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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

December 11, 2015

Preaching the gospel with boldness

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

What did Jesus preach first when He started to preach? He preached the gospel of the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-15). Today Jesus, as the head of the church, continues to work through us to preach that same gospel.

We won't win any popularity contest with the gospel message, because part of that message can be painful for those who hear it. Being reconciled to God is impossible without an admission of guilt and a resulting change in life orientation. People have sinned and need to turn away from that way of life.

Are we aware of the fact that repentance was a major aspect of the message Jesus and His apostles preached? The Greek word for repentance, "metanoia", means a change of mind. It complements the Hebrew word "schub", which means a change from the wrong way to the right way.

People don't like to be told that they need to change. That's the way it was in Jesus' day, and He tells us that we will be treated in similar fashion like He was. "A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also" (John 15:20).

The "success" of our preaching the gospel is not reflected by numbers or the approval of our audience – how many members we have or whether our readers praise us for our message.

Let's not forget what God told the prophet Ezekiel when He sent him to the house of Israel: "And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words . . . do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house. You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious" (Ezekiel 2:6-7).

We should boldly preach a clear message, as God's prophets of old did: "Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet; tell my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins" (Isaiah 58:1).

We need God's help in fulfilling this responsibility, so the message itself is emphasized. We have to avoid conveying the impression that we are superior, judgmental or know-it-alls. In years past we sometimes did not avoid that impression, by our choice of words and the tone of our message. We need to pray that we God will strengthen us to be bold and thoughtful in our choice of words, enabling us to preach His gospel message clearly with strong conviction!

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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