OceanSide church of Christ
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IS THE GOSPEL BEING PREACHED AT OCEANSIDE?
Victor M. Eskew
The charge has been levelled against the OceanSide church of Christ that we are not preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, it has been said that we do not preach very much from the New Testament. As the preacher at OceanSide, I take such a charge very seriously. The elders who oversee this congregation should also take the charge seriously. In fact, every member of the OceanSide congregation should be deeply concerned about this accusation.
Jesus told His apostles, saying: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). This is what we are supposed to be doing today if we are following in the footsteps of those early pioneers of the truth. The first question that must be asked is: “What is the gospel.” The definition of the gospel from the lexicons is very simply “the good news.” It is the good news of salvation through the Savior, Jesus Christ. In I Corinthians 15:1-4, Paul defines the gospel as the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again, the third day according to the Scriptures.”
If the gospel is not being preached at OceanSide, then we are telling others about the good news. We are not proclaiming the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This could not be farther from the truth. This year messages about “Christ Crucifed” and “The Resurrection” were proclaimed. Numerous lessons have had points that have emphasized the importance of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Two times every Lord’s day, we tell individuals exactly what they need to do in order to partake in the blessings of the Lord’s death. We do this when we extend the invitation.
The gospel can also be defined much more broadly than just the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. The gospel can be defined as the entirety of the New Testament of Jesus Christ. All twenty-seven books of the New Testament are part of the gospel. Paul told the saints in Rome that he was “ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also” (Rom. 1:15). He exhorted the Christians in Philippi to let their conversation be as it becometh the gospel (Phil. 1:27). In these contexts, the gospel refers the entire New Testament. The good news of Jesus Christ and the life He came to give all men is found from Matthew 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. All of this is to be preached by the faithful minister of the gospel of Christ. Paul told the young evangelist Timothy to “preach the word” (II Tim. 4:2). Paul himself affirmed that he had proclaimed all of the counsel of God to the Ephesians (Acts 20:27).
If the gospel is not being preached at OceanSide, then we are not teaching out of the New Testament of Jesus Christ. Again, this is not the case. During the course of this year, this writer has proclaimed a series of lessons entitled: “Our Responsibilities to the Truth.” We could have just as easily entitled the lessons: “Our Responsibilities to the Gospel.” During the course of 2017, I have also preached 23 lessons from the book of I Thessalonians. The last time I looked, the book of I Thessalonians was part of the New Testament of Jesus Christ. I have not kept a record of the ratio, but the bulk of the quotes that I put in my sermons are from the New Testament. This writer is convinced of the truth of the gospel of Christ. I am sure that it is the only saving message for mankind. I make certain that I stick to the good book.
Some people are too narrow in their definition of the gospel. Again, it involves all that is found in the books from Matthew through Revelation. The gospel can also be found in the pages of the Old Testament. Some have rightly said: “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed.” Anything that we preach that is truth is part of the gospel of Christ. The home is part of the gospel. Growing in Christ is part of the gospel. The numerous traits the Christian is to possess are part of the gospel. Anything found in the books, chapters, verses, and words of the New Testament are part of the gospel. The preacher has a responsibility to proclaim all of them. It is a daunting task. It is extremely difficult when we limit our preaching of the gospel to only 1 hour (2 thirty minutes sessions) each week. Fortunately, we also have two 40 minutes periods of Bible study each week wherein we can teach the gospel. This speaker does all that he can to preach all the counsel of God. We have preached about “Longsuffering” and “Gentleness.” We have preached about the responsibilities of mother and fathers. We have spoken about sin. We have dealt with the inner man. We have preached on aging, the love of Christ, giving, , prayer, the need to evangelize, Christian maturity, the Christian’s example, the traits of a Christian soldier, and Bible greats such as David, Jonathan, and John the Baptist. Recently, we began a series on “The Sayings of the Crucifixion.” Dear reader, all of these topics and studies are found in the gospel of Christ. In addition to this, we have had a monthly class on the first Thursday of the month that deals with “Denominational Doctrines.”
Anyone who makes the charge that OceanSide does not preach the gospel is making a false charge. Are there thousands of topics upon which to preach? Yes! Can a preacher cover them all in a year? No. In fact, he only has about 90 to 100 times to be in the pulpit during a year. To preach one thousand lessons would take about 10 years. Ministers do the best they can do to be balanced and to address the needs of the local congregation. They can only cover so much material. As long as they stay true to the book, they need to be encouraged. They certainly do not need to be accused of not preaching the gospel when such is not the truth. The OceanSide church of Christ loves the New Testament of Jesus Christ. We believe in it, proclaim it, and seek to live it out in our lives.