Pastor Kevin's Korner

From Pastor Kevin:

Last month I told you I was going to spend some time dealing with the topic of evangelism—the idea of sharing Jesus with others. I have much to cover this month, so I’m going to jump right in and get going. Most of you reading this already have some knowledge of the whole biblical message and how the work of Christ relates to all Scripture. But most of the people with whom we have gospel conversations do not have such knowledge. It is so crucial that we understand this important point. Most unchurched and lost people know something about Jesus and they think the whole idea of the gospel is simply about Him. Now, don’t misunderstand me, He is the leading character in it all. But people who are unchurched and lost need to see that the story of Jesus is as big as the Bible itself. The entire Bible unpacks the larger, glorious story of the gospel message. The Bible is quite amazing: sixty-six different books penned by a variety of writers over centuries of time. But all the thousands of stories in the various places involving myriads of people tell one great story in one grand narrative. God created a beautiful world, with humankind central to His great design. Sin came through the fall and has brought a world full of brokenness; but God sent a Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who came to redeem us through His death and resurrection. Now if anyone would come to God through repentance and faith, the promise of forgiveness and restoration is available for them. That message is seen all throughout the Bible. That is the message of the gospel.

When you start to put a puzzle together, you usually start with the border; since a framework usually makes the rest of the image make sense. In the Bible there is a framework that helps us see our world better, as well as our greatest need and God’s answer to that need. That framework is wrapped up in four words: Creation, Fall, Rescue, and Restore. Allow me to quickly address each of these words. First of all, when starting conversations about Jesus, it helps to talk about things we pretty much all agree on. It is easy to start with creation because most people love something about this outdoors and have some kind of understanding that someone or something greater than us had to make it all. This is why the story of the gospel actually begins all the way back in Genesis 1 with God and His creation account. God made a beautiful world and everything in it, but He did something more. He made humankind unique, in His image (Gen. 1:26-27). He gave us stewardship over the rest of creation and made us similar to but unlike anything else in His creation. Humankind has a grand purpose—to relate to and to worship their Creator. 

But something has gone wrong in God’s beautiful creation. God’s creation, including humans, is broken because of sin. Yes, we have fallen from the place God created us to occupy. When talking to a nonbeliever about sin, it is often easier to start with the brokenness we can easily see all around us and then move to how sin affects each of us personally. This usually keeps them from becoming defensive and also helps them see that not only is the world broken by the effects of sin, but that each individual person is as well. Because of sin, we are in rebellion to God, facing eternity separated from Him in hell. We were created for glory, but we stand in judgment. This is the not-good news people must see to fully embrace the beauty of the good news of the cross.

Too many times people see Christianity as a group of religious people trying to impose their moral code on them. But the essence of the gospel is something far greater than simply behavior modification. Jesus Christ did not come to make bad people good, but to make dead people alive. Jesus came to rescue us from our fallen state because we can’t save ourselves. He came to restore us into a relationship with Him; one that we should have had all along. Every person who has ever lived is guilty before a righteous God, but because of Jesus’ death we are declared not guilty. We owed a debt from sin we could not pay, but Jesus both paid the penalty for our sin debt and offer us an inheritance we could never earn. Jesus is the One who came to rescue us and restore us back into that proper relationship with our Creator. That is the gospel. May we all embrace these truths and faithfully commit to sharing them with others. Remember, start with those four words: Creation, Fall, Rescue, and Restore. Have a blessed month!!

 

- - Pastor Kevin