Preaching the Gospel – William S. Cline

William S. Cline

Men may speak of “the new day,” the “changing times,” and “the enlightened age”; but the world has not outgrown the need for simple gospel preaching! It is evident that Jesus and the apostles considered the gospel to be “the power of God unto salvation” to every generation (Rom. 1:16). It is still “God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:21). It is not the mere act of preaching that saves. If this were true, it would not matter so much what one preached. But this is not true, it is the thing preached that saves. Unless the gospel is preached faithfully, the preaching will not save. It may entertain, it may tickle the ears, but i will not save!

There is no acceptable substitute for plain gospel preaching. It is still the solemn, duty of all who stand in the pulpit as servants of the Lord to “preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:2). Paul, the greatest preacher since Christ, said, “For I determined not to know any thing among you,save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). He preached, “Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness” (1 Cor. 1:23). Christ commissioned His disciples to preach the gospel to every creature in all the world (Mark 16:18-16). The command to “preach the gospel” is as plain as God’s command to Noah to build an ark out of gopher wood. When God said “gopher wood” (Gen. 6:14) He only authorized gopher wood, and any other wood would have been wrong because there was no divine authority to use such. When Nadab and Abihu substituted “strange fire” in their service to God they were destroyed (Lev. 10) because they went beyond that which God had authorized. David’s “new cart” of 2 Samuel 6:1-11 was wrong for the same reason. He used that which God had not authorized! Thus, when preachers substitute something in their preaching for the gospel of Christ their preaching is no more acceptable to God than Nadab’s and Abihu’s “strange fire” or David’s “new cart.” When mere propaganda is substituted for gospel preaching and excitement is made to take the place of genuine conviction, it is no wonder that the “oxen stumble” and the cause of Zion suffers.

New Testament evangelism and not modern denominationalism furnishes us the true pattern for modern preaching. Our preaching cannot pillow its head on the lap of sectarianism without being shorn of its power. It is high time that our preachers go to Jesus, Peter, Paul, James and Jude to learn how to preach. Far too many (as if one is not too many) have wandered in the camp of the sectarians and mounted our pulpits spouting the “language of Ashdod.”

We often hear preachers applaud large numbers, and we would be the first to rejoice over every conversion to the Lord. But we need to learn that there is a vast difference between impressive numbers and genuine conversions. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul” (Psa. 19:7). If men are not converted by the Word of God, their so called conversion is a farce. And it is a fact that there are many who are counted as members of the church who have never been converted to Christ. We have those, both in the pulpit and the pew, who will openly admit that they believe the church to be a denomination—one that just happens to be one of the best denominations around. God forbid! One faithful gospel preacher having completed a sermon on “Conversion” was told by an elder that he would catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. (He considered Scripture quoting, proof text, one must do this, one must be a member of the Lord’s church, etc., as “vinegar preaching”). Brethren, since when did the church get into the “fly catching” business?

We are persuaded that the Lord’s church is in the “Soul Saving” business; and if souls are going to be saved, the gospel is going to have to be preached in its simplicity, its power, and its completeness. Knowing the fear of the Lord, it is proper to persuade men. Knowing how to properly apply “honey” in order to “catch flies” doesn’t qualify anyone to stand in the pulpit anywhere at anytime! Souls, not feelings and impressive numbers are at stake! We must always seek to move men by gospel preaching rather than by smooth words, fair speech and crass sensationalism. The tactics and the message of many of our preachers have no place in the pulpit. There is, there can be, no acceptable substitute for faithful gospel preaching. The whole gospel must be preached. Preachers, preach the Word!

   Send article as PDF   

Author: Editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *