Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from the Scripture
Mark 16.15 – And He said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation.”
One of Fanny Crosby’s most beloved hymns begins –
“Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word.
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.”
I never liked the idea of telling the “story” of Jesus. To my mind, I wanted to be clear that it was not a story in the sense of a fairy tale, or a myth. Of course, her words didn’t imply it was. Her words were meant to convey that the Gospel is more than a sound-byte of Biblical truth. The Gospel requires a context if it is to be understood. When Paul entered Synagogues, his main focus was to convince his hearers that Jesus was the Messiah. The Jews already had a clear context in which a “Messiah” made sense. They already shared certain foundational presuppositions. But when Paul is on Mars Hill (Acts 17) it is a different story. He has to create the proper context before he introduces them to Christ. In this sense, and especially in our present age and culture, this becomes increasingly important in terms of our own evangelism. In other words, we need to tell the “story” of Jesus. The truth, the WHOLE truth, and nothing but the truth.
As Sky and I drove back from Texas this past week, we saw many a “Gospel” billboard. Well meaning Christians all over this land are trying to get the message out. So it is we would see gigantic signs, full sized billboards with the words “Jesus Saves” on them. The problem is, for increasing millions in our society, they have no frame of reference for who Jesus is, or who, what or how He “saves”. We must tell the “story” of Jesus. We have to give the entire account. We need to not only to tell them Jesus saves, we need to tell them what precisely that means.
Following Paul’s lead, it seems to me that when we evangelize, we need to be sure there is some very basic ground covered so that there is no mistake about the Gospel message we preach. I would suggest 7 essentials. In our conversations with men and women, we can pretty quickly ascertain what of these foundational concepts they already do grasp (if any) and that then informs where we need to fill in the gaps to give the entire picture, and truly “good news” them. It isn’t complex. It is no more than our kids in Sunday School ought to know. But you’d be amazed how many do not have this paradigm at all.
As a bare minimum, we need to establish for them a world-view consisting in –
1. God as Creator, Man as Creature.
2. God as Righteous, Man as a Rebel – sinner.
3. God as Promisor, man as Promised to.
4. God Incarnate in Jesus Christ – Man as Visited by God.
5. Jesus’ death as Atoning Sacrifice – Man as Called to Repent and Believe.
6. Jesus as Raised from the dead – Man as Guaranteed.
7. Jesus as Coming Judge – Man as soon to be Judged.
Beloved, let us tell the “story” of Jesus. The WHOLE story. The entire account, if only in overview. That men might indeed believe, and be saved.
Don’t know how to witness?
Just cover the story.
A child can master it.
And our world desperately needs it.