I know this statement will sound crazy to some, but the Gospel is something you don’t hear preached very often in the church today. The funny thing is, others would disagree and say their church preaches it every Sunday. On hearing that, I would have to ask them what they think the Gospel message is.
I’ve read articles and polls in which Christians are asked basic theological questions, and it’s surprising to me how much misunderstanding there is in the church around key doctrines. How on earth did it come to this? Well, it got like this because so many preachers of the Word preach everything but the Word and when that happens, believers lose their foundation. When the foundation is lost discernment goes with it, and then the Gospel simply becomes Jesus loves you. If that is what believers think the Gospel is then I guess they do hear it a lot.
“Jesus Loves Me” is a children’s Sunday School song, but unfortunately, many haven’t grown beyond that to a full understanding of Christian doctrine. When we tell unregenerate people that Jesus loves them, and they just need to ask Him into their hearts, we are doing them a great disservice. They don’t know why they need Jesus, what He did, or possibly even who He is! Therefore, believers have to understand the Gospel before they can share it.
In the parable of the sower, the sower is throwing good seed, and it is the ground that determines whether it grows or not. Today, believers are throwing bad seed that won’t even grow on the good ground, all because the church has moved from teaching the basic principles of Christianity. The writer of Hebrews wrote in frustration to his audience that:
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child (Hebrews 5:12-13).
It’s important that Christians get the basics right so that we won’t be like children as mentioned in Hebrews. When we have sound doctrine locked in, we aren’t tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind (Eph. 4:14). The basics are in the Bible, but it must be read book by book, not a verse here and a verse there.
So, for anyone thinking the Gospel is wrapped up in just saying Jesus loves you, please sit down and read Romans 1:1-16:27. When you’re done, you will fully understand not just that Jesus does indeed love you, but how and why.