I agree. The early assemblies consisted of people who were believers and they came together to worship, to pray together, to share what they had with the needy, fellowship, encourage and break bread together in the remembrance that they made up the "body of Christ". These believers went out and lead other people to saving faith in Christ and brought them to the assembly so they could, in turn, grow in their faith together and learn how to lead more people to Christ. I think too many church people forget that it is their job, and not just the pastor and elders, to go out and speak the gospel to everyone they meet. Today, people invite their neighbors and friends to "church" hoping they will get saved and, though that certainly does happen, it works far better if the visitor already knows the gospel.
I've been to some churches where all they ever preach about is the gospel, as if they think nobody is saved yet or nothing else is important. They give an "invitation" at the end and nobody comes forward because everyone there is already a believer. That says to me that the pastor may be lazy or doesn't care that the believers need more than just the "milk" of the word - they need the "meat", too. I know it must be hard being a pastor, one I had (one of the BEST) had a full time job in addition to being pastor. But I think a man of God that is put there by God has an obligation to be sensitive to the needs of his congregation and to never be afraid to say what God is leading him to say after much prayer and study. When that man is saying what God is leading him to say, the people WILL hear it and receive it because God has been preparing them as well. THAT kind of church is what keeps on growing.
**I’ve been to some churches where all they ever preach about is the gospel, as if they think nobody is saved yet or nothing else is important.**
Now this is unbelievable for me. Today is the Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, who is known as the evangelical doctor, because he preached ONLY on the GOSPELS. If a saint is honored for this, does your statement make any sense? Maybe that pastor was on to something.
Just some general observations. One of the black baptist churches in our neighborhood has a WONDERFUL Xmas carol service. They did a silent night you would not believe! And at the end the pastor said something like, “We’re Baptists, and this is what we do,”and then gave a very nice “invitation.” Who am I to cavil at the traditions of another Christian fellowship?
When I preached, ... heck, in the pulpit in the “practice chapel” at seminary there was a big sign: “Woe is me if I preach not the gospel.” So when I preached I made very nearly every sermon “evangelical” in structure and in main message. I thought then and I think now that there’s a kind of double aspect to ‘accepting Christ.” In one sense, there’s that moment (summer of 1971 for me) when you say, “OH! You LOVE me! Amazing! Include me IN!”
But then in another sense, it seems to me when things get tense or our enemy conducts an especially wily attack we find that though we SAID, “Be Lord of my life and of all that I have and am!” we’re actually holding out — in ways of which we are scarcely aware.
SO, I guess you could say my sermons were like, “Here’s another aspect of our lives in which we need to hear of the saving love of God, and here’s what he proclaims to us. to that part of us that’s still holding out.”
I still think that I mess up (sin) the most when I forget the Love of God in XP IHS and all that he is for me AND thee gift of the Spirit. So I don’t mind being reminded in season and out of season.
“Sermon” may mean ‘teaching,” but “preaching” means “proclaiming.” So I guess a good sermon has a little teaching and a little news in it. That’s how I think of it anyway.