Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Presentation of the Gospel

Temple Baptist Church - 7-5-2015
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

A.  I know that I have spent considerable time preaching from these verses on the gospel but the gospel is the good news of salvation given by God to sinful man.  It is the reconciliation of mankind to God through the propitiation, Jesus Christ.
B.  The gospel is powerful, purposeful, and produces fruit unto righteousness if properly presented.  Over the years, I have seen sinners “turned off” by an overzealous “soul winner” who tried to do God’s work his way.
C.  I think it important that all of us realize that we cannot get souls “lost” for that is the work of the Holy Spirit.  We cannot save a soul as only God can save an old spiritually bankrupt sinner.  That is not a Calvinistic statement as we are commanded to go and sinners are commanded to repent and believe.
D.  With that being said, I want to look at the manner Paul represented Christ and presented the gospel to the idolatrous Thessalonians.  They turned from their idols, family, friends, and manner of life to the Lord and were gloriously converted.
E.  Their conversion was marked by a dramatic change over a short time as they became followers (not many of those today), ensamples (another strange breed in our day), and soul winners who supported missions at the same time (as scarce as “hen’s teeth”).
F.  Let’s list a few things said in these verses that show the attitude and approach of God’s men in a spiritually hostile land.
1.  The Preaching was bold in the face of contention.  Vs. 2  “we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention”  (Anytime the Word of God is upheld in its fullness and purity, there will be contention.  Too often, the contention comes from the supposedly saved instead of the wicked lost.  Religious people do not want you to get too religious on them.  They want to be able to feel good about their “salvation” while walking in step with the world.)
2.  The Preaching was exhortational instead of condemnation.  Vs. 3  “For our exhortation”  (Exhortation is a pleading for sinners to come to Christ while condemnation is a fleshly attack upon the sinner.  It is the Spirit that convicts, convinces, and condemns.  When we do it, the sinner gets mad at us.  When the Spirit does it, they have to make a real choice of heaven or hell.)
3.  The Preaching was not deceitful.  Vs. 3  “not of deceit”  (Many cults use deceit in their presentation as they never let you know who they are or what they ultimately want you to believe.  A good example is Mormonism.  They act like another Christian denomination and use all of the right language and later begin their indoctrination of such doctrines as “As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man one day will be.”  True preaching is up front and truthful in every aspect.  When out knocking on doors and evangelizing, I always let people know that I am a pastor of an Independent Baptist Church  We are not to be ashamed or deceitful concerning the gospel.)
4.  The Preaching was not of uncleanness.  Vs. 3  “nor of uncleanness”  (We are to live and portray the character of true salvation.  People that have been converted and changed.  We are in this world but not to be of this world.  We do not become like them to win them.  This has long been called “Lifestyle Evangelization.”  True Lifestyle Evangelization reflects holiness.)
5.  The Preaching was not done in hypocrisy.  Vs 3  “nor in guile”  (It means to “bait the hook.”  I have personally heard one preacher tell how he tricked a sinner into saying “the sinner’s prayer” and claimed that they were saved.  What hypocrisy!  I do not try to force sinners to pray for salvation.  I think it was Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., that said (and I will not get the words completely right) that ripe fruit will drop into your hand when you touch it but green fruit must be tugged.  We do not give 30 minute invitations here.  If you need and want to be saved, you will run over me getting to the altar!  I am all for persuasion but many times you have to let planted seed have time to be watered and germinate.)
6.  The Preaching was not “ear tickling.”  Vs. 4  “not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.”  (Once again, I want to say that the mark of good preaching and preachers is not always found in what they preach but rather in what they are not willing to preach!  As long as the preaching is exhortational and not reprove/rebuke, they can “keep their jobs.”  All people are like “dogs” in this respect, they like to have their ears scratched.  But, God’s people will “endure” or “suffer” sound doctrine.)
7.  The Preaching was not flattering.  Vs. 5  “For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know”  (Insincere or excessive praise.  To make people feel like they are something that they are not.  We call this “buttering” someone up.  Preaching is certainly not intended to tear one down but it also not to make someone think more highly of themselves than they ought to think.  Normally, one flatters someone in order to obtain something for themselves or to gain advantage.)
8.  The Preaching was not Covetousness.  Vs 5  “cloke of covetousness”  ( A cloke is something that covers a person such as a coat.  It, in the context, is meant as a pretense or show meant to cover the true motive of the preacher.  Many preachers are guilty of filthy lucre.  They are simply hireling prophets who are in the “business” of making money and they are good at it.  Religion is big business!  Don’t think so?  Just watch the TV set for a while.)
Conclusion:  I will stop with these because I want to use the next verses in another message.

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