“No Christ in your sermon, sir? Then go home, and never preach again until you have something worth preaching.” - Charles Spurgeon
I was once in a conversation with a pastor and we were discussing the point of preaching. I remember mentioning that I believed it was the job of the preacher to bring his congregation to Christ and His Gospel every time he got behind that pulpit. I said that the entirety of Scripture has been laid out for us who preach for that exact reason. The Bible is the story of Christ. He looked at me and said that he wasn’t sure if it was necessary to have the Gospel in every sermon. People might get tired of hearing the same thing every week. I stood there and I am sure I had the “deer in the headlights” look on my face. The conversation ended shortly after.
I think back on that conversation and I wish I had said more. I believe this is an essential issue. We who preach, either as a calling or as a “pulpit thug” like me, have a very vital responsibility. We have one purpose standing behind the pulpit and that is to make much of Christ and His Gospel. I am convinced that anywhere in the Bible, wherever you find yourself that morning, can somehow be brought back to Christ. The Bible is His story and it’s the job of the preacher to bring Christ to the forefront in every sermon.
Now, this can be done in a variety of ways. Whether it is an explicit Gospel presentation at the end of the sermon or simply showing the connections between the current passage and the Gospel, it really doesn’t matter. That is the job of the preacher to figure out in their sermon. Whatever the case, the first and main question anyone preparing a sermon should ask themselves is “where is Christ in this?” I guarantee you, He is there. Just look for Him.
There are those, like this pastor, that would take exception to this. I would simply say to them, is there anything else you would rather preach? Is there anything more glorious and wonderful than the Gospel of Christ. Of course we must preach doctrine. Of course we should be preaching exegetically. Of course the Old Testament is hard and can be difficult to apply to our lives. However, think about your theology for a minute. Without the Gospel, how do we apply all the theology we are learning? How do we have a correct perspective? How do we understand the depths of what we are learning without the Gospel of Christ before our eyes every second? Alistair Begg says that “the main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things.” The Gospel is both the plain and main thing. Without it, we really have nothing worth preaching. 1Corinthians 2:1-5 should be the branded on every pulpit. It says,
“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”
So whether you are a preacher, an evangelist, an elder, a teacher, a baker or a candlestick maker, keep the Gospel the main thing. Pastors, please remember what we need. Please keep Christ in your sermon. Keep the Gospel in your sermon. Never forsake it and never believe the lie that we will grow tired of it. Always bring the theology and the concepts back to Christ. Always show us our need for Him and the glory of His grace. There is nothing more important than that. Please sir, we would see Jesus today.