Sermon Illustrations
Posted by Douglas on Jul 01, 2006

Last week in my message I spoke on the Gospel. I began with who God is, and moved on to talking about who we are, our sin, and the judgment it requires. Then I began to speak of Jesus. I told of who He is, of His divine nature, of His life, of His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. And then I spoke of our response to this: faith.

After the service, one man spoke to me and said: "You know, a lot of times when people are teaching the Gospel, they speak about faith, but it's hard for people to understand what that means exactly. But you told us all the story of Jesus, and asked us to believe that story. It was so clear what you meant by 'faith.'"

That comment confirmed to me something I had been thinking about, and that I had recently been discussing with a friend. In many cases, the church has lost its understanding of what the Gospel is. We have stopped having faith in Jesus, and instead have "faith in faith." Our faith is not placed in Jesus, but in the fact that we have faith. Does that sound confusing?

Think of it this way: when people teach the Gospel, what do they focus on? Often they focus on faith. Only believe. You must believe. If you have faith you will be saved. But the Gospel message is not simply "you must believe."

The Gospel is that Jesus Christ died for our sins according to scripture, that he was buried, and that he rose again on the third day (see 1 Corinthians 15:1-5). Faith is our response to this Good News.

A few months ago my pastor did an experiment in which he "preached the Gospel" without ever even talking about Jesus. He was curious to see how many people would recognize what had been left out. In our church, he was pleased to see that many people recognized what had been left out. But he said he had seen churches where no one realized what was missing.

This is a tragic state of affairs.

If your message is not about Jesus, it is not about the Gospel, because the Gospel message is a message about Jesus.

Popular tags
Christian life, Jesus, character, integrity, love, trouble, hiking, mountains, children, heart, perseverance, 1 Peter 2:1, sermon on the mount, faithfulness, Philippians 4:8, heaven, music, the church, contentment, scripture, 1 Peter 2:4, God's will, foundation, salvation, human nature, hope, faith, humility, devotion, sin, gifts, Romans 12:2, spiritual discipline, 2 Corinthians 3:18, renewal, art, servanthood, strength, Hebrews 12:2, age groups, stability, teaching, obedience, 1 John 5:3, Titus 2:11, death, commandments, selfishness, deceit, Christmas, Colossians 4:6, responsibility, listening, interpretation, justice, behavior, materialism, Galatians 6:1, self-control, Philippians 4:11, 2 Peter 1:5, envy, blessings, Psalms 103:13, Philippians 2:3, creation, excellence, beauty, Genesis 2:7, Deuteronomy 32:4, John 10:1, Matthew 6:34, 1 Peter 2:2, preaching, Proverbs 25:8, discipleship, John 14:3, Psalms 1:1, Romans 8:24, Ecclesiastes 1:4, Matthew 15:18, voice, James 1:19, peace, John 11:35, Luke 12:34, Christ's return, counsel, cooperation, patience, 1 Peter 3:3, Ecclesiastes 7:2, Jeremiah 17:9, the good shepherd, Hebrews 12:15, Psalms 95:8, Proverbs 3:5, resurrection, Luke 12:32, Revelation 22:20, 1 Corinthians 15:1, Micah 6:8, 1 Peter 1:7, John 14:21, anger, public speaking, trust, grief, treasure, the gospel, delayed gratification, James 5:5, Galatians 3:19, math, suffering, bitterness, John 16:33, Matthew 18:3, priorities, 2 Corinthians 5:20, the law, logic, 1 Peter 1:6, work, 1 John 4:19, Titus 2:13, 1 Corinthians 15:30, Psalms 51:7, John 14:6, Philippians 2:12, 1 Corinthians 12:22, Isaiah 35:4, John 14:24, James 1:23, Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 7:12, Colossians 1:15, John 10:10, danger, Titus 3:4, Colossians 1:16, Philippians 1:6, Matthew 5:37, body of Christ, Matthew 20:26, John 5:36, James 1:5, golden rule, 1 Peter 1:18, Proverbs 25:13, truth, 2 Corinthians 9:6, Philippians 2:1, ambassadors, wisdom, Philippians 4:9, kindness, context, 1 Peter 1:17, 1 Peter 2:19, Psalms 95:7, cleansing, culture, unity, Philippians 2:9, walking the talk, James 1:2, mind, imitating, Proverbs 25:16, 1 Peter 1:23, 1 Peter 2:21, Psalms 29:3, Leviticus 19:32, James 1:17, Colossians 3:12, Ecclesiastes 3:11, Matthew 22:37, Proverbs 25:17, Psalms 73:18, Galatians 6:2, Luke 2:10, Psalms 29:9, respect, Numbers 32:23, Psalms 40:8, 1 Peter 2:12, 2 Timothy 4:3, Psalms 84:10, Psalms 73:2, family, Incarnation, glory, John 4:34, Ecclesiastes 4:9, John 8:34, Philippians 4:1, Luke 14:12, gentleness, Matthew 5:36, grace, Epiphany, Romans 14:6, fellowship, Ephesians 2:19, power, Philippians 3:20, honor, diligence, Isaiah 40:4, judgment, Titus 3:5, regeneration, Galatians 6:5, Matthew 6:26, Psalms 66:18, 1 Peter 2:11, meekness, 1 Corinthians 13:7, Psalms 17:8, 1 Peter 2:6, John 1:23, Matthew 28:19, 1 Peter 2:22, Matthew 11:30, prayer, light, sojourners, John 13:15, Matthew 6:25, Hebrews 10:24, attention, disappointment, Matthew 15:11, Matthew 10:5, comparisons