The Gospel For 21st Century Man
“The Gospel For 21st Century Man” is a road map for evangelistic conversations. It attempts to explain the Gospel by answering four questions.
We all begin with assumptions. While it is true that the current culture denies all three of the following assumptions, I contend that people cannot live consistently with the counter assumptions, that there is no absolute truth or if there is, you can’t know it with any degree of certainty anyway, certainly not about spiritual things. These can be profitable conversations, but they are the precursors to the Gospel conversations we are describing. I don’t bring them up if the other person doesn’t.
#1 Absolute truth exists outside of ourselves.
#2 It is not impossible to know it.
#3 It is unreasonable to place spiritual truth in a separate category from other truths.
Just because we don’t know, aren’t sure of, or can’t agree upon what is true about God, doesn’t mean that we can never know it. Reasonable people must admit the possibility of knowing at least some truth about God.
The following is an attempt to communicate what He has told us about Himself.
1. Who is God?
The Bible’s influence on popular culture has shrunk to the point where we can no longer assume that people know who or what we mean when we use the term “God.” We want to point out that God is…
God is the infinite as opposed to the finite gods of man’s construction. He has infinite power and wisdom. He is Bigger than us. (Psalm 119:160)
God has personality, as opposed to an impersonal force or idea. He can be obeyed or defied, offended or pleased. He is someone rather than something.
In relationship to us, He is our creator. We are His, and He has the authority over us and compassion for us. He has the right to do as He pleases with us. (Is. 43:1-3)
2. What are people like?
Fewer still, know who or what they are in relationship to God and their world. We are not biochemical machines, but…
We are God’s creations. He loves us. (Romans 5:8) In addition, we are…
Because we are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26), we have value and dignity. Worth is based on what we are, not what we do. But we are….
All have sinned and are separated from God. (Romans 3:23) We need reconciliation with God (2 Corinthians 5:18-21) We cannot save ourselves.
3. Who is Jesus?
The Jesus of history has become a mythical figure from ancient cultural stories, on a par with King Arthur or Robin Hood. The typical student has no accurate picture of the events of His life or purpose of His coming. The fuzzy caricature of Jesus that they have in their mind must be unlearned and the biblical truth supplied. After a brief word on the historicity of Jesus, then…
Jesus came to save sinners. He is not a way to God. He is “the way and the truth and the life”(John 14:6). We are on a doomed ship, there is only one lifeboat, and Jesus is it.
Because He is God, (Col:2:9), He is Lord. If He is Lord, the logical conclusion is to obey Him. Hence, the question Jesus put to His followers in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?”
4. Now what?
Trust in the gracious provision of God, be it for salvation or anything else, is open equally to abuse and disbelief. Some fake real faith with appropriate sounding words and inexpensive religious sentiments. On the other hand, those awakened to their own sinfulness, find it incredible that even God could forgive and accept them.
There are two elements to the faith that gives eternal life. (Mark 1:14,15)
Saving faith is accompanied by corresponding behavior. (James 2:14-16) Outward behavioral changes are the result of the inward change of heart. Repentance is that change of heart. (Matthew 3:7.8)
Trust/Abandonment to what Christ did.
The faith that saves us is a faith that believes Jesus’ dying in our place on the cross was enough to reconcile us with God; indeed it was the only thing that could. Biblical faith trusts this so completely that it gives up trying to save one’s self and rests in His saving work. (Eph 2:8,9)
At the moment of belief, a transaction takes place where He takes our guilt away and replaces it with His righteousness, adopting us into His family forever, and giving us eternal life. (John 5:24, Romans 4:3)