For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. – I Corinthians 2:2
We as a church and we as pastors must be lashed to the truth that men are depraved, offensive, judged, condemned sinners, and they must flee the wrath of God by turning and placing all of their hope in Jesus Christ. When you talk about man’s sin, depravity, and offensiveness toward a holy God, when you talk about how man is an enemy of God and a sinner before God and hopeless before God, you can preach on those things for untold years.
So when I say we must preach the simple gospel, I don’t mean there is just one 5-minute message. The beautiful thing is, if you thunder this gospel there are great unfolding truths of the infinite treasures of Christ’s grace, love, and mercy, and how He forgives sinners and cleanses us and makes us righteous in the eyes of a holy God.
As we teach our children at home and strive to pour these great truths into our children beginning in the nursery and children’s classes of our church, when they do come to know Christ, there is a resonating humility in their hearts whereby they are grateful that Christ would save them and Christ would love them and Christ would keep them.
Do you know what happens when they really have a great reservoir of these true gospel doctrines in their hearts? When God saves them, they become sweeter, kinder, more humble, more committed individuals and better husbands when they get married. They become sweeter, kinder, more humble, more dedicated wives when they get married. They become more vigilant, more selfless, more sacrificial, more devoted parents when they have children.
You see, the gospel is first. Everything builds on the gospel. But if you have a church full of folks who haven’t been gospel fed, gospel filled, gospel humbled, gospel saved, and gospel grateful, then you start teaching seminars and conferences on life issues. You are attempting to shape a bunch of fallen flesh because they have never been changed by the gospel! While the conferences and seminars are not bad in and of themselves, they are only helpful in balance with men and women who have been changed first by the gospel.