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Preach through pain, preach the gospel faithfully

by BSCNC Communications
  • Greg Laurie speaks during the 2013 Southern Baptist Convention Pastor's Conference. Photo courtesy Thomas Graham, Baptist Press.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 | 3 yrs old

At age 17 Greg Laurie heard the gospel preached on his high school campus and committed his life to Jesus Christ. Two years later he began a Bible study of about 30 people, which eventually grew into Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California and more than 15,000 church members.

Now, at age 60, Laurie serves as senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, and remains devoted to preaching the gospel that transformed his life. More than 371,000 people throughout the nation and world have received Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior during Laurie’s evangelistic Harvest Crusades.

“I came to the Lord through the preaching of the gospel,” he said. “I’m as passionate about preaching the gospel as I have ever been. I’ll take it a step further: I’m more passionate.”

During the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference in Houston Laurie’s message from Acts 17,  challenged believers to be faithful in preaching the gospel. Laurie shared with participants that the gospel carried him through the darkest valleys, including his oldest son’s death in 2008.

“It tested my faith. If the gospel did not come through for me in my hour of need, I would have given up preaching,” Laurie said. “Everything we go through in life is preparation for something else. With the comfort God has given me, I want to comfort others. We should never waste our pain."

Laurie said pastors should continue to pursue their calling to preach even when it is difficult. “You have to be committed and persistent to what God has called you to do. If you preach to hurting people you’ll never lack for an audience.”

If believers want to see lost people come to know Jesus Christ they must preach the gospel out of a burden for lost people.

“A lot of times we’re too busy arguing with each other to focus on our primary mission, which is to preach the gospel,” Laurie said. “For many, it has become the great sin of omission.”

Pastors must strive to be culturally relevant, following Paul’s example in Athens, yet they must still preach the gospel. “Let’s not trade reverence for relevance. We’re trying so hard to be cool we forget to be accurate. Young people want authenticity in the person speaking to them,” Laurie said.

Laurie urged pastors to preach biblical messages that do not overlook the cross. “Focus on Jesus Christ crucified and risen. If you want your message to have authority, you have to speak on Him crucified.”

Biblical messages present the entire gospel, including the Day of Judgment. Although God’s wrath is one of the hardest things to talk about, “to leave it out is not to declare the whole gospel,” Laurie said.

Laurie reminded believers that the command is to preach and to share the gospel – the results are in God’s hands. Too often believers do not extend a gospel invitation because they are afraid people will not respond. While spiritual warfare can be expected, it does not excuse lack of a gospel invitation.

“One day before we know it we’re going to stand before God,” he said. “When you stand before Jesus He’s not going to say, ‘Well done, my good and successful servant.’ He’s going to say, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.’ Our job is to be faithful to the end.”