The Purpose of Gospel Preaching – Clay Bond

The Purpose of Gospel Preaching – Clay Bond

These words, spoken so long ago, reflect what God wants more than anything. His desire is for His creation to hear His spoken word which is “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). In our age, God has designated Gospel preaching to be the means by which His word is proclaimed to all the earth (Titus 1:3).

There are several implied purposes in Gospel preaching, one of which is clearly seen in Acts chapter eighteen. When Paul came into the debauched city of Corinth, he preached the Gospel which entailed the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Paul proclaimed the power of God’s word to those who were living in sin and called upon them to submit to its transforming power (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Many of the Corinthians who heard the Gospel on this occasion “believed, and were baptized” (Acts 18:8). They were washed, sanctified and justified in the name of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 6:11). Therefore, we see that one primary purpose of Gospel preaching is to convert sinners (Psa. 19:7).

God, who desires for “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4), has designed Gospel preaching to save souls from eternal damnation through knowledge. By hearing the Gospel preached, the lost can come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:14). The truth that can set us free from the bondage of sin is made known through Gospel preaching (John 8:32). Bringing men to the knowledge of truth is, therefore, another purpose of Gospel preaching.

God has no desire for anybody to be lost; His desire is that all would come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9; Acts 17:30). Jesus once warned, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). It is through repentance that we come to the “acknowledging of the truth” that sets us free from Satan’s captivity (2 Tim. 2:25-26). In Paul’s letters to Timothy, knowledge and repentance are linked with salvation (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Tim. 2:25). Both of these elements come through Gospel preaching. Gospel preaching is designed to bring about repentance.

While converting sinners is an important purpose of Gospel preaching, equally important is the edification of the saints. When Paul left Timothy at Ephesus to build up the saints in the most holy faith, he exhorted him to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:2). In order to develop Christian character, those who are converted out of darkness need to hear Gospel preaching (2 Pet. 1:5-8). Paul said, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Gospel preaching feeds our faith and helps us to grow in faith (2 Pet. 3:18; Col. 1:9-11)! Even the most mature of Christians needs to be built up and prepared to overcome temptation (Acts 20:32; 1 Cor. 10:13; James 1:13-14). Through Gospel preaching the Christian learns to deny ungodliness and worldly lust and “live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:12).

In Mark 16:15 we read Jesus’ marching orders to His church, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” When we preach the preaching that God bids us, we can trust that His Word will not return unto Him void. Gospel preaching will accomplish its intended purposes (Jonah 3:2; Isa. 55:11). It will convert sinners through the knowledge of God, it will bring the erring to repentance and it will edify God’s children.

The word of God has the ability to reach into the innermost depths of our being and transform who and what we are. When the Gospel is preached and when it is properly heeded and applied, it produces abundant life (John 10:10). Truly the Gospel is a treasure that has been given to us (2 Cor. 4:7). Thank God for Gospel preaching and may each and every Christian share in Paul’s sentiment, “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16).