Session Five: Gospel-Centered Preaching (Preaching to both Christians and Non-Christians) [Harvey Turner]

Harvey Turner book2[These are Session 5 notes (Session 2 of Day 2) from the Preach The Word 2013 Acts 29 West Regional Conference in Reno, NV]



Spurgeon’s grandfather on C.H. Spurgeon: “He can preach the gospel better than me, but he can’t preach a better gospel”

2 Tim 4:1-5 (main focus: “do the work of an evangelist”)

“Anyone new to reformed theology goes through the ‘cage phase’ (Spurgeon)… You should be locked in a cage for a year before you’re allowed to be let out”

The origin of Living Stones Church was taking the Word of God and sound doctrine, and bringing it to those far from Jesus.

We want to preach sound doctrine, and do it in such a way that as many people as possible meet Jesus.

This verse is an exhortation to Timothy as to how he is to lead the church in the public assembly (particularly, having an evangelistic focus)

V1 – Paul understands the weight if this message and responsibility

V1b – this is a reason we need to do evangelism.

Because Christ came, and is coming again.. I have something to say: PREACH (and not just preach..) preach THE WORD

In season, out of season (all the things covered in the last session with Tony Merida) … With the work of an evangelist

V5 – “fulfill your ministry” – its possible to do a lot of ministry and not fulfill your ministry. 

We’re here for a lost world to meet the Savior. We aren’t here to play church, make money, or build a building.

“I didn’t become a Christian because I wanted to be a good person”

“But then I met Jesus, and I couldn’t get enough”

“Growing up, everything I heard was about morals and behavior. I never remember hearing about Jesus”

“How come I came to youth group and we played games and never talked about Jesus??!”

“The interesting thing is that in evangelism, most people enjoy Jesus, they’re bothered with our presentation of Him.”

Jesus promises to be WITH US in that mission (Matt 28)

The Spirit of God loves to magnify Jesus

A sprit-filled church is a church that loves to lift up Jesus.

For the disciples, it wasn’t about evangelizing themselves and no others. They instinctively knew that “make disciples” meant those that are not currently disciples.

For Peter “feed my sheep” meant going to people who were not Jesus’ sheep, making them sheep, and then feeding them.

We are here to call his sheep.

For some people, a church planting strategy means taking a bunch of people from existing churches.

“If your church plant is not fueled by evangelism, your church plant will be a cul de sac of bitter churched people who do little more than bicker about their old church”

“We need to cater our ministry to the people not presently in our ministry” 

What was their evangelistic strategy in the book of acts? “Hey! You know about Jesus?? All those miracles? Yeah He’s alive” 

Cf Titus 1:1-3 – for the sake of the faith of God’s elect (not just the people who are here!!)

Paul’s mentality: “there are those elect that are out there that aren’t here yet.”

“Whether you’re Calvinist or Arminian the objective is the same: get the people out there in here to hear about Him!”

2 Tim 2:10 (talking about those who don’t currently have salvation) he does EVERYTHING with that lens in mind.

We must do everything we do KNOWING there are lost people around us; knowing that we need to invite them in to hear about Jesus.

Every sermon Jesus gave He gave to both groups.

Evangelism and discipleship go hand in hand, not in opposition with each other.

It you are discipling people, evangelism is NECESSARY

“We’re just going deep” –> have you read the Bible?!

“If you’re really discipling people, your people will want to disciple people”

If you’re going to REALLY take people deep you will be raising up an army of evangelists.

(“I didn’t come to call the righteous, but those who do not know me.”)

The call to discipleship is a call to be a fisher of men.

There are tons of churches that are doing a ton of ministry and not fulfilling their ministry

“You know who the best evangelists in your church are? The people who got saved in the last 3 weeks. They haven’t been numbed by our church world”

The chief end of all things is the glory of God.

You know what glorifies God? When sinners meet Jesus.

If we really want to glorify God we must spread Him to where He isn’t already

To fulfill your ministry you must “do the work”

Do the work of evangelism like it depends on you, and pray like it depends on God.

Paul (“the first reformer”) went everywhere preaching to lost people, cause riots, get beaten and thrown out of cities, wake up a couple hrs later and go back in saying “I think there are more elect in there!”

Pastors: this must come from your personal evangelism. (Must have lost people that don’t know Jesus, know how they think, what they say, etc.)

If you don’t have friends that don’t know Jesus, you won’t know how to talk about Jesus in front of them

So how does this start?

Your neighborhood (be a good neighbor. KNOW your neighbors!)

“There are people in my life who come to me with issues and struggles in their lives, look to me as a their pastor of sorts, because they know I can offer them something and they just can’t put their finger on it”

-We must know them if you want to reach then.

We (as a church) have built relationships with the surrounding area (they may not believe in our message but they’re glad we’re here)

•”You don’t invite the lost to an evangelical sub culture, you invite them to Jesus”•

Teach your church in such a way that non believers among you listen in (1 Cor 14) – preach in such a way this could happen!

Keller – talk to non Christians even if they aren’t there (your christians will invite their non Christian friends because they know if they invite them, you’ll talk to them)

You’re also modeling to your church how to do evangelism.

“I want to preach in such a way that I believe that someone is going to get saved (and believe God will do it!)”

God wants to save people more than you do! (Sent Jesus to earth; sent Him to a cross; raised his son and sent the church into the world in the Holy Spirit to reach the lost)

Not seeing the fruit?

Keep at it. (Be mindful of your insider language [church specific lingo; ‘the city’] and theological language)

You can’t just say “in Greek it says this…” (Preface about how it was written in Greek, etc.)

We need to be mindful of our audience and preach/teach as though they are present.

•”When you preach you have to say less and prove more” (Justin Anderson)•

Every one of us is an unbeliever in some part of our lives.

In preaching, PREACH IT.

–A skeptic should be able to say “I don’t believe that, but I know that He believes that”

Leaders, preachers: you are the lead theologian and evangelist for your church

•Everything you do must accommodate (not alienate) the non Christians.

We want to present everything in such a way that Jesus is the only stumbling block they experience –> All too often the church culture is the stumbling block.

“Whatever is celebrating is repeated” (baptism -> invites baptism/lost getting found)

•Do the work “of an evangelist”

The Gospel has to be the center of every sermon.

The Holy Spirit wants to magnify Jesus and if you magnify Jesus there will be people that meet Jesus.

“If I am lifted up, I will draw men to myself”

Our job is to lift up His lifting up (cross)

To be an evangelist you must preach the evangel. 

We do not call them to behavior modification (law) but to Jesus (Gospel).

A good pastor will evangelize the unsaved and the saved in the sermon. (People grow in grace when they hear grace; grow in the Gospel when they hear the Gospel)

(Cf listening to Billy Graham to remember what it’s like to be saved)

If you’re bored with the Gospel you’re missing something!

–Every sermon should have Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter in it (incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection)

  Maybe one reason our churches swell with numbers those days is because those are the only days we actually preach Jesus.

2 Tim 2:8 – remember Jesus Christ!

“Jesus Christ is the point and your sermons don’t have a point if The Point ain’t the point.”

Every piece of the Bible is in the context of a larger story (Jesus)

Your job, pastor, is to walk Jesus’ bride down the aisle

Not to a principle

Not to an application

Your job is to get them to Jesus (the groom), and when you get to Jesus there will be application.

•Application will be spirit-empowered when it is Jesus-centered

If you give then a bunch of law it will only last until Monday afternoon.

“Don’t you know, young man, that from every town, and every village, and every little hamlet in England, wherever it may be, there is a road to London?”

“Yes,” said the young man.

“Ah!” said the old preacher, “and so from every text in Scripture there is a road to the metropolis of the Scriptures, that is Christ. And, my dear brother, your business is, when you get to a text, to say, ‘Now, what is the road to Christ?’ and then preach a sermon, running along the road towards the great metropolis – Christ. And,” he said, “I have never yet found a text that had no such road, I will make a road, I would go over hedge and ditch but I would get at my master, for a sermon is neither fit for the land nor yet for the dunghill, unless there is a savour of Christ in it.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon

(Sometimes there’s a highway to Jesus–it’s direct; other times it has to be more thoughtful and weaved out)

It’s not disconnecting the text then talking about Jesus. They’re connected

The Gospel that is saving you at this moment can save ANYONE at ANY moment

You have to truly believe that the Spirit will save when you preach the Gospel.

Don’t just talk ABOUT Jesus, bring your people TO Jesus. (Not the concepts but the person)

The only way I know to do that is to be with him yourself and to pray (“how do you want to talk to your people this week?”)

-When you’ve been in the presence of Jesus you bring your people into the presence of Jesus

Your people don’t need a great speaker, they need someone who has been with Jesus.

–Jesus as the Greatest Evangelist (left heaven, suffered, called people to Him, accomplished a way)

-He lived with us, among us, for us.

-Preached to us

-Lifted up on the cross for us as an evangelist (had his arms out saying ‘come to me’)

–The Father is so committed to evangelism that He raised Jesus from the dead

–The Holy Spirit is so committed to evangelism that He regenerates the hearts of men.

When Jesus comes back He is coming back to “receive the reward of His suffering.”

When He returns He will gather His people to Himself as an evangelist.


One thought on “Session Five: Gospel-Centered Preaching (Preaching to both Christians and Non-Christians) [Harvey Turner]

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