How to Be Effective in Preaching the Gospel to Others
Sunday, January 31, 2010 6:16:11 AM
We can know the truth and believe the truth, and still be wrong if we believe the truth for the wrong reasons. And if this is the case, it is unlikely that God will bless our efforts to get the gospel out to others. Without His blessing and help, we cannot succeed.
If you want God's help in preaching the gospel to others, you have to make sure you believe the true gospel for the right reasons.
What are you doing when you preach the gospel to non-Christians? You are asking them to change. You are asking them to be willing to give up what they believed before and begin to believe the Word of God. Unless they believe the gospel, your preaching to them will do them no good. But for them to believe, they have to be willing to change from what they believed before. They have to give up their old opinions and beliefs and learn something new from the Word of God.
In God's way, those who teach must practice what they teach. Even Jesus Christ practiced what He preached, and He set an example for us (John 13:12). If you are familiar with the gospel accounts, you will remember that Jesus had harsh criticism for the scribes and Pharisees who taught but did not practice what they taught. They placed heavy burdens on men's shoulders which they would not lift with one finger (Matthew 23:1-4).
This means that one who preaches to non-Christians today, asking them to change from what they previously believed and to begin to believe the gospel and the Word of God, must also be willing to believe the Word of God and to be willing to change his beliefs when corrected by the Bible.
If you believe your traditions, the traditions of your church, the teachings of your minister, or your own opinions more than the Bible, and if you are not willing to let the Bible change your beliefs, then how are you qualified to tell non-Christians to change and begin to believe the Bible?
If you teach others to let the Bible change what they believe and if you teach others to learn new things from the Word of God, but you yourself will not let the Bible change and correct you in what you believe, how can God bless you? And if God does not bless your efforts, how can you succeed?
And isn't it likely that before God will bless you He will test you (Genesis 22:1-2)? Isn't it likely that God will show you something new and different in the Bible to see if you are willing to believe Him as Abraham believed Him (Romans 4:1-3, James 2:21-24, Genesis 15:4-6, Hebrews 11:17-19, Isaiah 51:1-2)? And won't your decision, to pass the test by believing God or to fail the test by holding to your present beliefs, greatly impact any future success in preaching the gospel to others?
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for holding to their traditions more than to the Word of God (Mark 7:5-13).
Doctrine must be a matter of faith, and faith is believing what God says. We must believe what we believe because we trust and believe what God says in the Bible. Our doctrinal beliefs must be based on a personal relationship with God, a relationship that says to God, "I know you cannot lie and I trust and believe whatever you tell me in the Bible, one hundred percent, even when it is hard." That kind of commitment to believe God is part of obeying the great commandment to love God with all our being (Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Matthew 22:35-40, Mark 12:28-31, Luke 10:25-28).
God tests us and knows if we love Him by whether or not we believe what He says (Deuteronomy 13:1-3). He also knows if we love Him by whether or not we do what He says (John 14:15, 1 John 5:3, John 14:21). We are to live by every word of God (Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4, Deuteronomy 8:3). But to obey God we must first believe God.
Even if we believe the truth, we must believe the truth because we have learned it from the Bible, from what God says. That is the right reason for believing doctrine. We should not believe doctrine based on what our church or minister teaches us, but based on the Bible.
If we are to be blessed by God to know the truth and be able to teach it effectively, we must be willing to submit ALL of our beliefs, in ANY subject or question concerning religious doctrine, to the Bible. NOTHING is "hands off my traditions." To be blunt, we must submit all questions to the Word of God, such as, "does man have an immortal soul?", "is God a trinity?", "do the lost suffer for eternity in hellfire?", "is Sunday the Lord's day?", "should Christians keep the seventh day Sabbath?", "should Christians keep the annual Feasts and holy days given in the Old Testament?", etc.
Whenever we think we already have the truth and we are not willing to learn anything new about these subjects from the Bible, we close our minds to God's correction, and we become hypocrites if we preach to non-Christians that they should believe the Word of God and the gospel.
I don't think God would bless that.
We need to believe the truth because we believe what God says in the Bible. The true gospel is the message of the Bible, and we need to believe the Bible because we trust and believe what God says, just as Abraham did. And as an expression of our love for God, we need to study the Bible with an open mind willing to believe what God says even if it means giving up or changing our traditional beliefs where they differ from God's word.