“What IS the Gospel of Jesus Christ, exactly?” And if you did, what did you answer? The short answer is that “Gospel” is a short form of “Good News” (The word gospel derives from the Old Englishgōd-spell , meaning “good news” or “glad tidings”); and the good news referred to is the news that Jesus Christ died for our sins, that our sins are forgiven, and therefore we are in line for eternal life. That is really good news!
Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and John.
In the wider sense, The “Gospel” can be the first four books of the New Testamant [Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and John], of the Bible, wherein the life, revelations, and teachings of Jesus Christ are proclaimed. These four books are often referred to as the “Gospels”. Most of the rest of the New Testament is books of “Epistles” (meaning letters), written to various congregations and persons in the first churches.
The “Gospel”, therefore, is the wonderful news that we do not have to make sacrifices for our sins to be forgiven, that we do have eternal life, and that we can be living right now in the kingdom of heaven – here on earth. God loves you – in proof of which, He sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to come to earth to bring us this wonderful gospel of love, and then to die on the cross that all our sins might be forgiven.
Why you should Shine Your Light. A comment by Teresa Martin on the last post read; “…if the world can’t see Christ in us, we are ‘salt that has lost it’s saltiness’.” I like that. We are indeed the salt that has lost it’s saltiness. I struggle all the time with trying to “be Christ in the world”. Every time I lose my cool in traffic, or get terse with an unhelpful shop assistant, I am just another failed Christian. After such a “fall from grace”, the Holy Spirit kicks in and I am heavily aware of not having acted like Jesus would have. Call it conscience if you are more comfortable with that term, but the result is the same. We fall short of our own expectation of ourselves, and we suddenly realise that we have just wasted another great opportunity to witness Christ into the community.
Filled With a Warm And Loving Joy.
It is when we take those opportunities and reply to provocation with love that we are really “being the Bible” to the world around us. If we do use the situation to show love, to offer practical witness, we will be filled with a warm and loving joy, we will have blessed that person, and we will have been an effective witness to the love our God has for this world. Think how good it will be for your inner self if you come away from EVERY encounter with a warm glow, and are concious that you have blessed that individual, rather than leaving them with a scowl and feeling angry.
Practice what you Preach
The wonderful old cliché, “Practice what you Preach”, kicks in here. It is totally valueless if we preach a sermon to our congregation on Sunday morning saying “love God and love our neighbour”, if we are not doing exactly that in our own daily life. Double standards are easily detectable and will show in our body language and in other subtle ways, so it is vital that we do indeed put into practice the things we are telling others.
Shine Your Light.
The same passage of scripture that speaks about saltiness goes on to use the idea that we are a light to the world. We are urged to so show our light before men that others may see our good deeds and praise God in Heaven. This is how we “shine that light of God’s love”, by acting out His love for all men in EVERY place that we can.
“We can take every human encounter and turn it into a Kingdom experience simply by showing love to that other person. It is that easy!”
And a living example is worth a thousand word sermon! We need a total mind-shift away from the old ‘sandwich service’ style of hymn, prayer, sermon preaching from the last millenium, to something that is both relevant and meaningful to today. I cannot do much good preaching inside a near-empty church, but I CAN do a lot of good, preaching by example to my neighbours, to my friends, and to everyone else who crosses my path during the working week.
Live Such a Life
I have to live such a life, that others will see I have this Agape love to share and to pour out, and the conviction to keep on pouring it over every human transaction in which I am engaged. There is scripture that clearly teaches: “Love without deeds is meaningless”. So, to put God’s love in place, I need to LIVE out my sermons!
Every Action is a Visible Witness
You can’t ‘logic’ somone into Heaven – you can only impact their life by meeting or witnessing to some need they have, and when they can see in your life that love in action which promises to meet their need, they will want you to share it with them – THAT IS WHEN you can witness to them; that is how to preach in this third millenium! That is the real way to share the love taught by Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
How to preach with power;
Preaching with conviction;
How to know what to preach;
How to preach a good sermon; – these questions, and others like them are asked here all the time, so I now want to try and answer this point on how to Preach with conviction.
Testify from Experience and Knowledge
For me, the conviction has to shine through from what I know, from what I have experienced, from what the Spirit is telling me now, today. When you testify, the conviction is there in your voice because of course you must believe your own testimony, and your listeners will recognize that conviction. You are telling what you KNOW! You are the ‘first hand’ witness.
Conviction and Power From The Spirit
The other real source of power and conviction in your preaching is the Holy Spirit of God. When you have prayed about what you are to speak on, when you have allowed the Spirit to illuminate your understanding of the scripture, then the power and conviction will be present and they will come shining through.
Preaching Without Notes is all to do with faith. If you are prepared to step out in faith, and say; “OK Lord, I will do this”; then you can do it.
The method I use to preach without sermon notes is outlined in the post “How to Preach“. It simply consists in prayerful preparation. It is outside of the scope of this post to talk about “What to Preach“; so we will assume that your subject is already decided. Now do this:
Go into your quiet place and prayerfully contemplate the chosen subject/scripture. If you give Him the chance, the Holy Spirit will put ideas into your mind that are pertinent to the subject – and He may suggest passages of scripture that further illustrate the point in hand
Examine these ideas/passages as they are offered, and the subject will expand and become whole.
Continue this process until the flow of inspiration dries up.
God treats each of us in a manner suited to our personal learning nature, and very much as individuals; so you may require many sessions over several days to get a complete “handle” on your subject, or you may find the whole sermon drops complete into your consciousness.
The Rhys Method……..
I usually start at the beginning of the week by reading the allotted lectionary readings. There is always a common thread contained in the given readings and that decides the subject for sharing on Sunday morning. I need to have chosen the accompanying songs by Wednesday to allow the “musos” plenty of time to practice, so by the time that is done, the selected readings are digested and printed out for the scripture readers, and the order of service is set out, then the “bones” of the subject are already in mind.
I then use whatever “free” time I have during the rest of the week, and devote it to contemplation of the points already in mind. It is both surprising and enjoyable to find other little pieces of relevant material coming to mind during moments of mental free time, like in the shower, or waiting for someone, or whatever occasions there may be when the mind can be [prayerfully] open to suggestion.
Be Spirit Led
I do not attempt to organise this material into a structured whole, but instead rely on the prompting of the Holy Spirit when I begin to speak. This allows some flexibility to “change direction” in mid flow as may be needed, and is truly a way to preach without notes.
Testimony is vital and believable – Why? – because it is what we have seen and believe, and therefore the conviction of truth can be heard in our voice. When we relate what happened to us, people can believe that as fact. When you share some truth of which the Holy Spirit has convicted you, you will be believed because the conviction will ring in your voice! This is the evidence of the holy Spirit. That is How to Preach with Conviction.
So, How Do I Do That?
If you have no set requirement for the theme of the day, then grab your Bible, and head for your quiet place and just ‘wait on Him’ until you are told [how to pray] what to do.
If you are working to a set theme, like lectionary readings, just go into your quiet place with your Bible and start ‘meditating’ those readings. As you read a verse or a phrase, close your eyes and let the Holy Spirit of God illuminate it to your understanding.
Follow each ‘train of thought’ thru to its end and the subject matter will be filled out and explained.
Just keep doing this until you feel there is no more to be understood. It may take several sessions of quiet to get the whole message. Strive for Spiritual Excellence!
Stop thinking about it and go on with your usual weeks activities until you feel to do it again.
Come Sunday Morning; you stand up and relate your subject matter as you are led so to do. I find that it seems to come out in the same order it went in. I.E. The first major point revealed comes first, and then the second point, and so on….
How to Preach without Notes. The above method works well for me – it just blows me away that I always get to the end of what I want to say at exactly the time the service is scheduled to end – Hallelujah!
What Do I Preach – Seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit – You will either already have a conviction, like,
You were just meditating, and some light suddenly fell on some scripture or some moral question………..
Or maybe you were talking to someone about some thing and suddenly it all came clear to you…………. And you felt that you just HAD to tell about it.
Or, You will need to seek for conviction
God treats us all as individuals, and He might talk to you in a dream, or words in your head, or in visions and pictures or when you are looking on His handiwork, e.g., a sunset, or when you are browsing thru His Word. It is the ‘still small voice’ that we really need to be very quiet and still to hear.
If prayer can be defined as communing with God, then the conviction you seek will be found in one of the above types of ‘prayer’.
What NOT to DO
Don’t start ‘writing it down and constructing a sermon’ – if God wants you to preach He will give you the conviction to share and the words to express it!
Don’t go looking up information, or reading ‘suitable’ books for inspiration. What happened to other people or in other places is irrelevant to your testimony and can only be second-hand when you tell it!
Our God is creative, He is never stale or boring – He always has a fresh message if we are prepared to look for it.
Do believe, that when He promised to ‘supply all our needs’, that He actually meant just that. Our need of something to share when we preach is no different from our need of food and clothing, and it is easy to trust Him for our ‘daily bread’ – Right?
The Structure of the Message
The order you make your points is the same order that they are given to you – often it is simply following the relevant reading(s) verse by verse.
The Whole Service
If you apply the same contemplative method to the whole service, you will easily find the appropriate songs/hymns to sing and the prayer subjects to use. If others choose the songs – you can rely on His Holy Spirit to guide them to select appropriate praise and worship themes.
There you have it – the way to learn what to preach as you learn how to preach
I have stepped out in faith and put this to the test. My testimony is that whenever I have done this, I have been given the words to say, and the truth to share. It is significant, I think, that I always run out of words at the same time as the service is supposed to end.
It is always a step in faith, because every time I have that fear that I will not have anything to say, and that I will ‘dry up’, but God is faithful and He always gives me enough. Hallelujah!
Think about it – Andrew the “Fisherman”, and Peter the “Deny-er” didn’t go to theological college, or attend lay preacher classes for diplomas to learn how to preach, they just stood up and testified to what they knew about Jesus…….