By Tom Shanklin
I have heard many great sermons, but often I find that one thing is missing. It’s a very simple thing really–the preaching of the cross.
The Apostle Paul said it this way, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18, KJV.
The preaching of the cross IS the power of God! No one has ever been saved without the cross of Jesus Christ.
Billy Graham tells the story about one rare occasion when one of his crusade services had a very small impact. He had preached his heart out, but very few responded to the altar call. Afterwards he asked a friend why he had so little power in his preaching that night. Billy asked, “John, what was wrong tonight?” His friend said, “Billy, you didn’t preach the cross. If you don’t preach the cross and the resurrection, you’ve got no Gospel.”
If you want to see people come to Christ, you must preach the Gospel message. You must tell the people that Jesus died for their sins according to the Scriptures, He was buried and He rose again. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Many times preachers fail to remember to proclaim of the central facts of the Gospel. They use wonderful scriptures and illustrations, and make a strong appeal for people to come to Christ, but the problem is, the Holy Spirit has nothing to work with, because the Gospel message has not been presented.
Let me share with you four basic redemptive facts that God can use to show someone their need for Jesus Christ:
- In the beginning God created everything and He made mankind in His own image, pure and without sin. Genesis 1:1, 26-28
- Man disobeyed God and brought sin and spiritual death on the human race. All of us have sinned and without a Savior we will suffer eternal damnation in hell and separation from God. Genesis 3:1-8, Romans 5.12, Romans 3:23,
- In His love, God sent His Son to die on Calvary and shed his blood in substitution for our sins. He was buried, but then He rose again. John 3:16, Romans 6:23, 2 Corinthians 5:21, ! Corinthians 15:3-4
- If we will repent of our sin and believe in Jesus and His work on the cross, God will forgive our sins, come into our lives by the Holy Spirit, and give us the right to become children of God. John 1:12, John 3:3, Romans 10:9-10
If you will get these basic thoughts in your heart and mind so that you can preach them at the drop of a hat without looking up all the scriptures, then you can go ahead and preach on whatever biblical subject is in your heart, but just include the cross and the resurrection as a part of your message. Since the Gospel message is the foundation of every biblical truth, this should not be difficult to do. Then when you give a call for people to repent and come to Christ, you will find that you will have much greater results!
This message was originally published on this website in June 2014.
Comments on this Article…
I thought you might enjoy reading some of the comments we received on this article.
Yes, the Cross. We can do nothing apart from it. At it rests our salvation. In my early years I was in a meeting of pastors and leaders and remember a pastor sharing about how he was planning his sermons based on the trajectory of spiritual maturity in his church. He started at the cross, for his new believers and went from there, felt his people needed something more. One of the older pastors looked at him and said (in front of all of us), “c’mon son. We don’t just start at the cross, we stay at the cross. We preach from the cross. We never walk beyond the cross and woe to us if we ever try to lead people beyond the cross”. I think I know what the younger pastor meant, at the time felt like the older pastor was a bit harsh. But now, having been in the contemporary church for years, seeing the church try to “make the Bible and Christianity relevant”, I understand what the older pastor meant. Our message is always about Jesus, the atonement, the redemption and transformation that we find in Him. If we don’t get that right, we’re in trouble. (Minnesota Pastor)
“Very good message and I agree with you fully. Preach as Paul did on redemption as it allows one to get the basic message out in one’s message incorporated with what else the Lord tells them to do. It never fails! Bless you. Sooner or later I will run into you just as we did many years ago when you rented a room at the Radisson Hotel. I can feel from your messages that the Lord has blessed you in your mission to reach out from the 5 or so that were at this first, or nearly first, gathering. Bless you as you continue on in your missions for the Lord bring Him to Them in a way they can understand (Rochester, MN)
- God’s Creation
- Satan’s Deception
- Christ’s Substitution
- Our Restoration” (Evangelist from Michigan)
“Thank you for the word. May God bless your ministry as you share the word with the world. We are indeed saved through the precious blood of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.” (Ghana)
“Blessings my fellow soldiers Tom & Susan Shanklin.” (Evangelist from Kenya)
“Thanks Shanklin may God be with you for that advice.” (Minister from Africa)
“Great Message!” (Missionary from South Dakota)
Such a good reminder to remember to always preach the cross.” (Minister from Blaine)
“Great instruction Tom!” (Minister from Oklahoma)
“Tom, this reminded me of one of our evangelist in Africa one year was talking to the team members and said this, “Preach anything you want just so you end up at the cross”. Bless you.” (Evangelist from Virginia)
“That is such a needed and blessed reminder, bro. Tom.” (Wisconsin)
“AMEN!!! I love this.” (Pastor from Mankato, MN)
“This is wonderful e-mail to me carrying sound message of the Cross Indeed you are people of God. Continue sending me your sermons for the spiritual growth of me and my Fellow Malawians.”
“Thanks for the excellent article on the preaching of the cross. This has been a reoccurring theme that the Holy Spirit is revealing to the church. Therefore, I took the challenge and started a series of messages on the Power of the Cross. Yesterday we experienced a wonderful presence of the Holy Spirit during worship, the Word was shared with passion and the altar was filled with believers laying issues, burdens and sin at the foot of the cross. Thank God for his grace and love extended toward us who are being saved. Keep up the good work.” (Pastor from Iowa)
“Great reminder Tom. I’ll remember it and preach it.” (Pastor from northern Minnesota)
“Thank you for the word. May God bless your ministry as you share the word with the world. We are indeed saved through the precious blood of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.” (Minister from Ghana)