I am a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier’s BBA program and one of the classic first-year projects for people who wanted to be super involved was the pitch competition. The challenge was this: you are sharing an elevator with a potential investor for your new product or idea and you have until the elevator reaches their penthouse office to get your idea across. 90 seconds max. What is important, attention-grabbing, and meaningful to get their support?
This skill is equally important for Christians when communicating and sharing the truth of the Gospel. If you had 90-seconds what would you say is the Good News of Jesus?
With the youth group this fall, we are applying the Gospel to various areas of life and showing how vast and encompassing the Gospel actually is and I put together a one-sentence Gospel for the youth to remember. It is,
The God who made us sent his son, Jesus, to live a perfect life, die in our place and rise again so that we could be forgiven of our sins and know God perfectly forever through faith in him.
Let’s break it down.
The God who made us…
The Gospel starts where everything starts, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)” The Christian world view is monotheistic. There is one God who rules over everything, designed everything, and, therefore, has a plan and purpose for everything. The Gospel is the good news that we can get back on track with the Creator’s intent.
Sent his son Jesus…
God doesn’t just create the world, in Jesus, he comes into the world. Jesus is sent by God to accomplish God’s purpose. It was not our initiative or work; it is only the work of God in Jesus that accomplishes the finished work that God now offers us.
To live a perfect life…
God, as Creator, has standards for the world. “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God, am holy. (Leviticus 19:2)” When we miss that standard of perfection it is called sin. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)” So, we need someone to come in and do what we are incapable of doing. Jesus lived his entire life without sin. He never disobeyed his parents, never lusted, and never grumbled, so that he could restore the perfection that was lost by our first father, Adam (Romans 5:12-21).
To die in our place…
This is where things get messy. Good news is only good news when it invades bad territory. If someone offers you a cold drink of water on a hot day that is good news. If someone offers you an ice-cream cone in February, they’re messing with you! Jesus came to live and to die for us. “the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23)” and “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (Hebrews 9:22)” Whether we like it or not, the punishment for our sin is death. Either our own or the substitutionary death of Jesus. If it is our death it must be an eternal death to cover the cost of treason against an eternal God. If rather, we trust the death of Jesus for us, who himself was eternal and perfect, it is covered once and for all.
And rise again…
Jesus’ death was not enough to cover our sins. If Jesus stayed in the grave it would prove his sacrifice was insufficient (1 Corinthians 17:17). However, his resurrection and vindication from death testifies to the value and assurance of our salvation. We also have a living Saviour who intercedes for us in our weakness before the Father (Romans 8:34). A dead lawyer is no help. A living Saviour is priceless.
So we could be forgiven and know God perfectly…
Our salvation is not a one-and-done work. Positionally, we are only born again once, but practically, we are being changed from one degree of glory to another every day (2 Corinthians 3:18). We are saved FROM sin; forgiven and cleared of all charges. This frees us to forgive others and live a life of obedience to God. We are also saved TO a new life in harmony with God. “This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent (John 17:3).” There is no life apart from knowing God. We are forgiven and equipped to nothing less than to “love God and enjoy him forever“.
Through faith in Him.
Faith is the conviction and trust in things we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). The gospel demands a response. It is not something you come into by default, it is a gift of God. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).” We need to to turn from our sin, repent, and join the kingdom of God without reservation.
Sentences Change Lives
Words matter, sentences can change lives, and paragraphs can change the world. Take the sentence at the beginning of this post and dwell on it, memorize it, match scripture to it like I have done and revel in the goodness of God to you in Jesus Christ. If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, re-read that sentence and ask yourself if your efforts, skill, or goodness can give you the forgiveness, hope, freedom, and peace that Jesus freely offers you.