Is the gospel enough? That may seem like a ridiculous question but think about it. Do you believe the gospel is enough? Does the church you attend believe the gospel is enough? Is the gospel even presented in your church?
One day I was driving home from a church I had been attending for about a year, and it occurred to me, I don’t think I’ve ever really heard the gospel there. Sure, it was referenced occasionally; there was a prayer prayed at the end of service each week that we all repeated, but I couldn’t think of a time when a Romans-type gospel presentation was given. I started to go into full panic mode. I began thinking back over my childhood and teen years, trying to remember if I ever heard the gospel in church. Yes, I knew I was saved, I had heard the gospel, and eventually, my children’s pastor prayed with me to receive Jesus, but now I’m thinking, where is the gospel?
That drive home shook me, and it started me down a road of rediscovering the gospel. The thought probably occurred because I had recently watched The American Gospel film that raised questions I had kept to myself for the most part about the Word of Faith. At any rate, I started listening to sermons on the gospel, and I began reading books about the gospel. I started with John MacArthur’s book, Ashamed of the Gospel, Strange Fire, The Gospel According to Jesus, The Gospel According to the Apostles, and now I’m reading The Gospel According to Paul.
I know that many people have a strong opinion regarding John MacArthur, but before you quit reading, consider this, I was full-fledged Word of Faith, Charismatic when Strange Fire came out. I refused to read the book, but I did watch a few conference clips. I ripped him on Facebook, saying he was devoid of the Spirit. But God was gracious; those were seeds planted. Just like being in a Charismatic Calvinist church from 2008 to 2011, I was introduced to doctrine for the first time. All these years later, those seeds have grown into a gospel harvest.
Martin Luther said, “we need to be preaching the gospel to ourselves every day because we forget the gospel every day.” If you would’ve asked me a few years ago to summarize the gospel, I would have responded; the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now that is the gospel, but that wasn’t the message I was hearing. I heard about signs and wonders. Some of you may go to mainline churches where you hear ten tips for a better marriage or nine ways to succeed; that’s not the gospel. Christians can’t grow with that, and that can’t save unbelievers. We have forgotten the gospel, and we have replaced it with Bible verse self-help.
Look at these two Scriptures; Romans 1:16 NKJV “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” The gospel is enough; it is the only power to save.
‘But people don’t get it; we have to make it relevant. No, we make a mockery of the gospel when we couch it in video clips, secular music, and a 46-year-old dressing like a teenager to appear relevant. 1 Corinthians 1:18 NKJV “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
This is why unbelievers don’t find the gospel “relevant,” they are perishing unbelievers, and until pastors start preaching on sin again, people won’t recognize their need for a savior. The gospel is enough; we just have to believe in its power. We have to quit being ashamed of the fact we all fall short, we have to quit toning down the message of a beaten, and bloody Savior nailed to a cross. Instead, we must preach the gospel. The gospel starts with the message of sin that leads into grace. We wonder why the world is a mess; it will always be a mess when people aren’t surrendered to the Lordship of Christ. But look at the circus of the Church. Why is the Church in such a mess? Because we have entertainers instead of evangelists, we have programs instead of preaching; we need the gospel again. I’m not talking about “gospel-centered” or “gospel issues”; those are catchphrases that have neutered the true gospel. Social justice issues are not gospel issues. There are biblical justice issues, but I guarantee you that is not what mainstream media is pushing for, and the Church, by, and large is buying into that narrative. Why are many buying into that? Because the gospel isn’t enough for them. Just because someone says gospel or the website has the gospel in it does not mean it’s gospel. It’s time to return to the Scripture. It’s time to ditch the gimmicks; we need the Biblical gospel again.