One only has to read book reviews on the 9-Marks website to see that there is an epidemic among popular ‘evangelical’ books that say some true things about Christianity but fail to articulate the gospel clearly. They say a great deal about Jesus but fail to say that his penal substitutionary atonement is the only hope for sinners under God’s just and holy wrath.
Take just three quotes from the reviews in the latest 9Marks e-journal:
Most pointedly, I do not believe Simply Christian tenderly and clearly warns individual sinners of their peril or calls upon them to flee to Christ and to his cross as the only remedy for personal guilt and sin before a holy God. (Andy Davis on NT Wright)
But you still haven’t told the non-believer what exactly he’s beholding on the cross. He is, in fact, beholding the Son of God taking upon himself the wrath of God for the sins of all who repent and believe. That picture is amazing. But it’s more. It’s actually doing something, like paying for sin. (Jonathan Leeman on Erwin McManus)
The fact is, McLaren does not sufficiently call human beings to grapple with and exult in what God did for us in Christ. Put another way, he does not place concern for the here-and-now in the context of the eternal. That is a grievous error, for it is only when we have a deep understanding of our eternal relationship with God, won by Jesus Christ, that concern for the present world is placed in its proper perspective. The Bible could not be clearer about this. Good works apart from Christ’s saving work are nothing. But good works springing from a heart that has been changed by God’s regenerating power are the sweetest of fruit. (Greg Gilbert on Brian McLaren)
My question is this: could the same be said about any of the sermons that we preach from the pulpit? I fear that I have preached several sermons which were Christian in what they said, but failed to get to the heart of Christianity in failing to articulate the gospel.
Preachers, remember that you have not adequately taught any Christian truth until you have shown how that truth relates to the center of Christian truth the gospel. Thus we cannot claim to have preached a Christian sermon if it does not call sinners to depend entirely upon the penal substitutionary atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Will the gospel be clear in your next sermon?This post appeared first on the Church Matters blog at 9marks