Preach Jesus Christ and him crucified. Preach that simple message clearly and consistently. As it has been said by another great preacher, take your text and make a beeline for the cross.
2. Refusing to Do a Consistent Invitation.
Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. (Acts 18:4)
The Apostle Paul’s habit was that, whenever he preached in front of a crowd that had unbelievers, he gave the Gospel. He gave it with the intention of seeing souls saved and lives changed.
As I’ve preached in churches across the nation for the last three decades of ministry, I’ve seen people come to Christ, often in droves, in the vast majority of churches I’ve preached in. Is it because I’m the best preacher? Nope. I am not.
But it is because I give the Gospel every time I preach. And when the Gospel is declared it has power to save the lost (Romans 1:16).
3. Forgetting to Speak to Unbelievers Specifically.
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10)
Jesus focused on reaching unbelievers during much of his earthly ministry. He hung out with them, healed them, ministered to them and invited them to join the fold. In Luke 15 Jesus tells the story of how the shepherd is willing to leave the ninety nine to go on a search and rescue mission to find the one lost sheep.
Even if 99% of the people attending our churches are believers we must leave the safety of preaching to believers to invite the 1% of the lost in our midst to believe in Jesus. And as we do we must make it clear that we are inviting the non-believers to believe in Jesus.
Too many invitations miss the mark by calling believers and unbelievers to the same action points. Instead we must call the believers to act on the message of the sermon and the unbelievers to act on the message of the Gospel. Jesus himself said it this way in Luke 5:32, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Jesus wants to call sinners to repent (change their minds about sin, self and salvation) through your message.
4. Not Being Compelling Enough.
At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. (Acts 14:1)
We must speak effectively, compellingly and persuasively. The Greek word for persuade (peitho) means to gently win someone over, to gain one’s goodwill. It is used 8 times in the New Testament when it comes to evangelism.
That’s why many used to call evangelism “soulwinning.” It’s not a push, but a pull. It’s not coercive but compelling. As I’ve heard someone explain, it’s not sales but marketing.
We must make a case for Christ and the cross. We must, like Paul and Barnabas, speak “so effectively” that many believe. Yes, God is sovereign in evangelism, but our sovereign God uses humans as his instruments of redemption. And, in many cases, the clearer and more compelling we are, the more people respond.
5. Subtly Adding Works to the Gospel.
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! (Galatians 1:8)
These are strong words for every preacher to ponder. In essence the Apostle Paul is saying, “Even if Timothy, Barnabas, Luke or myself starts preaching a Gospel that adds one thing to simple faith alone in Christ alone let him fall under God’s judgment. Even if Michael the archangel or Gabriel his messenger, presents a works-based message to you, then they will be accursed.”