Full text of evangelist Paul Washer’s sermon titled ‘The Heart of the Gospel’.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Paul Washer – Founder, HeartCry
For me to be here with you tonight. Such a privilege.
My all-time favorite preacher is Charles Spurgeon. And you begin maybe when you start out preaching, when you’re young and you think to yourself, I would like to be like him. It doesn’t take very long for you, a few years, and you realize that’s not going to happen.
The one thing that I most appreciate about Charles Spurgeon is that he admitted that he really only had one sermon, and it was about the cross of Jesus Christ, about the person of Christ.
I also, after reading now many sermons, I find it interesting that it’s not uncommon for him to begin any sermon by preparing the people for a failure.
And after you read for a while and you study for a while and you pray for a while, you begin to understand his burden. You cannot preach Christ. You cannot be a success at preaching Christ. You will never even begin to reach the foothills of the magnitude of Jesus Christ.
The great French Reformed Pastor Adolphe Monod preached 19 sermons on his deathbed, most of them looking up at the ceiling and couldn’t even look at his own congregation. He said this that evangelicals today would not quickly understand. He said, “Oh, the cross of preaching the cross!”.
And what he meant by that was, here is a feeble, tiny, wicked man whose intellect could fit in a pill box, and yet he’s being told that he must talk about the most glorious, most splendid Person, and the most glorious and most splendid thing that has ever occurred.
I love saying this, that you will understand the Second Coming on the day that it happens, but you will be an eternity of eternities in heaven, and you will not even begin to grasp the glory of the cross.
And that is the great burden. The one burden. The thing that most kills my soul is when the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the United States of America is treated like Christianity 101 preschool, that leads to greater things.
If you catch nothing from what’s being said here tonight, know this: there is nothing greater than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is nothing deeper, nothing wider, nothing that so exalts the fullness of all that God is; nothing like the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
You need motivation for Godliness? Then go to the mystery of Godliness, which is God becoming flesh, dwelling among men, taking the sins of His people upon Himself and perishing under His own wrath.
You need motivation? You don’t need a conference. You don’t need to go acquire some fire. You just need to go deeper into the Person and work of Jesus Christ and you will find everything that you need.
I want to say some things tonight that will be, in a sense, common for some of you, but I want you to know that I travel all around the world and I preach some of the things that I’m going to preach tonight. And I have Christians come up to me who have been Christians for 30 years with tears running down their face saying, ‘I never heard that before in my life’.
And yet it’s the very center and substance of the gospel.
What we need to understand here in America is America is not hardened to the gospel; it’s ignorant of the gospel. And it is ignorant of the gospel because most of those preaching it are ignorant of the gospel.
CHARACTER OF GOD
So we want to look at some very common truths about the cross of Jesus Christ and revel in them.
The first one has to do with the Character of God. And I want you to go to Romans, chapter three.
In Romans 3, verse 23, it says, ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’
I find it very, very important that the magnificent intellect of Paul is totally poured out on this truth. Do you realize that the book of Romans is the closest thing we have to a systematic theology? And yet Paul, for the first three chapters of this book, seems to be seeking to only do one thing: to condemn the whole world, to enclose men in the reality of their own depravity, to show them they have violated the law of God, and to show them how horrid, how terrifying that truth is.
And in gospel preaching, you must understand this; unless you are going to deal with men as they stand before a holy and righteous God. Unless you’re willing to do that, then take off the gospel mantle and never preach it again.
In order to know and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, you must go hard after men.
I find it amazing there’s so many evangelical churches today that almost boast in the fact that not only do they not make much of sin, they do not preach on sin.
I can tell them that the Holy Spirit is a thousand miles from their ministry. And I can say it with the authority of Scripture, because one of the principal ministries of the Holy Spirit in the age of the church is to convict men of sin.
So if they are not dealing, they are not willing to deal with men as sinners, they’ll have nothing of the power of the Holy Spirit in their life or their ministry.
And so we see here Paul laboring ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’
Now, there’s lecture after lecture in this, and I would like to go as deep as possible, but time prevents us from doing that. We must go on.
But the one thing that I want you to see is this: in your studying of the gospel and in your preaching of the gospel, you must go deep into Anthropology. You must go deep into what is a man, what has become of men since the fall. And if you’re unwilling to do that, you will never be able to appreciate the cross of Jesus Christ. Never.
I have a question for you. Where did all the stars go this afternoon? Did someone come by with a huge basket and gather them all together and hide them in a closet somewhere?
Where did all the stars go this afternoon? They’re still there. You just don’t see them. Why? Because of all the light.
But when the sun sets and darkness engulfs the sky, what’s going to happen? All those stars will be revealed. It’s the same way: we can only understand the beauty of the grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ if we are willing to see it against the backdrop of human depravity.
It is a magnificent thing that a man would die for a good man. A magnificent thing. But how much more magnificent is it when a God becomes Man and lays down His life for depraved and twisted and dislocated people that have made of themselves monsters?
A reporter came to me one time and he was absolutely furious. He said, ‘Why are you always talking about sin?’
And I said, ‘because I want you to love God.’
He said, ‘how does that make me love God?’
I said, ‘have you never read: she loved much because she was forgiven much.’ And I said, ‘sir, you do not love God much because you do not know how much you’ve been forgiven. Because no one’s ever told you how wicked you are. And I am here to cure you of that malady.’