Are you looking for ways to express the Good News of the Father, Son and Spirit’s Love for us that are simple? Statements that are filled with Good News clarity without all of the valid, but heavy theological terms and language you could speak? Something short but to the point?
I thought I would try to assist you with that on this post. Three things have brought it to mind of late: 1.) Helping my local congregation to do it. 2.) Reading a great book called “The Crucifixion of Ministry” (one of my top ten books of all time).
In this book, writer Andrew Purves, rightly points out that our responsibility as pastors and ministers of the Gospel is to “…first approach people not with God’s judgment or even with God’s forgiveness. We cannot assume that a person knows who the God is who judges or forgives him or her. Instead we come announcing and bearing the love of God.” He continues, “Thus the first pastoral movement of the ministry of grace must be quite simply (although of immense significance) the announcement ‘Jesus Christ is Lord, and this Jesus is God who loves you.’ The statement stands over and against all other claims to divinity and all other definitions of divinity.”
Finally, under the section “Announce the Love of God” on p.130, Purves adds that the Gospel “…is the announcement of the human reality as St. Paul saw it; ‘for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God’ (Colossians 3:3)…’the first pastoral act of our participation in the ministry of the grace of God is the announcement in word or act: ‘Jesus Christ is Lord. Jesus who is God loves you.'”
That’s a simple expression of the Gospel and easy enough to speak, isn’t it? (by Jesus through your vocal cords! :-) )
I think that any preacher or proclaimer of the Gospel should always start with making a similar statement to their audience before they “move on” to other stuff because, in REALITY, there is no other stuff! God the Father, Son and Spirit IS Love and has included all of humanity in His loving, shared, relationship in the person of Jesus! That is the most fundamental truth undergirding every human life!
3.) The third thing that got me thinking about this post was the very practical and simple expression of the Gospel made by one of my Pastor friends, Bill Winn, recently. He had received a similar letter of spam and unsolicited e-mail, as I did, by a person who had gotten a hold of our e-mail addresses. In most of these spam letters, we receive some religious take on a subject. The subject matter is usually not centered on the “Who” of Jesus but some distracting “what”, “where”, “why”, “when” or “how” topic. This e-mail spam was typical.
However what was not typical, was Bill’s great response! His response to the distracting topic was so simple but profound and to the “Christ Point”, I was inspired to write this blog post and share it with you! Here is Bill’s Gospel reply and MANY simple ways to share and express God’s Good News with others. It has been edited for anonymity but Bill’s EXACT words of the Gospel remain untouched.
You belong to the Father, Son, and Spirit. You always have. You always will. The real concern for you is not [to be distracted by such and such a subject] but to answer the question; “Who is Jesus?”
The Father’s eternal purpose for humanity was to gather us together, in His Son, and to have us in relationship with Himself. He has accomplished that in the Incarnation, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, Who is fully God and fully man.
Christ Jesus is also the vicarious man. Jesus is you, for you, as you, with you, and in you in the presence of the Father.
Acts 17:28 is where Paul said that all mortals, “live, move, and have their being in Jesus.”
You died when He died. You were raised when He was raised. You ascended to the right hand of the Father with Him.
You are beloved of the Father. Jesus and the Father have been face to face in relationship from all eternity with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God too. The Holy Spirit is the One by which we call out “Abba Father” in the first instance.
[Anyone], my friend, you are utterly and completely adored by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As Jesus is so are you in this world. He has shared every spiritual blessing with you already and has made good on the Father’s dream to have the fall of the first Adam undone and to have humanity adopted into His circle of fellowship. He is the Last Adam.
Learning to live Loved in the Father’s embrace,
PS you might like these books: Jesus and the Undoing of Adam, C. Baxter Kruger, The Great Dance, C. Baxter Kruger, The Mediation of Christ, T.F. Torrance, On the Incarnation of the Word of God, St. Athanasius, The Shack, Wm. Paul Young.”
Isn’t that a GREAT but simple response spoken by the Holy Spirit through Bill? You Go Jesus in Bill!!! :-) And, YES!, even though Bill doesn’t typically respond to these or get positive feedback, when he wrote this letter, he did get a response with positive feedback!! Hmmmmmm – I wonder why???!!!! :-) You KNOW why!!! :-)