the Word of God--the gospel (Titus 3:4-7; Eph. 1:3-14). However, in saying that, the visible fruit of repentance by the internal work of grace will bear the following:
1. Conviction, contrition and confession of sinNothing is more important than the preservation and proclamation of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We live in a very pragmatic time where what works has taken precedence over what is true, holy, reverent and what pleases God. May we never water-down the life giving truth of the gospel of grace for the sake of numbers, comfort of the sinner over conviction of sin, or to pave a more smoother path for ourselves, rather than preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2; Gal. 6:14).
2. Forsaking of all idols, loves, and all others--even self to follow Christ
3. Forsaking of all other means of salvation except through Christ alone - Jesus Christ plus or minus nothing
4. Forsaking of all religious practices, ceremonies, sacraments, and/or works righteousness
5. Repentance from sin
6. To deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him
7. Confession of Christ as Lord and belief in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead
8. To trust solely in the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved: that He is Lord-Sovereign over all; the only Savior; and the complete, once for all sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin
9. In short: Turn to God; Trust in Christ; Take the Gift of the Holy Spirit
And as we go into all the world, may we not charge people to hear the gospel message. Let us not demand a single penny for proclaiming its truth. It is His gospel; and we have no right to make money a prerequisite for ministry when that ministry is about the heralding of the Good News. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could go to any Christian concert, conference, evangelistic or worship gathering for whatever you could afford to give and never have to pay a ticket price again? Could you imagine the Apostle Paul charging tickets for people to hear him preach? Could you imagine the Lord demanding a fee before He gave the Sermon on the Mount? Could you imagine Peter asking for royalties to be paid before circulating one of his epistles?
"Freely we have received; freely we must give." Years ago, the Lord convicted me of this very thing and is why I stopped charging for my concerts, seminars, CD's... anything to do with the ministry. God broke my heart and I needed it to be crushed. I needed to repent of making money a precondition in providing ministry. Think about this beloved, I used to charge people to come to a church to worship the Lord. I used to charge people to have them hear about the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. O wretched man am I. I am so grateful that the Lord, in any small measure, by His sanctifying grace alone, allows me to continue in ministry--for I certainly don't deserve to.
I thank the Lord for the faithful men and women that shared the whole gospel and not a watered-down substitute when I was young. How thankful I am the Lord in His sovereignty saved this wretched man from his sin and brought me into eternal life by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, on the Word alone, to the glory of God alone. In the words of A.W. Tozer, "The cross is a radical thing."
His Unworthy Servant in His Unfailing Love,
His Unworthy Servant in His Unfailing Love,