Monday, August 29, 2016

Preaching1. You haven’t preached a gospel sermon until you have ended it with the five step plan of salvation, which is: 1) Hear, 2) Believe, 3) Repent, 4) Confess, and 5) Be baptized.

Although each of these points may be found in scripture, a five point listing was not popular until a pioneer preacher, by the name of Walter Scott, introduced the “seed” in his 6 point system in 1827.  His was 1) Faith, 2) Repent, and 3) Be baptized which brought 4) Forgiveness of sins, 5) The gift of the Holy Spirit, and 6) Eternal life.  However, rather than mention all 6 points, Scott and Alexander Campbell usually gave the first three in their invitations.  It took another one hundred years for the list to morph into the present tradition.

One will not find a singular verse in his Bible where the five are listed together.  Neither will one find that style of invitation being used by any inspired apostle or prophet.  For example, Peter did not give a hymn book number for an invitation song before saying, “Save yourself from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40 KJV).  In our English text, his admonition was in six words rather than in five steps.  There is no instruction which required a specific invitation to be given or to identify “a gospel sermon.”  Although there is nothing wrong with such an announcement, it isn’t necessary nor required by God at the end of each sermon.  To require such is to go beyond what is written (2 John 1:9).  Man has the bad habit of making innocent traditions into a “thus saith the Lord,” then believing it is a sin if the tradition is not precisely followed.

At the house of Cornelius Peter first asked a question, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” (Acts 10:47).  Then he “commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” (Acts 10:48).  Notice, the statement to the Gentiles is different than to the Jews (Acts 2:38-39).  Since the five step plan isn’t found in either one, wouldn’t that mean Peter did not preach a gospel sermon nor end either lesson scripturally?

2. One has not preached a gospel sermon if he has not documented his lesson with citations from the Bible giving 1) book, 2) chapter, and 3) verse.

If this “rule” is correct, neither Jesus nor any inspired writer ever preached a gospel sermon!  Chapters and verses were not created for the New Testament until 1551 and 1571 for the Old.  Man was the creator of such, not Jesus or the Holy Spirit.  One is binding what no one practiced for 1,500 years!

Sometimes, inspired writers did not mention the book they were quoting from.  For example, “But one in a certain place testified, saying. . .” (Hebrews 2:6).  Did this omission mean the Hebrew writer’s book was not the gospel since he did not inform his readers that Psalm 22:22 was the scripture being quoted?  Also notice Hebrews 1:5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 13; 2:6, 13; 3:7, 15, and 4:3, 4, 5, 7, as well as the rest of the book do not follow this modern rule!  Someone might believe that the Hebrew writer would have given book, chapter, and verse if it had been available to him, but if so, why didn’t he give the “book” since that was known?  What is illustrated is that folks didn’t have to be told what book was being quoted, they knew!  If anything should be bound, wouldn’t it be the hearer is required to know “the where” without being told?

Matthew and Hebrews have more quotes from the Bible than any other.  Yet neither contained chapter or verse citations.  Only a few citations inform you what book or writer gave the passage being quoted.  Even then, a comparison with the Old Testament quote will reveal that it is not always quoted  word for word!  For example, the Hebrew writer quotes Psalm 22:22 in chapter 2:12 but note the difference or additions.

I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.”  (Hebrews 2:12 (KJV).

I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.”  (Psalm 22:22 (KJV).

If inspiration isn’t word for word when quoting from one testament to the other, why make a rule that rejects a translation that is faithful in following the Spirit’s lead?

There is nothing wrong in supplying book, chapter, and verse, but it is not a biblical rule that one’s lesson must contain such in order to be a gospel sermon.

3. One has not preached a gospel sermon unless he has quoted more than two dozen passages in his sermon.

It is not wrong for a preacher to quote numerous passages from the Bible while speaking.  However, to require such is to place more emphasis upon the preacher’s ability to memorize rather than on the scripture being taught.  Such direction elevates human accomplishment rather than the divine message.  It boils down to being entertained by human achievement rather than being enthused by scriptural content!

So, are we guilty of making rules and binding them when God has not (Galatians 1:6-9; Matthew 15:9)?