Don Fortner

Why doesn't your pastor preach the gospel? I know that your immediate response to my question is - "My pastor does preach the gospel. He preaches the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus." If that is all there is to preaching the gospel, then Roman Catholics, the Church of Christ, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormans, and Baptists are all preaching the gospel. Of course, many are foolish enough to think that is true; but it is not. I rejoice that God has raised up many men who do faithfully preach the gospel of Christ. But most preachers, even most Baptist preachers, do not. They preach another god, another spirit, another Jesus, and another gospel. The Apostle Paul spoke very plainly about this matter in Galatians 1:6-8 and in II Corinthians 11:1-3.

The gospel is not the mere historical fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God died at Calvary 2,000 years ago, was buried in the tomb of Joseph, and rose again the third day. James tells us that the devils believe that and tremble. The gospel is the plain and biblical declaration of HOW CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES. This is what the Apostle Paul tells us - "I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, H O W that Christ died for our sins ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES' (I Corinthians 15:3).

How did Christ die? What did Christ accomplish in his death? What do the scriptures teach us about the death of our Lord Jesus Christ? First, the Lord Jesus Christ VOLUNTARILY laid down his life for us. "I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd GIVETH his life for the sheep" (John 10:15). "I lay down my life that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I LAY IT DOWN OF MYSELF. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (John 10:17-18). Our Lord did not die as the helpless victim of circumstances. He was born at Bethlehem for the express purpose of laying down his life at Calvary in the place of his people. Secondly, the Son of God died VICARIOUSLY in the place of his people. That is to say, he died as a real Substitute in the place of God's elect. "He hath made him to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (II Corinthians 5:21). "For the transgression of my people was he stricken!" (Isaiah 53:8). Christ did not die for every person in the world, hoping to save everybody. The Bible nowhere says that he did. Christ died for every sinner in the world who believes on him, and his death secured their faith in him. He died as a Substitute for God's elect. And thirdly, the Lord Jesus Christ died VICTORIOUSLY, accomplishing the redemption of his people. He did not try to redeem. He did redeem. He did not make it possible for all men to be redeemed. He actually "Obtained eternal redemption for us" (Heb. 9:12). He did not make it possible for sin to be put away. He "Put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Heb. 9:26). When he cried, "It is finished", redemptions work was done. All the people of God were justified and pardoned by his victorious death. His atoning sacrifice was a real atonement for sin.

Why doesn't your pastor preach the gospel of Christ's effectual redeeming work at Calvary? Could it be that he is ashamed of the gospel of Christ?