An 8-part journey designed to move the church to PREACH the TRUTH with CLARITY, CONVICTION, and COMPASSION.
Early on in my Christian walk I became passionate about sharing the Gospel. About a year or so into my faith I started to hit the streets on a weekly basis to intentionally talk about Jesus with strangers. When you routinely share the Gospel, it’s easy to treat it just like that – a routine. I would prepare tirelessly: watching videos, reading books, learning new methods. In my preparation I memorized a few different presentations, I had common objections and rebuttals nailed down and I was ready! Before I knew it, I was regurgitating a canned, scripted Gospel performance that seemed to come out with no emotion or conviction. I effectively grew numb in my presentation of the Gospel that saved my soul and transformed my life.
That’s when I started preparing my heart, more than my mind. I would spend more time praying that God would break my heart with the truth of the Gospel. I prayed that God would allow me to preach it as if it were my first time. In my prayer closet is where the phrase that is the mission statement for this series came from. Here is why each word of that prayer is important to me:
- I knew that if I was going to preach, I wanted to preach the truth. Not my truth (as if there was such a thing), but God’s truth. Laying aside my presuppositions and learned theology, I wanted to accurately preach what God has revealed in scripture.
- However, in my study of God’s truth I noticed myself becoming more philosophical and my Gospel presentation would become more complex. The Gospel is simple, and I was often over-complicating it, adding unnecessary stumbling blocks for my hearers. So, I prayed that God would allow me to preach the truth with clarity so that those I would preach to could understand.
- Not only did I want to present the Gospel clearly, I wanted to preach with the same conviction that drove me to repentance the day I was saved. After sharing the gospel 100’s of times I often sounded apathetic. I prayed that God would amaze me afresh with the truth of the Gospel, and reignite the conviction in my presentation.
- However, conviction from a loveless heart comes off as arrogant, prideful, and calloused towards the individual. When faced with opposition, I became proud and arrogant and often wanted to win the battle of the argument at the expense of the war over their soul. That’s why I prayed for God to allow me to share His compassion for the people He would call me to.
So that’s been my prayer for the last several years. “Lord, help me to preach the truth with clarity, conviction and compassion.” Each discussion topic in this series revolves around each of the key words in the prayer. Here’s an overview.
PREACH pt. 1
The Gospel is a message to be proclaimed, not merely a standard to live by. The Great Commission is for everyone – not just pastors and ministry leaders. While not every Christian is called to teach in the church, all believers are called to preach to the world.
PREACH pt. 2
The painful reality is that only 1/3 of the world’s population professes faith in Christ, which means that approximately 100,000 people enter Hell every day! There are at least three reasons Christians don’t share the Gospel: 1) They Don’t Care To, 2) They Don’t Know How To, 3) They Are Afraid To. We’ll explore each in this discussion.
TRUTH pt. 1
“What is truth?” This was Pontius Pilate’s famous question when Jesus said that He came “to testify to the truth”. We are living in a world that is becoming increasingly more offended at the idea that there is a singular truth that belongs to God and is not left up to man to determine. In this discussion, we’ll look at what the bible says about truth, and what our responsibility as a church is, in light of the truth.
TRUTH pt. 2
The Gospel is the most important truth there is because it is “the power of God unto salvation”. The word “Gospel” simply means “Good News”, but the Good News is only rightly understood with a proper understanding of the Bad News. Far too often Christians are quick to talk about the Good News without setting the stage with a proper understanding of the Bad News, thus taking away from how amazing the Gospel truly is. In this discussion, we’ll look at the beauty of the Gospel in stark contrast to the dark backdrop of man’s fallenness.
TRUTH pt. 3
What happens when there are objections to the proclamation of the truth? How are we to respond? The bible is clear that we are to “always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you”, but how are we to do this? Giving a defense of the faith is known as apologetics. There are two popular approaches within Christianity as to how to “give a defense” of the truth claims of the bible – classical apologetics, and presuppositional apologetics. In this discussion, we will explore both.
It’s our responsibility to lead people to the cross, it’s God’s responsibility to put them on it. It is not our obligation to make anyone believe the gospel – that is a work of God that He alone does through the faithful preaching of the gospel. However, no matter what context you find yourself in, it’s important to preach the truth with clarity so that your hearers can comprehend the message you are relaying. Jesus came as a man speaking a language that people understood and preached sermons using illustrations people could relate to. We, too, should seek to proclaim the gospel in words and ways that our context can understand and relate to, without compromising the essentials. In this discussion we’ll explore the concept of contextualization.
We mustn’t present the gospel as a tired, scripted, canned message that we bottle up and regurgitate the same way every time we preach it. People believe those who are thoroughly convinced of what they’re proclaiming. Paul told the Corinthian church, “My speech and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a powerful demonstration by the Spirit, so that your faith might not be based on men’s wisdom but on God’s power.” This is a power that we cannot find in-and-of ourselves – it comes from God. This discussion will compel us to seek God for the power to proclaim His message “with a powerful demonstration by the Spirit”.
There’s a popular truism “people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”. The Bible says “lust us not love in word or speech, but in action and truth”. The message of the gospel is always preceded and followed by genuine love for the people we’re reaching out to. In this discussion, we’ll explore what the bible says about compassion, and how it directly correlates to our proclamation of the truth.
Thank you for taking this journey with me. I pray that through it, God would do amazing things.