THOUGHTS ON THE GOSPEL AND THE HOW OF THE GOSPEL
By Curtis Pugh
By Curtis Pugh
We can confidently tell lost individuals that Christ receives sinners when they come to Him. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely,” (Revelation 22:7). I am of the private opinion that this verse includes the idea that churches which are not engaged in preaching “come” to Christ and “whosoever will” in the scriptural sense are not Christ's bride. Whatever their case, they are certainly disobedient to the instructions left to them by Christ.
The Bible contains the Gospel. But it contains a lot more as well. What we call “the doctrine of grace” - sometimes known as “the five points” historically preached by Baptists is indeed true and biblical. Those “five points” are the standpoint from which we preach and certainly affect everything we say. But those “five points” are not the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Let me illustrate. A man goes to his doctor. The doctor prescribes a medication guaranteed to cure the man's problem. The doctor's explanation as to how the medication works on various organs and bodily functions effecting a cure is one thing. But the man will not be cured by being instructed in how the medicine works. He must be told by the doctor to take the medicine, how often to take it, what not to take with it, etc. and most importantly of all, he must actually take the medicine. So his doctor exhorts him to take the medicine!
So it is with the Lord's churches. Preachers and members need to be actively telling-forth the Gospel: telling sinners about the medicine and urging them to take it. We know from the Bible that none of those not first given life by the Holy Spirit (being born again or regenerated) will have the ability to come to Christ. But they are welcome to come and we must express that welcome to them. We understand that depravity includes inability. And while we must caution sinners not to have confidence in themselves and in their supposed abilities, they must be urged to come to Christ or else they will not be saved.
Jesus said, “For many are called, but few are chosen,” (Matthew 22:14). You and I have nothing to do with the choosing. That is God's business. The call spoken of in this verse is not the effectual (effective) call. It is the general call that goes out to the “many.” Sounding out that universal or general call - that is our business. We do not have to concern ourselves or be bothered that any whom we call by our gospelizing may not be among those chosen by God. Nowhere are we given the idea that we are only to witness and preach the Gospel to the elect. We cannot know whom the elect are until and unless they experience salvation. And this we know by observing their godly sorrow, repentance toward God, faith in Christ and the fruit of the Spirit as their lives are changed. Our job is to be involved in the calling by our witnessing to the lost: gospelizing or evangelizing sinners.
In preaching the Gospel we must confine ourselves to biblical ideas and practices. The idea of inviting men and women to come to Christ is not one and the same as inviting them to “come forward” at the close of a church meeting. Nobody did that in the New Testament and many were truly saved in that era. What often happens because of such non-biblical “invitations” is that people are deceived into thinking that they are saved because they did something. “Coming forward” is a physical act. Sinners must understand that coming to Christ is a purely spiritual matter. Even when Christ was alive on earth coming to Him physically or geographically did not guarantee salvation. While the Gospel can be preached dealing with a multitude of subjects if it is to be preached scripturally it must be preached from the sovereign grace viewpoint: but it must be preached.
The Gospel or good news is just that: it is in essence the news that Jesus Christ died, was buried and arose as a payment for sins. That “evangel” is what we are to tell to the lost. Remember Paul's words: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures,” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). And again: “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Acts 20:20-21). The question for us is this: are we testifying to all ethnic groups that they need to repent of their sins and come in faith to Jesus Christ? Are we witnessing to them telling them that salvation is to be had only in the Lord Jesus Christ and His payment for sins?
Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726