Evangelical preaching is preaching from the perspective that all have sinned and are lost souls. We need salvation from God. Not everyone believes this and that includes many of today’s “Christians.” Nevertheless, scripture tells us otherwise:
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:22-24)
Evangelicals believe that a public affirmation of faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord is necessary. Not everyone believes this. Nevertheless, scripture tells us otherwise:
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)
Jonathan Edwards preached a famous sermon “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God.” It helped spark a spiritual revival in the American colonies which is often referred to as the Great Awakening. This revival did much to influence the American Revolution and the formation of this nation. There is no question about it.
Do we ignore such powerful preaching in our day? We do so at our peril.
The objection to the evangelical message is that, for some pentecostal churches, it does not go far enough. On the other hand, if we are not careful, the clear message of salvation can be obscured by an emphasis on signs and wonders which Satan can easily counterfeit.
In liturgical churches, the evangelical message could be considered a threat to the power of the sacraments, particularly baptism. The issue is infant baptism. Good “Evangelical” theology is not so restrictive, however. The Rite of Confirmation in the liturgical church easily meets the criteria of a conscious adult public profession of faith in Jesus Christ, if Confirmation is properly explained and taught. Confirmation must not be a ceremony of reciting church dogma from memory without any understanding of a personal commitment to Jesus. Rather, Confirmation should be about a personal faith, confirmed before the church congregation.
It should be noted that in many evangelical churches, infants are often dedicated to God by their parents before a congregation. This might be considered a type of infant baptism because the parents and the church are declaring that they intend to raise the child in the Christian Faith.
Let us not overlook opportunities to preach salvation. One of the greatest opportunities for evangelical preaching is either at a funeral or a wedding. People are in attendance who seldom darken the door of a church. The sermon must be short and to the point. It is a time to preach salvation by grace through faith. Equally important are Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday services. Those are often the times when attendance swells with people who are desperate for the Gospel. These are not the occasions to dust off old sermons. Again, we must preach for salvation, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us.
The Apostle Paul wrote:
When I came to you, brothers and sisters,[a] I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom.For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)
For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:22-24)
The salvation message of the cross of Jesus should never be neglected.