Most Churches Never Preach the Gospel
By David J. Stewart | March 2018
1st Corinthians 15:1-4, “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.”
The sad and tragic truth is that there are churches, even independent Baptist churches, where “THE GOSPEL” is never preached. I have been in horrible churches and seen this myself. Not too long ago I visited a Vacation Bible School at a local Baptist church, with a church fellowship to follow. I was horrified as I beheld about a hundred children, being told to ask Jesus into their heart to be saved. That was the end of it. There was no mention of the facts comprising “THE GOSPEL.”
What is “THE GOSPEL.” The word “Gospel” means “Good News.” What is this Good News? Take a look again at our text verse above. “THE GOSPEL” is comprised of three things: Christ DIED on the cross for our sins, He was BURIED, and He bodily RESURRECTED from the dead three days later. That's it! That is “THE GOSPEL.” If you teach anything else to someone you are “accursed” by God. Galatians 1:8, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” There you have it, the plain and simple truth!
With these truths in mind, it is horrifying to realize that Roman Catholics are accursed by God with their sacramental salvation. Mormons are accursed by God with their requirement for water baptism and good works for salvation. Seventh-day Adventists are accursed by God with their Lordship Salvation, and adding keeping the Sabbath Day to be saved. Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims are accursed by God because they entirely reject the Gospel truth. Lordship Salvationists, like Dr. John MacArthur and Evangelist Ray Comfort, are accursed by God because they add discipleship to faith, requiring that people forsake willful sinful behavior to be saved. These are all false gospels, accursed of God.
Of course, in order for news to be “good,” there must first be something bad by which to compare it. Otherwise why would it be Good News? If you receive word that a loved one is in good health, there must have first been a concern about their well-being. Likewise, the reason why the Gospel is “Good News” is because of the bad news that all men are guilty sinners in the sight of a holy God (Romans 3:19-20; Romans 3:10-23); and therefore, the wages of sin is death. We are all sinners, deserving of eternal damnation in the Lake of Fire for our sins (2nd Thessalonians 1:8-9; Revelation 20:12-15. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” So the bad news is that every human being is going to die, because we have all sinned against God. And that “death” includes a “second death” (Revelation 21:8) in the Lake of Fire (i.e., Hell). So it is definitely “Good News” that we can have our sins freely forgiven and obtain eternal life, simply through faith alone in the redemptive work of Christ on the cross. In other words, you MUST admit that you are a sinner in God's eyes to be saved. If any man denies being a sinner, the truth is not in him (1st John 1:10). Every born-again child of God KNOWS they are a sinner!
The biblical Gospel, which was delivered by the apostles, is simply that salvation comes “TO THEM THAT BELIEVE” on the Good News (i.e., Gospel) of the precious Lord Jesus Christ. 1st Corinthians 1:21, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” In Acts 2:41, the Bible says as Peter was preaching the Gospel, about 3,000 people gladly received his words and were immediately saved. There was no unbiblical probationary period to watch their lives, to see how they live. There was no unbiblical six month waiting period before baptizing them with water (which is one's public profession of faith in the Gospel). There was no unbiblical requirement to turn away from sinful behavior, follow Christ, surrender all to God, nor to make Jesus the Lord of their life to be saved. No, the Bible says that as they HEARD THE GOSPEL, they “gladly received his word” and were immediately, freely and forever saved!!!
This is why the apostle Paul asked the confused churchgoers in Galatia... “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Galatians 3:2). Isn't that beautiful? We get saved simply by receiving the Gospel by faith when we hear it preached!!! If you hear the Gospel being preached, and in your soul you decide, “That is what I am trusting in to get me to Heaven!,” you are now saved my friend! It is that simple. You need not pray a prayer. You need not open your mouth. You need not confess to anyone that you have decided to trust the dear Savior. You need not join a church. You need not be water baptized, but doing so is the first step of obedience as a believer, and you should do so to please God as His child.
And may I say, I don't care if it has been 25 years since you got saved, if you have never been water baptized, you should still get baptized to identify with a local body of believers, that is, a local New Testament church. In Acts 2:41, about 3,000 souls were saved and then water baptized, added to the church (i.e., the local church at Jerusalem). They didn't need to be water baptized to be saved. The moment they believed they became a part of the Body of Christ, but there has never been a universal “Church.” Jesus is the Head of the Church, which is the Body of Christ (of which EVERY believer is an important member). But until the Rapture, when all of the saints throughout history will be assembled together for the first time, we only have local New Testament churches spread throughout the world. And praise God for every one of them! I was saddened this week, when a pastor from Canada e-mailed me, requesting for their church to be delisted, because they have closed their doors. How sad! How tragic! Why can't the taverns close their doors? Why can't the abortion clinics close their doors? Not the churches! Please say it isn't so!
The Bible is not “THE GOSPEL.” It is not enough to merely say that you believe the Bible. The Devil believes the Bible. James 2:19 says the “devils also believe” and tremble, knowing that judgment day is coming. James 2:19, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” You see, the devils believe the Bible, but they don't believe the Gospel. They cannot, for the Gospel applies only to mankind. I do not understand God's relationship with the angels. I find no teaching in the Scriptures about a way of redemption for the fallen angels. The Bible doesn't say that man sinned and then became a little lower than the angels. No, it says in Psalms 8:5 that God “made him a little lower than the angels.” So even in Adam's perfect state, before he sinned, man was still created a little lower than the angels. I am not sure what that means, but perhaps this has something to do with why man has been given a plan of redemption, but the demons have not.
“THE GOSPEL” is something specific. “THE GOSPEL,” as we learned earlier, is three very specific things: Christ DIED on the cross for our sins, He Was BURIED, and then He bodily RESURRECTED the third day according to the Scriptures (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). I worry anytime I hear someone behind a church pulpit teach about salvation, without mentioning the three distinct elements of “THE GOSPEL.” I heard a visiting missionary from Africa tell several hundred church members that, “To Be saved you must know two things: The absolute Lordship of Christ, and His resurrection!” Folks, that is not the Gospel once delivered to the saints! That is not the Gospel handed down from the apostles! Christ's Lordship has no place in the Gospel. Jesus died and rose so He could be Lord of all (Romans 14:9), but that is discipleship, not sonship! Romans14:9, “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” Notice very carefully in the preceding Scripture that Jesus died, was buried and raised up so that, after the fact, He could be our Lord! You see, if Christ hadn't died, been buried and risen from the dead, He couldn't have been anyone's Lord. But Jesus is Lord! You don't make Jesus Lord, HE IS LORD!!! But this is not a requirement to be saved.
Going back to the missionary from Africa, he left off Christ's death on the cross and His burial. Christ's burial is important, because it proved, officially, that Jesus was in fact, dead! I've heard some skeptics speculate that Judas and Jesus conspired together, and that Judas was promised rewards for betraying Christ, and that Jesus didn't really die, and that it was all an elaborately staged hoax! I believe this is why Jesus stayed dead for three days and nights in the grave, so that no one could come back later and claim a mere near-death experience. God knew the way that evil men's hearts work, so He made the Gospel bulletproof. The foolish Pharisees pleaded for Pilate to seal the grave, lest Jesus' disciples kidnap His body and claim a miraculous resurrection. Little did they realize that the best thing in the world they could have done is do nothing, because then there wouldn't have been any official “proof” that Jesus resurrected. But folks, history officially documents that Christ's tomb was sealed by the Roman government itself, guarded by two Roman soldiers, and no one came in or went out!!! And may I say, the stone in front of the tomb wasn't rolled away to let Jesus out! The stone was only removed three days later to let the world see that JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN!!!!!!!
If the Gospel is not presented correctly, then people CANNOT get saved!!! Most religious tracts do not contain the Gospel. Check and you will verify what I just said. Pick up the average religious tract in back of a Baptist church (or any church), and you'll read garbage about inviting Christ into your life, turning away from sinful ways, confessing Christ before men, surrendering your life to God, yielding your will to Christ as “Lord,” making a commitment to follow Christ, making Jesus your “Lord,” being willing to turn from sin, letting go of past ways, making a full surrender of your will to God, et cetera. NONE of these things compromise “THE GOSPEL.”
“Now you say,
'Brother Hyles, you make an issue.' You dead sure better know I'll make an
—BATTLE OF THE AGES (MP3, Dr. Jack Hyles, “The King James Bible crowd is going to come out on top!”)
Souls Are Dying!
Precious Christian Testimonies
How Permanent Is Your Salvation?
(an excellent MP3 sermon by Pastor Hank Lindstrom, 1940-2008)
of the child of God is that he loves everybody!”
(a quote from Pastor Jack Hyles' classic MP3 sermon, “FORGIVENESS”)
Ye Must Be Born Again! | You Need HIS Righteousness!