I walked into the auditorium to Laurie’s words “God’s story of 2000 years ago is relevant today. The story of Jesus is relevant today, and God’s Word is relevant today.” Speaking to a room full of pastors and church leaders, Laurie continued. “If you build your church on the razzle dazzle, your people will come expecting it. If you build your church teaching the Word of God, your people will come with their bibles open, ready to learn.”
Laurie spoke for nearly an hour, basing his comments from Paul’s open air sermon on Mar’s Hill in Acts 17. Like Paul, he spoke about our nation as a place that is unfamiliar with Jesus, his claims or his saving power. Laurie didn’t spend time with tradition, doctrine, or talking about his how church does church, because the Resurgence conference isn’t about policy, programs or doctrine. Preaching the gospel of Jesus is about reaching the culture with an eternal message, not a 2000 yr old message, or a few hundred year-old traditions. Laurie concluded his conversation with the attentive audience with these six points.
1) Preach Jesus. If pastors miss this first maxim, Laurie said the next five points don’t matter. Churches need to have a burden for the lost. We’re not called, nor can we build Christian bubbles, holy huddles, or decaf discipleship.
2) Be culturally relevant. From the pulpit preach the gospel, teach the word. We have to be transformed by the gospel before we can be culturally relevant.
3) Preaching must be biblical. Don’t form a message around an illustration and then find text to match your point. Build your message around the biblical text, and then find illustrations to promote God’s word, and his text. God’s word is what transforms a life, not the preacher’s points and illustrations. Laurie compared the power of God’s word to change a life to the power of a lion to tear a life apart. “A preacher’s job is to let the lion out of the house.”
4) Preach the Cross. Our Message must be focused on Jesus crucified, and risen for the forgiveness of sins. Laurie says that Christians must preach the cross. He includes an evangelistic nugget in every sermon, regardless of his teaching topic.ad lunch with Billy Graham.
- Laurie told the story of having dinner with Billy Graham, and he asked him “Billy, what would the older Billy Graham say to the younger one?”
The aging, retired evangelist responded, “Preach more on the cross and Jesus crucified. That’s where the power is.
- The Resurgence is a particularly Calvinistic movement. Founded by Mar’s Hill Seattle and Mark Driscoll, who is from the Calvinist tradition, he admits that because of their doctrine, evangelism isn’t always on the front burner. Laurie quoted famous evangelist DL Moody’s comment on election. “God, save the elect, and then elect some more.” A preacher’s job is to preach and present the gospel.
5) Preach the whole gospel. Laurie quoted Conference founder Mark Driscoll, “The central feature of preaching Jesus is a call to repentance.” Regarding the cultural response to the place and applicacy of repentance in today’s preaching, Laurie said, “You don’t appreciate the good news until know the bad news. When people say there are too many fire and brimstone preachers, I ask, ‘Where are all the hell fire and brimstone preachers?’ I don’t know many. We need some more.”
6) Leave results to God. God is about numbers. The Book of Acts recorded the numbers of people saved as a result of the apostles first few sermons. The gospel writers recorded the numbers of people Jesus fed when he multiplied bread and fish. Laurie insisted that God is about numbers, but the results are up to him. Laurie wrapped up his comments based around Matt 9.38. Jesus asked his disciples to pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into his harvest. “It’s His harvest, and his laborers. Our job is to be faithful.”