What It Means to Preach the Gospel

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?

–Romans 10:14

If you boil down the gospel to its essence, the result is this: “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). If you’re a Christian, then you can be assured that one day you will share in the splendor, radiance, and everlastingness of God.

What are we supposed to do with that assurance? Are we supposed to walk around with a smug expression, thinking, I know something you don’t know? No, this is not a truth to be bottled up or sat on; it is a truth to be shared with other people. That’s the reason God left us here on earth. Paul said in verse 28, “We proclaim Him.” In Greek, the word translated as “proclaim” means to preach or announce. We are to announce this message of hope—and that means using words.

Proclaiming the gospel with words is not popular in today’s culture, even in Christian circles. There’s a popular sentiment that is often falsely attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” The idea is that people are much more impressed by your lifestyle than your words; therefore, if you live a godly life, you can lead people to Christ without actually telling them about Jesus.

Now, we can all agree that our actions should be consistent with what we profess to be true. But it doesn’t matter how holy our lives are—good works are not enough to lead somebody to Christ. Nobody can observe our actions and know about Jesus Christ’s atoning work on the cross and His miraculous resurrection. It takes words to share the gospel with other people. As Paul said in Romans 10:17, “Faith comes from hearing.” We have to tell people about the hope that is in us and how they can have that hope as well.

And notice the subject of the message. Paul said, “We proclaim Him” (Colossians 1:28). Do we proclaim the church we attend? Do we proclaim love for our country? Do we proclaim abstinence from alcohol? Do we proclaim the sanctity of life? Is that our message? No. Paul said we proclaim Christ. Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t talk about other things. But the foundation of our message in all our conversations is the hope that is available to everyone who trusts in Christ. We proclaim Him. Jesus Christ is the subject of our message.

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Today’s devotion is adapted from “You Gotta Have Hope” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

 

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