A sugar-coated “gospel” is no gospel at all. The great calling of every gospel preacher is to be a herald of God’s (not his own) message. This gives us a benchmark against which to measure and test every preacher, i.e. faithfulness to the Bible. Sadly, many Christians are so gullible and they are gobbling up spiritual junk food Sunday after Sunday. Even sadder than that is that they don’t seem to know it and those who do know, don’t seem to care.
In most cases, the problem with the preachers of this sugar-coated “gospel” is not so much in what they say. The problem is in what they don’t say. Here are some of the major things they don’t talk about:
- Repentance toward God – “I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:21).
- Faith in Christ – “I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:21).
- Obedience to Christ – “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
I could develop these more, but I won’t simply because I don’t have the time at the moment. But you search the Scriptures and you will find that God’s message to fallen humanity has these three major themes: repentance toward God, faith in Christ for salvation, obedience to Him as His people.
You will seldom (if at all) hear those who preach the sugar-coated “gospel” mention these things in their preaching. They won’t talk about repentance toward God because that presupposes sin and “sin” is a taboo word in their “preaching.” Sin makes people feel bad and look bad – so they just tear that out of the Scriptures. They won’t mention faith in Christ because they want to talk about faith in the individual self or in some other gimmick that promises a better, healthier, wealthier life, now. And they certainly won’t talk about obedience to Christ because, “who cares?” They neither love Him nor serve Him – and so, “obedience” to Christ and His commands is often left out of their messages. But it’s Christ we are to preach, “…warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28).
They will say all kinds of nice things – some of which are actually in the Bible (although they often quote texts out of context and make pretexts out of them). That’s a problem and it has to be dealt with. But the bigger problem lies in what they leave out – what they don’t say – yes, what they won’t say. These people are not stupid. They are clever. They have enough truth in their message to be deceptive. They conveniently (subtly and sometimes not so subtly) leave out the parts that they and their hearers don’t like in the Bible. They know that if they just mention enough of the Bible – emphasizing the parts they like – which people also like to hear, they can get away with their lies and command a following. Sadly, many of them have “succeeded” in doing just that. But only for now. Their “success” will be short-lived because the Day of Reckoning is just around the corner. We will all have to give an account before the Father for what we have taught (or not). He is the One who will ultimately expose the Truth for the whole world to see. But I fear that many popular preachers today will have nothing to say before God when their deceptions are exposed and they will be judged without mercy.
O Lord, help me to be faithful to the calling You have given me to preach Your Word to Your people
For “it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.”
For Christ’s sake! Amen!