1 Corinthians 1:18. “The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction. But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.”
Billy Graham, at his final Crusade in June 2005 at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in New York, said, “I have one message: that Jesus Christ came, he died on a cross, he rose again, and he asked us to repent of our sins and receive him by faith as Lord and Savior, and if we do, we have forgiveness of all of our sins.”
I’ve been preaching for quite a few years, but if I had just one message left in me, I would preach Jesus. I would proclaim his sinless life and his sacrificial death on the cross. I would tell of his glorious resurrection from the tomb, his ascension into heaven and his promised return. I would tell the world there’s no hope of heaven without Jesus.
I would declare hell is real, but heaven is available. I would remind them that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life and that no one comes to the Father except through him (that’s Jesus). I would seek to plant as many seeds of faith as possible. I would remind them that Jesus is from everlasting to everlasting; that he is the Word come down to this earth and that the Word became flesh and dwelt among mankind.
In no uncertain terms, I would declare — just in case they didn’t quite get it — that Jesus is God in human flesh and that though he was all man, he never once ceased to be all God.
I would preach in a way as to never purposely offend, but let the truth-chips fall where they may.
In 2010, Dave Miller wrote, “You cannot remove the offense of the gospel without removing the gospel itself.”
My preaching would be illustratively lean and Jesus’ly rich. A call to repentance and personal faith in Jesus Christ would be urgently given.
It would be something like this: “If today Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart, then please answer — without delay.” Truth is, my last message would not be all that different from my first and from all those in-between. I’d make it about Jesus or nothing at all.
Bogart is a retired pastor from Capitol Heights Baptist Church in Pierre, now in Palatka Florida.