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preaching the gospel

I grew up in a tradition that talked about “gospel preaching.”  In fact, we had “gospel meetings” instead of revivals, even though the intended outcome was the same.  Although I have slid to the other side of the keyboard, I still believe in gospel preaching.  In fact, it’s a shame we don’t talk more about it.

To be clear about terms, I define “gospel” as what God has accomplished for us through the atonement of Jesus.  The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus stand at the heart of the gospel message — that God redeems the sinner who comes to him in faith and penitence.  This redemption opens the door to new life, new hope, and new purpose.

In 1992 I read a book that deepened my understanding of the gospel, especially as it relates to preaching.  It was called “The Core Gospel” and it was written by Bill Love.  In it he defined the gospel and then examined the history of preaching within my particular tradition.  He then compared the number of references to the gospel in our preaching to the number of times New Testament writers referenced the gospel.  Remarkably, there were entire sermons preached on the topic of how to be saved without a single reference to the cross of Christ.

But gospel preaching is more than simply detailing how to be saved; it’s also about how does a Christ-follower live in a way that reflects the gospel?

Gospel preaching shines the light of the cross onto the day-to-day realities of life.  Redemption brings transformation … of perspective, values, and dreams.  Redemption changes the way we handle conflict or raise our children.

Gospel preaching says, “This is what God did for you and this is why it matters.  This is what God is still up to today.”

The more I think about it, the less concerned I am about being considered old-fashioned.  As far as I know, the gospel message never grows old.