Monday, 5 October 2009

First Things First

I hope those who have glanced at the previous 'First Things' blogs will have got the point. In my first, I asked what counsel a retiring leader would give to younger leaders. I hope that the answer would be 'Protect and Proclaim the Gospel' or words to that effect.

The two follow up blogs were an attempt to reinforce this. Paul's final message to Timothy in 2 Timothy was to protect and proclaim the gospel. Jesus' instruction to his followers before ascending to heaven was to go into all the world and 'preach the gospel'.

In other words that which is of first importance is 'the gospel'. I say this because it is so easy for leaders to lose sight of this. At a local church level elders, swamped by all kinds of bureaucratic concerns, can easily lose sight of priorities. The temptation is to see the great need of the church in terms of a hundred and one other things, other, that is, than the gospel.

Leaders at an itinerant level eager so often for recognition and to leave their mark invent all kinds of success packages that we are confidently told is what this generation needs to hear and do. Jesus had but one. Paul had but one. True leaders will have allegiance to but one: preaching (to christians and non-christians) the gospel. The gospel and the gospel alone is 'the power of God unto salvation'.


Reformation said...

Concur. Don't sell it, dilute it, try to be seeker-sensitive. Rather, be faithful to it, irrespective of the results (e.g. Isaiah's time, "Who hath believed our report, Elijah's time, etc.) Preach Law and Gospel.

Donald Ferguson said...

Right on Bro [Sorry – I was a teenager in the 70’s]

What the Church needs more than anything is to focus on the preaching of God’s Word. This is more important than anything else.

2 Timothy 4
1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

We encounter God, grow as Christians and see people saved through the preaching of the word. I have never forgotten a sermon preached by Dick Lucas on Acts with the title ‘The speaking Spirit’. He systematically went through the book drawing out the centrality of Spirit inspired preaching. If we want revival and spiritual growth, Spirit filled proclamation of the gospel/the Word is the key.

Nick Mackison said...

It's hard to pass something on if you're not sure as to what it is you're actually depositing. A problem with evangelicalism is a general failure in reaching a consensus regarding a hard definition of the gospel. To some, it's become some kind of nebulous message about loving one's neighbour, to another, it's about unconditional love. IMO and at the risk of broad generalisation, UK evangelicals lack the theological precision, as exemplified by Paul in Galatians 3, that is necessary to actually safe-guard the gospel.

We're so suspicious of confessions that we have scores of congregants unsure of the gospel and justification because preachers are preaching vague messages about it.

Donald Ferguson said...

Preaching the word does safeguard the gospel. When preaching takes its authority and content from the word the gospel is preached. When scripture shapes the sermon the gospel is guarded. A sound theology of preaching is the best safeguard the gospel can have.

Nick Mackison said...

Amen Donald.