In a culture increasingly slipping away from biblical truth, pastors must be voices in the wilderness crying out the gospel. But many have slipped into being just another voice in the crowd, another voice that echoes the culture's fall from truth. Christians need to learn how to discern those voices, and understand which are speaking God's truth. Not every person who stands on a stage and mentions Jesus is preaching the gospel. Not every person who reads from their Bible is properly teaching from it. Listen with discernment.
My encouragement to pastors, as you prepare your sermons each week, is make sure that the gospel is so prevalent in your messages, that your congregation is immediately alarmed in instances when they do not hear it. Be sure to saturate your folks with gospel-rich and Christ-centered preaching, so when they encounter false teachers and false teaching, they can spot it. The taste buds and palate of their hearts should be so used to hearing the gospel in sermons, that when they hear sermons missing the gospel or distorting the gospel, it does not sit right with them. It should immediately be a sour and bitter taste in their mouths. They should be instantly asking, "Where is Jesus?! Where is the Gospel?!"
I want desperately for my congregation to have this ability. I want TJC folks to be excellent at discerning a sermon that has the gospel and one that does not.
My question for us pastors: is our preaching so saturated with the gospel and with Christ exalting truths that our congregations are being taught subconsciously to spot a fraud when they hear it?
My encouragement to those who listen to sermons is simple: tune in to those who truly preach the gospel and tune out those who do not. Listen for the gospel. Listen for Christ as the centerpiece of the sermon, not a later add-on. Listen and ask yourself, "Is he sticking to the Bible and teaching from it or is he simply spouting off opinion as the Bible goes largely untouched?"
My questions to those who listen to preaching: are you able to discern biblical preaching from false teaching? Can you spot a gospel-less sermon?
As the cultural war over truth rages on, Christians should be regularly arming themselves with the truth. If we are to stand in our society where truth is attacked, then we must continue to be engaged with the truth. This is why pastors must commit to preaching gospel-centered sermons. And it is why believers must place themselves under gospel-centered teaching. Anything less is compromise of the most destructive kind.