Q: Is it more important that Christians "preach" the Gospel or that they "be" the Gospel?
I listened to a sermon by Michael Horton the other day called, "What is the Gospel?"
You can listen to it HERE.
There is Gospel music, Gosple cruises, Gospel coffee shops, etc... But what is the Gospel?
Is it an adjective used to describe something or a noun that describes everything else?
In this message Michael Horton walks through the Scripture's reference points for the Gospel, the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
The Gospel is something. It is not something you are, become, or will be. That is a confusion of categories and while I realize it is potentially neat-nicky, it is a really important disctinction nonetheless.
You have read headlines on the front of your local paper. They announce something, report something, proclaim an event or ratify history. The Good News is a proclamation of what has happened, what Somebody else did. An event that took place which you heard about, but did not participate in directly. It is not something you become. The worst news in the world for you is that I am or have to become the Gospel. I cannot save you and depending on who you are I likely would not attempt to save you at the risk of my own life. I can be a messenger. I cannot be the message.
The power of the Gospel is the preaching and proclaiming of it.
That is to take nothing away from our good deeds and loving our neighbors. We are commanded to do that as well by the Holy Bible. It is not a matter of preaching our faith vs. living out our faith . It is a matter of knowing the difference between the two. You cannot live out a faith of which you know nothing. You cannot claim to rightly know a faith that responds by doing nothing.
In the name of serving some will never preach or sit under preaching.
Those under preaching (done rightly from the Word by a faithful pastor) will hear the commands to serve and love and preach and teach. Those same people may be hypocrites who don't do what they hear preached, but they do not have the excuse of not having heard it from the Word of God.
Those who seek only to be the Gospel to their neighbors through good deeds rob the Gospel of its power by refusing to speak the announcement of it.
That is not to say that some are not influenced by good deeds and loving acts of kindness into a place where they are more receptive to the Gospel. But the very scenario I just articulated -- that many were forming as a defense against this diatribe -- implies that good deeds and kindness have a role in the softening of the soil for the Gospel. Without the Gospel, the softened soil may have warmer feeling about Jesus than they had before or less hostility towards Christianity, but they will not have heard the Good News of the Kingdom of God!!
The heralds fall short of their calling.
The herald is not announcing their own coming. The heralds are commanded to announce the deeds, the coming, and the glory of the One they have determined to follow and honor. The hope of the hearer is not that the herald arrived, but that the One of whom the herald spoke is to come.