No Gimmicks, Just The Gospel
In I Cor. 15:1-4, Paul, in writing to the Corinthians recalls the message that he preached to them. "Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, (2)by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. (3) For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, (4) and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures." Later in verses 56-57 Paul writes what was accomplished through Christ's sacrifice, "The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. (57) But thanks be to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." In Acts 2 Peter preached the same message on the Day of Pentecost. Notice verses 22-24, "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know--(23) Him being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; (24) whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it." In verse 32 Peter said this, "This Jesus God has raised up of which we are all witnesses." And the result of Peter's message is made evident in verses 37-38, "Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' (38) Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'."
The gospel of Jesus Christ is, in itself, a powerful and effective message. It is the only message that can save man from sin. Nothing else has that ability. Paul told the Corinthians that the gospel that he had declared to them was the same gospel in which also they had been saved (I Cor 15:1-2). In Acts 2, following Peter's preaching of the gospel, those who heard were cut to the heart and according to verse 41 about 3000 souls were added to the Lord's church. The gospel is the only message that can save souls in eternity. The lost, those in the world today, who because of sin, are separated from God have a need to hear this message proclaimed and explained so that they may realize the jeopardy they are in regarding eternity. The gospel is sufficient, it is effective, it is powerful, and based upon a person's response to it, it will save man from sin. This message is what the world needs to hear. And yet many denominations and even some among the churches of Christ attempt to draw people in through other means. In many places free health care is offered, free daycare and so on. Free entertainment, concerts, plays, gyms built and maintained from the local treasury offered as "perk" of joining a particular congregation. And yet in the Bible we have no example of anything ever being offered to the world other than salvation through Jesus Christ. The gospel message was the means that was used to cut to the heart of sinners and provide them with the only way to salvation. That same gospel message has not lost its' power today. It still has the power to save man from sin, if one will only obey the commands. When congregations use other means such as "free stuff" or entertainment, they are appealing to the fleshly desires of people. The gospel appeals to the heart and teaches us that we must overcome our fleshly desires in order to properly please God. The point is this, the gospel message of salvation through Christ, doesn't need the aid of gimmicks or appeals to the flesh.
- Garrett Alsip