The Gospel Test: Do Your People Really Know the Good News? [Excerpts]
Imagine waiting outside the doors of the sanctuary of any evangelical church in America with a video camera and a microphone at the end of the Sunday morning service. Your mission? To interview 10 random members of the congregation with a simple question, "If I were not a Christian and you were to explain the gospel to me what would you say?"
Supposing you weren't tackled by a rogue usher and Good Fellas boot stomped in the foyer, imagine some of the potential answers you could hear…
"Um, well, I guess that God loves you and if you, well, follow him then, you know, it will all work out."
"As long as you're a sincere person and don't kill anybody or anything like that I think God would let you into heaven."
"Isn't there some prayer that you are supposed to say and then you're in?"
"I don't really concern myself about this sort of thing because it's the pastor's job to tell people about Jesus anyway."
Sadly, it's not hard to imagine hearing answers like these coming from church-going people today. But what if you were interviewing the people of your church with the same question?
Before you dismiss the scenario of less-than-adequate answers coming from members of your congregation (or attendess of your Bible study, students in your youth group, etc) consider the possibility that you could be over-estimating what the Christians you lead really know when it comes to the Gospel.
Paul summed up the Gospel in 1 Corinthians:15:3,4 when he wrote, "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…."
The gospel is the message that Jesus died in our place for our sins as a substitutionary atonement. He was buried and he rose from the dead, proving that he was the Son of God himself. In the most famous verse of Scripture Jesus said that whoever believes in him has eternal life.
Yes, it's that simple! It's so simple that a child can understand it and so jaw-droppingly deep that a Seminary professor can choke on it.