Summary: This sermon is about Christians telling the world their testimony concerning Christ.
"What Is Your Gospel"- 2Timothy 2:8-15
by Rev. A. L. Torrence, Cross of Life Church
During my first year at New Brunswick Theological Seminary, I took introduction to preaching with Dr. Cleo LaRue. It was my hope that this great preacher extraordinaire would help improve my preaching.
Maybe he could tell me how to move from using three points and a poem to experiencing celebration and joy. Maybe if I sat in his class something would rub off. Well, Dr. LaRue began the first day of class by posing to me what seemed to be a very simple question. How many gospels were there? Many of us in the class who were well-studied preachers, Sunday teachers, and even deacons proudly blurted out “four.” There are four gospels, we proudly said. Yet, to our surprise Dr. LaRue shook his head and said, “No, there are five.” Now, I knew that while in seminary, I had to have an open mind and use inclusive language. However, being a Sunday school graduate and scholar, no one could tell me that there were five gospels. Even the youngest child in Sunday school knew that there were only four gospels. Whether you were reading the KJV, RSV, NIV, CEV or any other version. There were only four gospels. But Dr. LaRue went on to explain to me that there are four gospels in bible but there is a fifth gospel in you. He said that world knows of the gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John but people need to know the gospel according to you. If you are to preach and preach well, you need to tell the world about the good news according to Antonio Torrence.
What is you gospel? What are the glad tidings you have to tell about Christ? What are your tidbits about this thing we call Christianity? What is your 411 on the big man up stairs? What do you have to say about the ecclesiastical affairs of the kingdom of God? What is your report on the happenings of heaven? What is your gospel?
And, all Christians should have a gospel. Everyone who professes Christ as their lord and savior should have a testimony about how Christ affected their lives. All who claim inherited rights to the Father should have a story to tell about their experience with his son, Jesus. Oh, you can’t walk this walk without being able to talk the talk. You can’t follow in his footsteps without being able to tell of his goodness. You should have your own gospel. You have your own story. We know that your Mama was a missionary and your daddy was a deacon, but what is your story? We know that you come from a long line of preachers and everyone in your family had religion but what is your story? Who do you say Jesus is? Some call him Elias, other say Jermias, or one of the prophets, but who do you say he is? Mark called him the suffering servant. Matthew called him the King of the Jews. Luke portrayed him as the great physician. And John said he was the Lamb of God, but who do you say he is? The Jews say he was a great teacher and the Muslims call him a great prophet, but who do you say he is? The Jehovah Witness say that he is the Son of God who never rose again, the new age movement says that he was just a moral example of good behavior, but who do you say he is? The world wants to know your story. Society needs to hear your by-line. What’s your gospel?
This is the message of our text. We hear Paul telling Timothy to tell the world about his gospel. Paul, an old experience preacher, is trying to tell Timothy, a ’young-wet-behind-the-ears pastor’, how to address the issues of ministry. Paul tells him to preach his gospel. And that is what we must do here at Cross of Life, preach the gospel.
Paul is telling us to remind the world of this -- avoid godless chatter and disputes about words, and just to preach the gospel. Don’t get concern about godless traditions and rituals just preach your gospel. Don’t get caught up in godless constitutions and by-laws, dogma and doctrine, just preach the gospel. Don’t get distracted with godless concerns over church growth and membership roles, just preach the gospel. Avoid godless commotion over whose name is program and who’s in charge of what service, and just preach your gospel. Avoid disputes about words, which does no good. Avoid arguments over whether its commemoration or consubstantiation, just preach the gospel. Avoid disputes over whether it is ordinance or a sacrament, and just preach the gospel. Don’t get concern over who is serving what to whom, and dipping whomever in whatever, just preach the gospel. Don’t get bent out of shape if they referred to you as being appointed but not called, just preach the gospel. Even if you can’t stand in the pulpit, stand flat-footed on the stoop and preach the gospel. Oh you may be bound and fettered but the word is full and free. You may be limited but the word is infinite. Paul says, "Just preach the gospel."