Saturday, January 22, 2011

Preach the Gospel & if necessary use words is like saying give me your phone number & if necessary use digits.

"Preach the gospel; use words if necessary" goes hand in hand with a postmodern assumption that words are finally empty of meaning. It belittles the high value that the prophets, Jesus and Paul put on preaching.

Of course we want our actions to match our words as much as possible. Our actions should support what we preach. But the Gospel is a message, a proclamation, news about an event and a person upon which the history of the planet turns.  Unless the Gospel is actually proclaimed with our lips, no one will know what it means.

We must tell them that God made them along with the rest of creation.  That despite being loved by God and made in his image we rebel against him in sin, trying to run our own lives, instead of loving God.  The result we deserve is hell. Yet the Holy God who judges sin also loves rebels and is willing to forgive, and so sent Jesus to die in our place for our sin; past, present and future.  More than that, Jesus came back to life, never to die again, to reign as the King over all things.  Therefore, it is him we must trust; it is him we must love; it is him we must serve.  That is what we must preach in order to see the lost get saved, and to see the saved become committed disciples of Christ.  We must never change that message, nor must we shrink away in fear from telling anyone this incredibly good news of Jesus Christ.

"How are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?" (Rom. 10:14).


  1. Amen!
    People use this quote like its practically part of the Bible. They fail to understand the context of the quote, which is most often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi who was born around 1181. Because of convictions he had, he rejected his life of wealth to live in poverty. He begged and lived and *preached* on the streets. He found joy in denying himself of earthly comforts (he slept on stone, wore a camel's hair dress thing, and fasted all the time). He was a lover of the poor and the weak. He lived the Gospel. I don't have a problem with people using that quote if they are living out the Gospel to the extreme that it it was meant to be lived out (that was a weird sentence...) The problem is most people interpret it to mean that, like you said, they don't need to ever verbally tell people about the good news of Jesus. It's like they think... I'm a nice enough person: I smile and say hello to the grocery clerk every time I go shopping, I occasionally give a homeless man a sandwich, I always let people in when they are merging onto the freeway, I don't swear.... uh no. Sorry. I don't think that's what St. Francis had in mind when he was talking about preaching the Gospel.