WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27
“This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.”
Acts 17:23 (NLT)
UPSTREAM: KEEP MY MESSAGE SIMPLE
Last week, I met in the worship center with the four-year-olds from the school and we talked about what pastors do. After I was done showing them my robe and stoles and my private Communion kit and talking about the different places a pastor stands in church to talk about Jesus, I invited them to ask questions. I didn’t realize that four-year-olds don’t understand the concept of a question. They would raise their hands. I’d call on one. “Yes, in the red shirt.” And they’d look down to see what color shirt they were wearing. And then I’d hear something like, “One time my mommy did this” or “My daddy told me this.” I’d ask, “Is there anything any of you were wondering about that I can answer?” A few did ask questions, but many gave statements or told short stories. One thing I heard more than once was, “Jesus died on the cross” and “Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead.” If you boil the story of Jesus down, that’s what you get. It comes across no more simply than a four-year-old states it: “Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead.” That’s the story of Jesus in a nutshell. (Christopher Kennedy)
The Apostle Paul kept his message simple. Paul first established some common ground with his audience by referring to their altar to the unknown God. Paul then simply explained who Jesus was and what He did. As Dennis Fisher says, “In our increasingly pluralistic world, the people around us may worship a multiplicity of deities. Yet their spiritual journey need not end there. We never know when someone might be moving toward the kingdom of God. Following the example of Paul, we should respect a person’s religious background, watch for spiritual receptivity, and then point him or her to the one true God of Scripture.” (Our Daily Bread)
How would you explain the gospel to someone asking spiritual questions? A simple explanation is: Jesus died for our sins; Jesus rose from the dead; Jesus offers forgiveness and eternal life to those who repent and believe.
Praise God for the simplicity of the gospel. Thank Jesus for doing the hard work to make our forgiveness and salvation possible.