“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as servants for Jesus’ sake…we have this treasure (the gospel) in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not us,” (2 Cor. 4:5-7).
The Gospel will always work. This is obvious, is it not? I am afraid, it is not! In the last two decades, I have noticed, especially, here in Malawi the growing temptation to make the gospel more relevant. We look at the gospel and think that on its own it lacks significance. Thus we seek means of making it more attractive and appealing.
Let me illustrate my point. Slightly over a decade ago, Malawi witnessed the rise of “apostles.”
I even remember one preacher who had to change his title from pastor to “apostle.” His explanation was that God had promoted him. This was all done in order to make “the gospel” more relevant since then people were attracted to the preaching of “the apostles.” Many were made to believe that these apostles had special powers and authority more than a “mere” pastor.
But now things have changed. Apostles are no longer crowd-pullers and they are slowly fading away from the scene. Now enter, prophets! Almost every preacher now claims to be a prophet who receives direct revelations from God. The crowd-pulling mantle has shifted from apostles to prophets. But trust me, just as apostles are now no longer popular, these prophets will also sooner or later fade into oblivion. What will be next? I don’t know. We have to wait and see.
The point is: the gospel is perfectly relevant. It does not depend on anybody for it to work. Preach and proclaim it the way it has been given to us in the Scriptures and it will work because it is the power of God (Rom. 1:16). Charles Haddon Spurgeon once noted, “The Word of God is like a lion. You don’t have to defend a lion. All you have to do is let the lion loose, and the lion will defend itself.” I would paraphrase Spurgeon and say, “Do not bother to make the gospel relevant because is already more than relevant. Let it loose by proclaiming it faithfully in the power and grace of Christ and it will always work.” It will work not because of us, but because its surpassing power is from God.