“Just Preach Jesus”?


“Just preach Jesus, and leave everyone else alone.”  Perhaps you have heard someone say that or something similar.  It is usually said as the results of someone preaching a gospel that condemns ungodly behavior or religious division.   IT is said of those who call for Biblical authority in all our practices.  It is usually qualified and personal.  What I mean by that is that most people want to believe in something, but they want it on their own terms.  As long as the preaching is agreeable to what they like or non-offensive, they are fine with it.  But once you begin to question their authority for what they do, they respond with the types of thoughts we began with.

It is no secret that we live in an ecumenical society.  The plea of many is, “Can’t we all just get along?”  Many so-called churches are being filled with little condemnation of sin and little real conviction.  Church for many is about feeling good even if you are wrong.  And it seems to be getting worse every day.   So they will say, “Just preach Jesus, and leave everyone else alone.”

BUT, that poses the question, “IF I were to just preach Jesus would that be leaving everyone else alone?”  Let’s think about this for a few moments.

What is preaching Jesus about?  It is a message that God so loved the world that He sent Jesus to die for us. (John 3:16)  It is a message that Jesus was the promised Messiah and that He died for our sins (Rom. 5:8).  It is a message that He purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28) and it belongs to Him. 

1 Cor. 15:1-5 gives a good summary of the life of Jesus, “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, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.

Let’s stop there, though we could go on.  Could we preach what I have said thus far without offending others?   Consider this:


If I preach that God so loved the world -  I offend Atheists who deny the existence of God.  Atheists don’t believe in God and many don’t want you believing in Him either.  Recall the recent decision of the city of Santa Monica to not allow Nativity scenes to be displayed in public parks?  Right or wrong, the fact is that the reason such was decided was that it offended atheists.   Prayers cannot be said in schools and before public gatherings, etc.  The mere mention of God will offend some.  And sadly, according to statistics that number is growing.


IF I preached Jesus came to this world as the Christ, the promised Messiah – I offend Jews.  They rejected Jesus as the Messiah, and His teachings and works because they proved His claim.  Most Jews today still also reject Him.   It was one of the factors that led to the greatest persecutions as the church was in its infancy. 


IF I preach Jesus as our Savior, or as the ONLY Savior – I offend Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and countless other world religions.  Yet that is exactly what the Bible teaches – Acts 4:12, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  Peter spoke this of Jesus.


IF I preach Jesus as raised from the dead – I offend naturalists, Muslims and others.   Yet that is the very foundation of our preaching.    Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:13-18 strongly established this: “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”


IF I preach that Jesus came to establish His church and begin to examine His church according to scripture, I AM going to offend many in the denominational world who believe in many different churches.   Yet they CANNOT prove that by God’s word.  In fact, Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:10 said, “Now I plead with you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.  And we know from other passages that Paul’s message did not waver from congregation to congregation (1 Cor. 4:6, 17; Gal. 1:6-9, etc.)  At this point, the number of the offended increases greatly.  These are the ones who will make statements similar to the one we began with. 


IF I preach against ANY specific sin, no matter what it is, someone IS going to be offended -  whether it be homosexuality, unscriptural divorce (or divorce in general), fornication, women usurping authority, immodest dress, dancing, drinking, gambling, lying, gossip, etc.  Pick the sin one is involved in – suddenly the preaching is offensive and you will be told how bigoted and hateful you are.  But that doesn’t change that such is what the Bible condemns (1 Cor. 6:9-11, Gal. 5:19-21, Rom. 1:28-32, etc.).


WE could go on and on and show that if your concern is whether or not you will be offensive, you couldn’t preach ANYTHING to anyone.  BUT, that too would be offensive – to God who demands that we preach the word (1 Pet. 3:15, Eph. 5:11, Jude 22-23, etc.).  It would also be offensive to those who desire the truth to be spoken and those who cherish the purity of the church.    And who knows whether or not at judgment, someone whom you FAILED to warn stands condemned because you said nothing?  How will they feel on that day?


So I suppose the point I am making is that no matter what you preach or teach, you are going to offend someone.  And isn’t that what Paul said in 1 Cor. 1:22-24, “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”


Therefore, while it should NOT be your intent to be offensive and provocative, nevertheless, tell the truth, and let the chips fall where they may.    Be more concerned about what God thinks than man.  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.” (Matt. 10:28)  Think about it!