Say what you please, it all boils down to one thing.
The fact that some of us are tired of hearing weak, feeble presentations of the gospel that sometimes come even from those we respect in other ways.
Such as ‘Take Jesus into your heart.’ Show me anything comparable to that in Scripture!
“OK. What else?”
‘Let me share Jesus with you.’ Or the bare, ‘Trust Jesus as your Savior’ and the lot. Many of them present Jesus as an add-on Who merely makes life more pleasant.
“Well . . . “
No ‘Wells’ about it—that’s not preaching the gospel.
“OK, then, how do you preach it?”
The way that Paul did. Listen to his words in I Corinthians 15: 1-3:
This is the good news that I preached to you by which you were saved. . . How that Christ died for our sins in agreement with the Scriptures, that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day in agreement with the Scriptures.
When he told them that this was the good news he preached, here is what his message was:
- Good news. News has to do with something already accomplished. So, the preacher of the Gospel is a reporter. He is not asking people to do something to be saved, but to believe in two events that have already occurred. What needed to be done had already been accomplished before Paul began to preach.
- But, notice, Paul sets forth the fact that Jesus died for our sins. That means there is bad news over against which the good news is brought. The bad news is that apart from salvation from it, people are headed toward eternal punishment for their sins.
- The first of the two events, which are the very essence of the gospel, is that the preacher reports that Christ died for the sins of His people. That’s good news because it means He took the punishment due them for their iniquities, so that their sins could be forgiven and they could go to heaven.
- The second of those two essential events is that, though dead and buried, Jesus rose from the dead. In this way, we have a living Savior to Whose sacrifice of Himself God gave approval by raising Him from the dead. A “Savior” on the cross alone has not defeated death, and is no Savior.
- In addition, Paul declares that both of these factual events were predicted in the Old Testament, so that we have the added assurance that the gospel is really the good news that it purports to be, since it fulfilled prophecy to the full.
If you are presenting the Gospel, you call on acknowledged, repentant, sinners to receive the finished work of Christ by faith. Faith doesn’t save, but it is the means by which one is able appropriate the message of salvation reported in the Gospel.
“Oh! . . . . Uh. . . . Thanks.”
Always nice to hear the gospel afresh! That really lifted me in a way that was truly the ‘good news’. As someone who teaches kids, I suppose we have to get straight to the point with them too! Maybe we spend far too much time beating around the bush, entertaining kids, arts and crafts, drawing bible stories, bible theme games, trying to weave the bible into every activity etc. It has become so culturally unacceptable to say ‘Christ died for our sins’ that we feel we have to spend so much time and effort building pretty bridges to people before we can pluck up the courage to say ‘ Christ died for our sins’. And of course, the good news culminates in the fact that it is proven by the resurrection! Maybe if the church got down to the business of ‘being the church’ instead of being so many other things that it was never intended to be, we would actually get far more work done! Hallelujah, He has risen indeed. Thanks Jay!