“I really can’t remember when I preached a sermon on the ‘plan of salvation’; all our folks are already Christians, so there is no need!” This statement was made to me by a preacher of the Gospel as long as 20 years ago! Evidently many other preachers besides that one followed the same general procedure. This is evident because so many today who are “in” the church (?) do not even know what is required of man to be saved. This is a regrettable and terribly dangerous situation.
Brother T. W. Brents began his book, The Gospel Plan of Salvation with the following words:
Are you “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, one without God in the world?” If so, we propose to assist you in arriving at a knowledge of your duty, in order that you may become citizens of God’s government on earth—children of God’s family—members of Christ’s body, the church—that you may escape the punishment of the damned, and secure for yourselves the favor of God and the bliss of heaven.
—The Gospel Plan of Salvation, T. W. Brents, Gospel Advocate Company, Nashville, TN 1966, Page 7.
The apostle Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). A careful reading of the sermons that were preached during the lives of the apostles shows that mankind was always “told” about his need of salvation from sin and was also “told” what to do to be saved! What can be more important than that?
It may appeal to the “modern” mind set of audiences to deal with some of the “loftier” things of our existence (social turmoil, international crises, crime, etc.), but if one solves all these things and is still unsaved, what is the benefit?
The Gospel preacher who is faithful to his calling will never suppose that he knows better how to convert people than the Holy Spirit does! The Holy Spirit directed the inspired preachers of the New Testament days, and the Holy Spirit, through His Word, directs the faithful preachers of the Gospel today.
Consider the writings of the apostle Peter in II Peter 1:12: “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.” All, who are longing for heaven, love to hear the preaching of the Gospel of Christ that tells them what to do to be saved. Those who have already obeyed these instructions delight in hearing them again and again.
When Paul was instructing the Romans he said, “Know ye not, that so many of as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Rom. 6:3-6).
Had these Romans forgotten that they had been saved by obeying God’s plan of salvation? Perhaps they had not completely forgotten, but they had put this wonderful event so far back in their minds that they needed to be reminded again of their salvation. They needed to be “told” that because of their salvation they had greater responsibilities in living for the Lord. These Christians at Rome had obeyed from the heart that “form of doctrine” that had been preached to them. They had become free from sin and were Christians (Rom. 6:16-18).
Is there a need to continue to preach God’s plan of salvation? Yes. This need will continue as long as there are men in this world! Anyone who “scales back” on the preaching of God’s plan to save man is violating his calling as a Gospel preacher and is allowing people to go headlong into eternity without knowing what to do to be saved. If Gospel preachers will not preach the plan of salvation, people will not hear it. No denominational preacher even believes God’s plan for salvation, much less would he preach it! The so-called “world” religions do not even believe in Christ, the Son of God. They will not present God’s plan of salvation! Gospel preachers, “preach the word” — and that word includes the instructions from the Bible about what man must do to be saved.
-Glenn B. Ramsey