I was sitting in a high profile meeting with mature, highly capable men when one of them leaned forward and asked, “What is the gospel, can you explain it simply to me?”.
If you were asked this question, how would you respond? What would you say? Where would you begin?
Many sincere God-loving Christians struggle to know how to simply articulate the core truths of the gospel in a sentence or two. I know I once did. You may be asking, is it even possible to explain the essence of the gospel in a sentence?
Today I want to share with you a key passage that will help you know how to simply explain the gospel. You no longer need to wonder what you will say when you are given an opportunity to share the gospel.
As all those men waited for a reply to that question, I was grateful the Lord reminded me of the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 that says:
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. And that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”
In these few short verses, we see the gospel in its simplest form wrapped in two core truths. If you can remember these two core truths, you will be able to share the Gospel with anyone. Can you see the two core truths? Take another look at the passage.
The two core truths are these – 1. Christ died for our sins, and 2. He was raised on the third day. These two truths are so profound and yet the gospel is still that simple. One sentence that captures the gospel – Jesus died for our sin, and he was raised to life so we can know him personally.
This is the one sentence I used to respond to the men waiting for my answer. This is a sentence you can keep in mind to begin simply explaining the gospel to someone. Your conversation no doubt will begin where the person is at, but with these two truths locked in your mind, you can naturally explain the beauty of the gospel in conversation in a way that is simple and relevant to the person you are talking to.
Christ died for our sin – Jesus took the punishment we deserve upon himself, giving us peace with God.
He was raised on the third day – Jesus is alive, and we can have a personal relationship with our living saviour.
This is the simple message our world needs to hear. This is the simple message God has sent you to share!
Today, God wants you to relax in your conversation when it comes to sharing the gospel and with these two gospel truths in mind, keep it simple.
Who has God sent you into relationship with that needs to hear these two gospel truths?
Take a moment now to re-read the passage again and ask God to give you an opportunity to share these truths with them.
What encouragement can we get from 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 when it comes to keeping it simple?
- Keep the Gospel your priority
For Paul the simple unchanging message of the gospel was of primary importance. He says, I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received. If there is one thing Paul wanted people to know and understand, one thing he wanted them to remember and prioritise in life, it was the simple message of the gospel. So, keep the gospel your priority.
- Keep the gospel, the gospel.
The gospel, Christ died for our sins and he was raised so we can know him personally, is the one unchanging message that has been preached around the world, throughout generations, in different languages, to men, women and children. This is the one unchanging message that has transformed countless lives and brings hope to all humanity. This is one message we never change. This is the message we share in its entirety. It is the power of this message alone that brings life and peace. So, keep the gospel, the gospel.
- Keep confident in the truth of the gospel.
Can you see the evidence in the passage that supports the truth of the gospel?
- The proof that Christ died is he was buried. Jesus Christ actually died and was actually buried in a tomb.
- The proof that Christ was raised is he appeared to Cephas, the twelve… and in the very next verse Paul says he appeared to over five hundred others at one time, most of who are still alive when Paul wrote this account.
- The proof that this was all part of Gods plan is that these two events took place in accordance with the Scriptures. Nothing is a surprise to God; he can be trusted.