“Preach Christ:” Paul’s Missionary Message
August 29, 2021
Some sermon topics invariably provoke listeners to experience a sense of guilt:
- Sermons on prayer lead to thoughts of “I don’t pray enough…”
- Sermons on evangelism lead to thoughts of “I don’t tell enough people about Jesus…”
- Sermons on missions lead to questions like “should I go?…” And throw in a picture of a sunset over a field of grain and the question, “should you go…?” and the feelings are compounded.
For at least the next three Sundays, we are going to be thinking about missions — but with the goal of stimulate passion and gratitude. It’s helpful to see what God says about missions because the word “missions” is now used in so many different ways — the social gospel is missions, social justice is missions, outreach (mercy ministry) is missions, evangelism is missions, and some churches even talk about their local church as doing “missional ministry.” So what is missions? That’s our topic at the end of Romans 15.
As Paul prepares to go to Spain — and as he prepares to come to Rome and ask for support to help him get to Spain — he affirms his missionary priorities. In verses 22-29 Paul will talk about his vision for missions — what is his goal and strategy for evangelizing the nations? — and in verses 30-33 he will talk about the empowerment for missions. In these verses (vv. 17-21) he reveals his message for missions; Paul affirms that as he goes to the nations as a “missionary,” he has just one message:
The message of missions is the singular gospel of Christ.
In these verses, Paul tells us what he will tell others when he goes on missionary ventures. There are many possibilities of what he (or any missionary) might do when he goes to a new country. Paul is only interested in one thing — preaching. And specifically, he is interested in preaching Christ. Why does he want to preach the gospel message of Christ? He provides six reasons for preaching Christ as the missionary message:
- Preach Christ Because of What Christ Has Done through Past Preaching (v. 17)
- Preach Christ Because We Only Have Christ (v. 18a)
- Preach Christ Because of How Christ Changes (All) People (v. 18b)
- Preach Christ For the Advance of Christ’s Church (v. 19)
- Preach Christ Because Only Christ is the Foundation of the Church (v. 20)
- Preach Christ Because Missions Has Always Been Only About Christ (v. 21)
Download the rest of this sermon on Romans 15:17-21.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.
[Photo by Irina Iriser from Pexels]