Don’t Just Say It Once


I had a cold a couple of Sundays ago. I preached in a bit of a fog. I sat down at the end and didn’t know whether it went well.

Every preacher has Sundays like that.

That’s why we need to say it more than just once.

I used to try to communicate the gospel in my sermon. Truthfully, I don’t always do this as well as I’d like.

For this reason, it's helpful to structure the service so the gospel is not only communicated once but multiple times:

  • It’s communicated in the songs we sing.
  • It’s communicated in the shape of the service. Our service begins with God taking the initiative, just as he does in the gospel, and then we move to our response.
  • It’s communicated, when the preacher does it well, in the sermon.
  • It’s communicated often in the prayer.
  • It’s communicated in our profession of faith. Right now, we’re using Spurgeon’s catechism.
  • It’s communicated in the confession of sin, followed by an assurance of pardon from Scripture.
  • It’s then communicated as we come to the Lord’s Supper.

We don’t communicate all of this in a pedantic way. We keep returning to it like it matters, like it’s the most important thing we could talk about, because it is. We want to communicate the gospel implicitly and explicitly in what we do.

I believe this not just theologically. I experience this. I hunger to come every week and be reminded of who God is and what he’s done through Jesus.

“The goal of our gatherings should be to cultivate practices that form our church to live in the good news of the gospel,” writes Mike Cosper in his excellent book Rhythms of Grace. “Rehearsed regularly, the gospel becomes part of our way of thinking, seeing, feeling, loving, and being in the world.”

So, preacher: aim to preach the gospel in your message. Make it clear. Ask God for boldness. Look for fresh ways to communicate the gospel. Live in its truth and help others to do the same. Root the imperatives of the Christian life in the indicatives of the gospel.

But don’t stop there. Work so that your corporate worship sings and speaks and celebrates the gospel over and over again. Do this by structuring your service purposely, including elements like the ones I mentioned above. Do it by carefully choosing songs. Do it in the words that are spoken all throughout the service.

And then pray that, if people miss it once or twice, they’ll catch it the third or the fourth or the fifth time in the service.

Don’t do it as a chore or a checklist. Do it because you can’t stop talking about Jesus, and because you’re setting the pace in staying hungry for the good news that all of us need. Do this because you believe that good news of Jesus is what all of us need, and because there are countless ways to worship, adore, and meditate on what he’s done.

Don’t just say it once.

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada