Thursday, January 11, 2007

Verbalizing the Gospel

Yesterday marked the completion of one of the best classes I've ever taken. My great friend Porter taught a six week course called On Mission to a morning men's group at my current home church. In a sense the class was about evangelism (I am not sure though if I could call it a class that dealt exclusively with evangelism.)

One of the homework assignments was to write out the gospel in my own words. Here is what I handed in:
Gods plan of ultimate love, before the beginning of time, to bring glory to himself and joy to all people by redeeming a cursed and rebellious Creation through, the life, death and resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ.
This was actually a challenging assignment. Try it for your self. Frankly, until this assignment I have not stopped to really think about how to accurately articulate the Gospel by choosing good words, keeping things concise but yet comprehensive. In the end I was dumbfounded by a thought I didn't expect. In this day and age, how important it is to be highly skilled at articulating the gospel as efficient and effectively as possible. People don't have time. There are simply too many messages being thrown at them every day. This is a reality and yet the Mission has never changed.

To add more power to the punch consider this quote in a post over at the Irish Calvinist called The 60 Second Gospel :
"...if you cannot explain the gospel in this period of time then you probably don’t understand it, and so then the likelihood that a saving transformation has actually taken place is drastically diminished."
Here is his version of the Gospel in 60 seconds:

God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.

The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.

God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.

But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.

This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.

God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.

God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.

Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.

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