Now is the Day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). God’s arms are wide open to receive everyone into his kingdom. In fact, the bible says “He wants the whole world saved”.
“Who (God) wishes all people to be saved, and to come to the knowledge and recognition of the (divine) truth” (1 Tim. 2:4)
God sent us (Christians) as his agent of reconciliation with the world. He sent every one of us to preach the gospel. Not just Pastors, everyone. Your audience is people in your office, your friends, neighbours and everyone anywhere!
“That is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them (but Cancelling them). And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation (that is, restoration to favour with God)” (2 Cor. 5:19)
(Though this task looks enormous, we must note that our individual contributions are vital. Read the article “What difference does this make?” by “Samson Afolabi”)
Having established that God wants to reconcile with the world and He has sent us with the message of the gospel, in this article we consider “What is the message we are to preach?” or better still “what is the message of reconciliation stated in 2 Cor. 5:19”? Sometimes some of us preach the wrong message or don’t even know what to preach.
As Christians, the bible must be our guide for living. We search for the right responses and answers in the bible, this question we are presently considering won’t be an exception either. Looking at the early Christians in the book of Acts, we see them preaching “Jesus” (who He is and what He did). The Apostles preached Jesus, Philip preached this to the whole of Samaria and the Ethiopian eunuch, Paul called his ministry preaching Jesus Christ (Acts 5:42; 8:5,35, Colossians 1:27-28, (KJV), Luke 24:46-47)
35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Reading the whole passage clarifies that, Philip preached that Jesus was the Son of God, and he died for the sin of the Ethiopian eunuch and rose again, and if he believes in Jesus, he would be saved (declared righteous).
Paul also preached the same (Acts 17:2-4);
2 As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said.
4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.
Notice again Paul. Christ Suffered for them (What He did) and who he was.
Again, hear Paul here. (Acts 9:20)
And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
Paul preached Jesus as the Son of God. When we preach the gospel, we only need our hearers to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died for their sins, through him they have righteousness and eternal life. Nothing more, nothing less.
Hear Peter here: (Acts 10: 37 – 41)
38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
Notice, the emphasis of their message. Jesus is the Son of God, and he died and rose for sins of Mankind. All through-out scriptures, the message the apostles preached and required their hearers to believe to be saved was Jesus is the Son of God and He died for the sins of everyone.
Paul explains here (Romans 10:9 – 11):
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Paul who planted the Corinthian Church tells us what he preached to them (2 Corinthians 2:1-2).
And when I came to you, brothers and sisters, proclaiming to you the [a]testimony of God [concerning salvation through Christ], I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom [no lofty words of eloquence or of philosophy as a Greek orator might do]; 2 for I made the decision to [b]know nothing [that is, to forego philosophical or theological discussions regarding inconsequential things and opinions while] among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified [and the meaning of His redemptive, substitutionary death and His resurrection].
Lastly, we Read the assertiveness of 1Cor15:1-4 and see the facts of the message of the gospel clearly stated:
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 1Co 15:1-4
Notice the points Paul highlighted in the passage above, “Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose again”.
Today I often see people preach the gospel by terrorizing people with Hell or by the saddening events happening in the world now or with the rapture. As good as that sounds, it is wrong. Though we know anyone who doesn’t believe will go there, but we are not to scare anyone with Hell. Our message is that Jesus died for their sins and through him they can be righteous as we are.
We are not also supposed to hype people that Jesus can get them rich, or healthy or give them all they want, as good as that sounds because God wants every man well, that is not our first message to the unbeliever. We are first to preach that, He is dead (spiritually) needs life first of all, he is sinner and the Son of God (Jesus) died for his/her sins by believing in him has eternal life.
This is the day of salvation. God is not judging the world. There is an open invitation to everyone. And what we are to preach is that “Jesus is God’s son and He died for all our sins”.
Christ Reigns! We win!
Written by Samson Afolabi
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