ROSWELL (BNM) - “I recently repented of ‘sharing’ the Gospel. I stopped ‘sharing’ the Gospel so that I can ‘proclaim’ the Gospel,” Keith Berryman admitted. Berryman serves as senior pastor at First Baptist Church, Farmington. He made the statement while delivering the annual sermon to messengers at the Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s 2021 Annual Meeting, Oct. 27. His sermon emphasized the need for clarity, accuracy and biblical focus when believers explain the Gospel to lost people. Berryman said he hoped his personal focus on proclamation would inspire others to refocus their evangelism strategy.
Berryman recalled one of the apostle Paul's requests, “Pray also for us that God may open a door to us for the Word, to speak the mystery of Christ,” Colossians 4:3. He explained that Paul only called his activity “sharing” one time, when he defended himself against preaching for gain. “We too often bring the Good News to the people in our lives in the same way we share a recipe with them,” Berryman said. The Gospel is news, good news, according to the original Greek language, he explained.
Cory Flanagin commented on Berryman’s distinction between “sharing” and “proclaiming.” “I loved him pointing out of the difference between sharing and proclaiming,” he said. Flanagin pastors First Baptist Church, Raton.
The Good News that readers discover in the New Testament is the biggest thing that has ever happened on earth, Berryman elaborated. “It is not only Good News. It is the best news,” he said. He urged listeners to avoid telling the Good News in any manner that advocates bringing it into the periphery of one’s life, “because the Good News should be central; it changes everything,” he said. The past, present and future all change when a person accepts the Good News and chooses to follow Jesus Christ.
In the same way that Paul asked the Colossians to pray for him, Berryman urged Christians to ask their fellow saints to prayer open doors for the Word for them, also. The perspective of Paul’s prayer assumes God will do something for us, he said, making saints co-laborers in the work of telling the Gospel.
Berryman explained that the Mystery of Christ is “special knowledge that only comes to you by way of revelation.” Paul knew of it because God revealed it to him. In the same way, today’s Christians know the Mystery because God revealed it to us, Berryman said.
“The Gospel is all about Jesus,” Berryman affirmed. Encouraging a focus on Jesus, he cautioned messengers against emphasizing personal benefits they may claim God has given them or could do for someone else - as a result of their salvation. Similarly, Gospel presentations should never focus on churches or doctrine, but rather on Jesus, the Messiah, Berryman said.
Messenger Ben Campbell agreed. “It is making it all about Jesus, so that we are not the hero; it is Christ,” he said. Campbell serves as music and youth Pastor for First Baptist Church, Raton.
Emphasizing preparation, Berryman encouraged his audience to read aloud 1 Corinthians 15. Practice saying and sharing it, he said, because it describes clearly the Good News. He also challenged believers to learn how to explain the Gospel in a manner that either a 10-year-old summer camper or “a Ph.D. employee at Los Alamos National Labs” could understand it.
Berryman drew attention to prayers which the Bible assures God will answer with a “Yes.” After urging the group to pray those “‘Yes’ prayers,” Berryman concluded by inviting audience members to stand who wanted to experience open doors for Gospel conversations. Then, he encouraged everyone to pray for the individuals next to them.