How to Preach a Sermon without the Gospel in it

By: Deji Yesufu

When history will look back on the 21st Century, people are likely to name this century the age of pragmatism. In our day people are most concerned with how to get things done – quickly and at almost no personal cost. I am told there is practically nothing you cannot find on YouTube. If you cannot open a can of sardine, go to YouTube and somebody would have made a video of how to do it. This spirit of pragmatism has also entered the Christian Church. We are now taught: how to be born-again; how to find a Christian wife to marry; how to become successful; how to pray; how to pray in tongues; and even how to have sex with your wife! In this essay, I want to share with you my readers, particularly the preachers among you, how you can preach a Christian sermon while leaving out the gospel message from it. I suspect that a lot of pastors are already doing this on their pulpit. Perhaps if I enunciate it a little more clearly in the essay, these pastors would make some effort to “improve” on their sermon.

The minister that is really intent on preaching a great sermon and is not too concerned about emphasizing the gospel message in it must spend his time to show the congregation the great advantage in moral suasion. Such a minister must show people that Christianity is about doing good things. “Christ went about doing good…” should be his text taken from the book of Acts. He must then fill his sermons with anecdotes on his life and about persons that he knows who did great things in the past and God, in his consistent manner of rewarding good works, ensured that they got the benefit of what they did later in life. Many sermons in churches are already doing this but we cannot have enough of it. Christians must be taught that the first step into the kingdom of God is premised on what we do; like the great good of “giving our lives to Christ” and then following it up with a lifestyle that is consistent with godliness. Any sermon that factors in these points of good and great morals will certainly come forth as a great sermon that does not need a gospel message in it.

Another way ministers can preach a sermon while leaving out this burdensome gospel message is by preaching a message that emphasizes people’s needs while at the same time proposing means to solve these problems. One reality in a fallen world is that life is full of problems. Of all the problems that human life presents, none is worse than sickness and poverty. In fact while certain people may have broken through the challenge of poverty, sickness may be waiting for them at the end of the road and most times, these illnesses are life threatening. You must have heard of that rich fellow who has only just come into wealth and is looking forward to a life of ease, food and plenty. He has a slight headache and after he is compelled to visit the doctor, he diagnosed with diabetes. The Doctor then list a number of food items he must not eat. He turns to his wife and says that just when he was being delivered from poverty and was already looking forward to eating to his heart content, here is the doctor restricting him. Life indeed can be unfair and the Christian minister is sent by God to help people make meaning of life. When delivering a good Sunday morning sermon, always remember that the people staring at you have problems and they are looking for means to solve them. For the sick among them, ensure that there is a mighty dose of healing anointing in your message. For the poor among them, show them the way to prosperity. This is what Christ came to the world to do: Jesus came to make us healthy and wealthy. When you preach like this, dear minister of God, you would have succeeded in preaching a sermon that does not have the gospel message in it and God will bless you for it.

Before we go any further with more points on how to preach a sermon without the gospel message in it, permit me to use one or two paragraphs to tell us what the gospel message is and by all means, dear minister, preach everything that you may wish to preach but do not include these points in your sermon. The gospel message is the message of God’s works in Christ Jesus in redeeming sinners from their sin and from hell. The gospel is regarded as “good news”; it is a message when birth in the heart of the sinner and God causes him to see, leads to joy and rejoicing. It is good news because of the bad news of God’s judgement on all humanity who had sinned through their father, Adam. Adam sinned and all human beings, who are indeed sons of Adam, have sinned through him. The good news, however, is that Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, was born of a virgin and came into the world with a message of salvation for all men. He would later be crucified by the Romans and he died on a cross. However, our Lord rose from the dead three days later and in doing this, he obtained eternal salvation for all who believe. This is the gospel (the good news) and this news becomes relevant to a man who has been made to understand that he is a sinner and a breaker of God’s holy laws. In this man’s despair, the Holy Spirit must show him Christ crucified and if he turns to look at Christ, even as the Israelites looked to the bronze snake in the wilderness and were healed of their snake bites, that sinner will be saved from the condemnation of hell. This is the good news and like the people of my generation will say: “who gospel help sef”? What is the use of including a gospel message into a deliverance meeting or into a meeting where people are being taught to be rich? The fact of the matter is that in my day and time, the gospel message has no place in many sermons on the pulpit and what a lot of people regard as a good sermon is anything and everything that does not include Christ redeeming men from sin alone. So, kindly permit me to conclude my essay on how to preach a sermon without the gospel message in it.

Another effective way of preaching sermons and leaving out the gospel message is to preach topically as against a careful exposition of biblical text – word for word, sentence after sentence, and verses after verses. What moves people in the pew today are not messages like “Biblical Exposition of Romans 4”. If you want a church to come alive and respond heartily to your sermon, preach a topic like: “Ten Biblical Keys to Financial Breakthroughs in COVID-19 Times” or “How to Demote Your Enemy Forever” or “How to Get a Church Membership of 20,000 people after 6 Months of Starting Your Church”. Such a sermon will be explosive; it will be impressive; and it would attract people. By all means, dear minister, teach topically; do not ever attempt biblical exposition of texts. If you try it, half of the congregation will be sleeping five minutes after you start your sermon. Don’t bother people with what Jesus did on the cross or how the first century Christians lived; who care about olden days people. Most of these biblical characters were dirt poor and they are not worthy examples of a jet-age Christianity. Preach topically and move your congregation to a great height and you will never regret it.

At this point, I would just give you a summary of  some other points you must pay attention to in your sermon – remember you are preaching a great sermon that must not have the gospel message in them. Kindly follow my bullet points below:

  • Preach social justice. Key into the contemporary needs of the time. Make a segment of the people in your congregation feel that they have been made second class citizens by others and tell them that there is hope in Christ Jesus to make them great citizens of their country. Tell them that Christ came to make everybody equal in this world and that government owes their citizens good governance, and particularly equality. Our world has been weighed down by social ills from time and it is the church’s duty to fight for the oppressed. Preach social justice and don’t bother people about Christ and him crucified. Such messages are biblically elitist and will not resonate with the lowly and oppressed of the society.
  • Prophesy to your congregation. Remember that Paul said that we should prophesy according to the measure of your faith; that is right. Spend time prophesying. Label yourself a prophet; tell your congregation that God showed you a dream and build your sermon around such a dream or vision. Such stories bring preaching alive and helps people to identify with what God is doing in the now. Yes, God showed Peter and Paul visions but those where old visions; we need new and fresh visions from heaven. When you preach a sermon laced with prophecies, you will be preaching a great sermon and you will not need the gospel message within it.
  • Finally, by all means ignore Church history. Ignore anything any Christian has written in the past two thousand years. God is doing a new thing and we must key into it. Don’t bother comparing your sermons with what other ministers of old have preached; those guys did not know much. Never approach Bible commentaries – they are the works of dead theologians. Just ensure that you are always in the spirit and ensure that you are receiving new “personal revelations” from the spirit every time and every day. That way your sermon will be fresh and sound, and it would not have any silly gospel message in it. You must always keep in mind our maxim: “who gospel help sef”.

Again these are the last days and the days in which Christ will do great and mighty things through the Church. Any Church that wants to see God work through them must key into the pragmatic spirit of our age. Human pragmatism is what has birth the internet, the technologies and the space exploration we see today. If the Church will not be left behind, we must come up higher to what God is doing in the earth. Our pastors must preach great sermons and not bother themselves with age-old, orthodox, gospel messages.

I end my essay with a prayer: May God grant his Church ears to hear what the Spirit is saying. Amen.

Posted by Deji Yesufu

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