Exercise: have a go at explaining the essentials of the Christian faith. What do I have to do to become a Christian?
From the Bible
What do these passages teach us about the gospel?
Telling THE STORY
A standard model
- God the creator; humanity ruling under his authority.
- Humanity rebels, wishing to run things its own way.
- God judges (and will judge) humanity for this rebellion.
- In his love, God sends Jesus to die in my place for my rebellion
- In his power, God raises Jesus to life as ruler and judge.
- This presents us with a challenge to repent and believe.
THE story is a big story
Have you ever noticed, the preaching of the cross requires?
- Belief in a theistic God
- Understand that God requires something of us in attitude and action
- Understand what attitudes and actions are required.
- Feel they are accountable to it despite unbelief
- Something can be done about it, not just relying on our own efforts
it is a big story. A lot to take in!
How is Jesus the answer to questions on:
- Sin & Shame
How do these aspects of the Gospel connect to the questions?
- Substitution: Jesus died in my place
- Christ as example
- Christ as Victor: victory over sin and death
- Demonstration of God’s love
- Demonstration of God’s justice
- Satisfaction to God’s honour
- Identification of Christ with humanity
THE STORY is about Jesus.
the good news is Jesus, not simply ideas about Jesus
- we need to renew our vision of Jesus, be fascinated by him once again.
Exercise: What was and is so special about Jesus
- his eternal qualities (ie pre-existence)
- his lived life (what he said and did)
- his Lordship
Say something about Jesus’ life as it was lived. Get the story out
Telling his story is fascinating and lets people know how Jesus was and is. It lets people know the reason why we follow him as Lord and Saviour.
THE STORY is a story
How often did Jesus (and Paul and others) tell the gospel by delivering a series of propositional facts?
“in our attempts to make the gospel clear, we have often squeezed all the life out of it. Jesus parables were intriguing, open to interpretation, playful, interesting. They provoked people to search further for the truth.” Shape of things to come, p100
Can we learn to tell THE story as stories again?
- Reconciliation– the Prodigal son
- Using the bible: Luke 7 – a woman who had lived a sinful life
- Read the Gospels regularly.
- Practice telling the stories Jesus told.
- Gather favourite accounts of Jesus, what he said and did.
- Understand and learn some parables well.
Practice ways of telling THE story.
The explanation of this illustration is clear and easy to memorise: on one side of the bridge is God. On the other side are people. Between God and people is a great chasm that exists because of people’s inclination to rebel against God’s way and go their own way instead. The Bible calls this “sin”. The problem people face is that we want to get to God, but we realise we can’t just leap over the chasm. So we try by our own effort to get over it. In the end, we realise that all the effort in the world will never be enough to get us to the other side. But God understood that no amount of effort would ever be enough to bridge the gap. So, motivated by love, God took the responsibility Himself. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross for us all. And so the cross became the bridge between us and God.
Do vs Done
Every religion ultimately suggests that you should attempt to bridge the gap between you and God through your own efforts. In a sense, religion is spelt “D-O”. At the end of the day, it’s all about whether you DO enough right things to earn God’s favour, or somehow DO enough to balance out the bad. Every religion teaches this, that is, except one: Christianity. Christianity is spelt “DO-N-E”. The Bible says that what Christ did on the cross is enough. He has DONE what you and I could never do – he satisfied God’s requirement for a perfect life, so he could be a perfect sacrifice for our sin. Because of what Christ did on the cross, your sins can be forgiven, and you can find favour in God’s eyes right here, right now. The work that must occur to pay for sin and obtain eternal access to God has already been DONE.
Sometimes people are unclear about the meaning of sin and the real nature of God’s moral standards. They might think that they live a “good” life, and that they don’t really need God. But Romans 6.23 explains: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”. One way to talk about this is to think of a ladder or scale. You can say: “Look, supposing on this wall there’s a ladder or scale of all the people who have ever lived. The very worst person is at the bottom, and the very best person is at the top.” Then you can ask: “
- Who would you put at the bottom?” People might say: Adolf Hitler or Stalin (or their boss!)
- And then you could ask, “Now, who do you think is the best person who’s ever lived?”
- And people might say: Mother Teresa, or their mother, or someone else.
Then we can explain: “I think you’d agree that all of us are somewhere in between one level and another. Most people would agree with that.” You could even suggest where they might be on the ladder.
Key Bible Texts
The good news begins with God
1. God made us Acts 17:24,25
Things just didn’t happen by chance. The world and everything in it were designed, created and set in motion by God
2. God is in relationship with us Ezekiel 18:4
God is a holy and good God. He cannot live with evil.
3. God loves us 1 Jn 4:8, Is 54:10
God, in spite of everything the world might think, continues to love people and seeks to win them back to Himself
4. God rescues us Is 43:11
The central thrust of the bible is salvation- not only from situations, but mostly from ourselves
The good news speaks about people
1. People are made in the image of God Gen 1:26
We are made for relationship with God, and to image this relationship to the world and each other
2. People are sinful Rom 3:10,12,23
As God’s creation, people have, much to offer and life is full of wonderful potential. But we all have one fatal flaw, one problem that will ultimately lead to death. We live, whether we know it or not, in active rebellion to God. Our environment, background and our own selfish choices conspire to rebel against God and break His laws
3. People are guilty Rom 6:23
It may seem unfair, but sin is not our only misfortune. It is our fault and we are accountable for it. God’s verdict is everyone is guilty.
4. People are incapable to rescue themselves Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5
Unlike a debt one can repay, there is nothing humankind can do to get on side with God. We are guilty beyond measure. Only God (through His son Jesus) can let us off
Jesus is the good news Rom 5:8
What was impossible for us to do ourselves, God did for us through Jesus Christ. God did not wait for us to improve or help ourselves before he came to the rescue.
1. Who was Jesus? Jn 1:1,14
Jesus was both fully human and fully divine. He was the God’s creative Word in living form.
2. How Jesus lived Jn 14:6
Jesus’ life was amazing! No matter how you look at it, everything Jesus did and said reflected his sole purpose in life to show people God
3. Why did Jesus die Mark 10:45, 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 5:9
The significance and purpose of Jesus is seen most clearly in his death. According to the Bible everyone dies as a result of their sin, but Jesus was sinless. So why did he die? Jesus died not for his own sins but to take away the sin of others.
4. Why did Jesus come back to life Rom 6:11
Jesus coming back to life secured for us forgiveness for our sins. Because Jesus conquered death, he also conquered sin. This allows us to live God’s way through Jesus.
5. What does Jesus offer? Acts 4:12
Jesus is the only way to God. No other religion claims this. Jesus alone makes salvation effective
The good news begs a response
The good news must be acted upon if it is to be of any use. God does not force it on people against their will. Acting upon the good news involves the following.
1. Turn from Acts 2:38
This is what Peter said when people asked to become Christians
2. Turn to Acts 16:31
Turning to Jesus means that we accept that his is the only possible way of salvation. It means that we ask him and trust him to make us right with God
3. Turn over 2 Cor 5:17 Salvation is going to heaven! It is the start of a process. It is the first day of the rest of your life.