It is a great privilege to be able to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in an official capacity. To be called of God to proclaim the gospel in an official capacity carries with it a grave responsibility which is why the Bible warns against becoming a spiritual teacher too quickly. “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation” (James 3:1). Because of the seriousness of dissemination of the gospel, it is important for every pastor, every evangelist, and every missionary to respond to the question, “What should be preached?” Let me suggest the following.
Preach the gospel, first, last, and always. The gospel is the good news about the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ with emphasis upon His death, burial, and resurrection. “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Preach a simple gospel. Speak in such a way that the common person can understand what is being said. When Jesus taught in the Temple, He spoke in such a simple manner that “the common people heard Him gladly” (Mark 12:37).
Preach a thoughtful gospel. God is a rational God and invites a reasonable dialogue with individuals. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). The communicator of the gospel must study diligently in order to preach rationally with depth and insight. A superficial reading of the Biblical text will not satisfy souls which are spiritually thirty. The sense of a text is desired. While “much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12), it is important for the gospel communicator to “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Preach a historic gospel. While the Holy Spirit is pleased to make personal application of the Word to a particular heart, the subjective interpretation and declaration of the Scripture must be avoided. When the historic faith is dismissed, error arises. Jude 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
Preach a complete gospel. There are many gospel truths which are difficult to understand. Speaking of Paul’s epistles, Peter acknowledged he wrote of “some things hard to be understood” (2 Peter 3:16). Nevertheless, the whole counsel of God must be proclaimed (Acts 20:27).
Preach until the Lord tells you to stop preaching. Finish the course. Acts 20:24, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Every ministry has a termination point, including that of Billy Graham. But preach until you known your course is finished (2 Timothy 4:7).
Finally, preach the gospel in an ethical manner. Part of being ethical in preaching in the local assembly is to honor what the congregation has officially adopted as its Confession of Faith. Either preach consistently with that Confession or let it be known that you do not regard it as binding and you will preach something contrary to what has officially been agreed upon. If a Confessions of Faith is found to be in error, then the error should be addressed and corrected, but not dismissed or ignored.
Most of all preach the Word of God in season and out. Never, never stop preaching Christ and the great doctrines associated with the salvation of the soul by grace through faith. “It was strictly forbidden to preach to other prisoners. It was understood that whoever was caught doing this received a severe beating. A number of us decided to pay the price for the privilege of preaching, so we accepted their [the communist’s] terms. It was a deal; we preached and they beat us. We were happy preaching. They were happy beating us, so everyone was happy” (Richard Wurmbrand, Tortured for Christ).