For me, it all starts by communicating ten words, “Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead.” This is the crisp and effective message that transforms lives and secures our eternal destiny. There is a power in this Gospel that is awesome. It is imperative that you are confident in the message you are communicating and that you communicate it as clearly and simply as possible. As I often explain, “The Bible is 66 books, but the Gospel is ten words—Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead.” It is the preaching of the Gospel that makes evangelistic preaching effective. In order to preach the Gospel, it is crucial that we have a clear understanding ourselves.
We also need to have a heart to communicate the “good news” of Christ to a lost and dying world. You don’t just want to preach to your audience. You want to communicate with them.
It’s been said that too many speakers are like Christopher Columbus. When he started out, he didn’t know where he was going. When he got there, he didn’t know where he was. When he got back, he did not know where he had been. If you understand what you are about to present, that will not be the situation. What is clear in your mind will become clear in theirs. To communicate and not just speak, you must understand that every Gospel message must tell your audience three things:
1. You are a sinner
2. Christ died for your sins and rose again
3. You have to trust Christ
This way, they know their condition, God’s remedy, and their need—to trust Christ. When those three truths are objectively explained, you have communicated—not just spoken.
I find that expository evangelistic preaching is very effective in presenting a crisp, clear Gospel message. Presenting your message in this fashion allows them to hear what God said first. That way, they leave knowing that if they have a struggle with what you said, their struggle is ultimately with God, not you. God’s Word is alive. That’s why to take a particular text and explain it to lost people in a way that is powerful and relevant lends force to your message. However, if you are preaching to reach the lost, don’t assume they have a Bible with them or know where to find the text you are preaching on. Carefully direct them to the text. Also remember they probably aren’t familiar with many stories from the Bible or may not even understand common Christian terminology, so speak their language.
By the way, that does not mean that every expository message that you give has to be directed to lost people. But appealing to lost people through an expositional message directed to believers will be the subject of a future article. The point I’m making is whenever possible, when you speak to lost people, do it through an expository message prepared just for them.
Unfortunately, evangelistic speakers too often have a reputation for being condescending. While we have to explain to people that they are sinners, we don’t have to say it in a way that is pompous. Remember that we are to preach a Gospel of grace, not guilt. The audience needs to recognize they are sinners, but also hear that there is hope for our sinful condition.
When preaching the Gospel message, it is imperative to use repetition. With the fast-paced lives we lead, many of us have lost the art of listening. Repeat whatever is necessary in light of your text, your situation, and their need. The main thing you repeat is the “big idea” in your message. Watch your audience; if they looked confused, restate things in a different light or use an additional illustration.
As you preach crisp and effective Gospel messages, your enthusiasm for the Savior must be displayed. Enthusiasm is contagious. Get excited about the message God has given you to preach and what Christ did on the cross. If you are not enthusiastic about your Savior, they won’t be interested in knowing Him.
Do the above items guarantee that people will come to Christ? No! But that’s not your responsibility. Your job is to bring Christ to people through crisp, clear, evangelistic messages. God’s job is to bring people to Christ. You do your part, and God will do His.