How Important Is Gospel Preaching?

Isaiah 52:7

††††††††††† All who know the gospel of Godís free and sovereign grace in Christ appreciate those who preach it; but very few, I fear, understand that the preaching of the gospel is absolutely vital to their souls. This is the ascension gift of the exalted Christ to his church (Eph. 4:8-11). Not only is it true that God sends his Word to heal his elect and to deliver us from our deserved destruction (Psa. 107:20), it is also true that all Godís works of grace in chosen, redeemed sinners are accomplished by the ministry of the gospel.

††††††††††† If God speaks to a sinners heart, if God teaches any man anything, if God reveals anything to any of us, he does it through the instrumentality of gospel preaching. Is gospel preaching really that important? Let the Word of God alone decide the issue. The Scriptures plainly tell us that the preachingis absolutely necessary for faith in Christ (Rom. 10:17), --for the new birth (James 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:23-25), --for understanding in the Word of truth (Acts 8:30-31), --for the edification of Godís saints (Eph. 4:8-16).

††††††††††† Without the preaching of the gospel there is no possibility of salvation, sanctification, spiritual growth, spiritual direction, or spiritual stability. God did not give his church the gift of the ministry for nothing. This ascension gift of Christ is not something a person may choose to avail himself of or despise without consequence. If Godís people could get along without pastors and teachers to guide them in and with the Word of truth, he would not have given them.

††††††††††† There was a time when God did not speak for four hundred years. His last word in the Old Testament was given by the prophet Malachi. After that, God sent no prophet into the earth. No angel was sent from heaven. No vision was granted. No word was spoken from the throne of God to anyone upon the earth. What was the result?

††††††††††† Israel had all the law and prophets. The Lord had given them revelation after revelation for two thousand years. Throughout their long history, they alone had been given the Word and worship of God. God sent his prophets to Israel in abundance, and to Israel alone. Surely, that would be enough. Having the written Word of God would surely hold the nation in a steady path. Surely, there would be no need for a mere man to lead the nation. Surely, they did not need a man to instruct them in the ways of God.

††††††††††† Think again. After four hundred years of silence, after four hundred years of men and women acting as their own prophets, the worship of Israel had degenerated into utter abomination. Oh, no, they did not turn to the idols of the gentiles. They did worse. They turned the law and ordinances of God into idolatry! There were found a few people, here and there, who had received instruction, one believer to another, generation after generation, one man preaching the gospel to another; but true faith was such a rare thing that when Christ came, very few knew him. After three and one half years of our Lordís incessant preaching, there were only about one hundred and twenty disciples in the world.

Don Fortner