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What is Gospel Preaching? (part 3)

The gospel is about a person, Jesus Christ. In Peter’s gospel sermon on the Day of Pentecost, he went on to describe how this person made provision for our salvation through two events: the crucifixion and the resurrection. Peter elaborates in Acts 2:23-24, “But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him it its grip” (NLT).

Jesus is known for many things. He was a masterful teacher, using everyday illustrations and metaphors to bring weighty matters of faith into his audience’s comprehension. He was compassionate, as evidenced by his willingness to restore sight to blind eyes, cleansing of lepers, healing those infirmed with sickness and disease, not to mention restoring life to three dead people. He was merciful, and exhibited his great mercy by extending God’s forgiveness to those who had been written off by religion and its leadership. He held dominion over nature, and demonstrated his might by calming winds and walking on angry waves. If we were to consider this resume of accomplishments, we would find Jesus to be quite worthy of admiration. But those deeds weren’t the end game. He came to this earth, identifying with his own creation by becoming robed in flesh, and experienced death on the cross in our place and on our behalf.

Die on the cross he did. But he didn’t stay dead. He displayed his power and victory over sin, death, and the grave through his resurrection. In our church’s tradition, I spend one day of Vacation Bible School roaming from class to class sharing the good news of Jesus with the children who attend. After sharing God’s love with our second graders, one little girl raised her hand and asked a profound question. She asked, “What if Jesus stayed dead?” Great question! At that point I referenced Paul’s words in his first letter to the Corinthian church and quoted, “And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of all of your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17, NLT).

Gospel preaching is preaching about a person who made provision for our salvation through two events: the crucifixion and the resurrection. They always go hand in hand. Through that provision God extends two promises to us. More about that tomorrow.

Categories : Acts, Gospel, Jesus, Preaching

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