The Centrality of Jesus in the Message of the Evangelist
"Keep the main thing the main thing."
I’m sure you have heard this quote many times, but this is huge when it comes to the centrality of Jesus in the message of the evangelist! Jesus and His Good News is the “main thing” we evangelists need to focus on. Too often I’ve heard how Christians are known for what we are against, rather than what we are for. We are for Jesus and reaching as many people as possible for Him! Like the Apostle Paul, let’s keep Jesus the center of our message as we preach, because He is the Gospel.
I love what Paul writes to the church in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” With all my heart, I believe evangelists need to preach sermons focused on Jesus and make a bullseye on the Cross. Charles Spurgeon, the great pastor and preacher of the 1800s, has been known to have said about his sermons, “I take my text and make a beeline to the Cross.”
Whether I’m preaching in America to atheists or agnostics, or in Asia speaking to Hindus, or in Africa preaching to Muslims, I don’t focus on other religions. I focus on Jesus! Don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe evangelists need to understand the culture, customs, and religion of the audience they are preaching to, but I have found it distracts from the Cross when we get side-tracked addressing other religions. My friends, focus on Jesus! He alone needs to be your central message as an evangelist.
One time I was preaching the Gospel at a Syrian refugee camp in Serbia. It was amazing to preach to hundreds of people from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, and Bangladesh. Most of the audience was Muslim. During my message several people in the crowd shouted out, “Allah is the only way!”
Believe me, it was intense, and I prayed more fervently in ten seconds than I ever have before! I was tempted to refute why Allah is not the way to heaven, but the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and reminded me to focus on Jesus. I preached John 14:6 and Acts 4:12 and took them to the Cross and the empty tomb. Simply put, I preached Jesus! The Lord showed up as many people gave their lives to Jesus! My friends, we share, and God saves. It’s important we stay focused on Jesus.
Here are three main points I use in preaching the Gospel and hope you find them helpful.
Focus on the Life of Jesus.
In my messages I take people from Creation to the Cross. Even in America today, most people are so illiterate when it comes to Jesus and the Bible that I start from the beginning…literally, “In the Beginning,” Genesis 1:1. Tell a story about the life of Jesus. Why did Jesus, the Messiah, need to come? What did He do while He ministered on earth?
Focus on the Death of Jesus.
As I mentioned above, taking people to the foot of the Cross is paramount! John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:21, and 1 John 4:10 are some great verses to preach on the Cross of Christ. Help people understand the significance of the Cross. God’s love, grace, and forgiveness in Jesus’ death on the Cross is crucial for the unbeliever to hear. Jesus died for them that they might live (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Focus on the Resurrection of Jesus.
The Resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone of our message. Jesus rose again and is alive today! That truly sets Jesus apart. He has the victory, and oh, how we need to share His hope and victory over death and sin with as many people as possible! I believe no Gospel message is complete without preaching the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because He lives we live, and He offers everlasting life to all who believe.
In conclusion, I pray you will keep Jesus your focus as you preach the Gospel. He is the Savior of the world and we have the greatest privilege and honor of all to take His Good News to the ends of the earth. Be encouraged and excited as I leave you with Romans 10:13-15, “For everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’”
Let’s be the feet of those who bring the Good News of Jesus as we keep Him the center of our messages. All for Jesus!
Reid was born and raised in Petaluma, California. At 17 years of age, Reid surrendered himself to the Lord. As a young Christ-follower, he recorded many of Billy Graham’s messages, marveling at the power of God’s Word to touch hearts and change lives. He attended Western Baptist College (Corban University) in Salem, Oregon and Multnomah Biblical Seminary in Portland, Oregon, where he received his Master of Divinity. He also gained valuable training and experience as an intern at Luis Palau Association. In 2002, Reid founded the Reid Saunders Association (RSA).
When he is not working, Reid loves spending time with his wife, Carmen, and their three children. He enjoys golfing, reading, laughing at his own jokes, and ultimately, telling people about Jesus.