September 24th – The Simple Gospel!



On holiday we attended a church where the preacher for the day was a man who, years ago, had been one of the young boys in our Boy’s Brigade Company of which I was then the Minister. And here he was, now a Baptist Minister himself, of a number of years experience, and seated before him in the holiday church, row upon row of Boys Brigade lads on church parade from their holiday camps nearby.
The preacher really put himself alongside the boys, recalling his own experiences of summer camps by the sea, and trying to tell them very simply what the gospel was all about. Assume you had a hundred or so boys, surrounded by a congregation you didn’t know, what would you say to reach even the most unenlightened listener? Well, amongst other things he said – (showing them cartoon images on the big screen, as he told the story), when God first made men and women they were really good friends, and nothing got in the way of their relationship. The picture was of a fence: God on one side, us on the other, and a big wide tube connecting us across the barbed wire fence. Then men and women got careless and started throwing their rubbish into the tube, which soon got blocked up with garbage, so that the way through the fence was blocked solid. God was very sad about it. So God put on a human T-shirt and climbed the barbed wire fence, began to empty the tube, collecting the garbage in his big sack and carting it away. People got cross at this, because they were used to the way through being blocked. So they stopped God in a T-shirt by killing him. Yet even then he never let go of the sack of human garbage. People were wretched about it all, till three days after, the God in a T-shirt, whom they’d killed, stood in the tube, tapped the man on the shoulder and said ‘Turn round and let’s talk’.
Well that’s how the preacher put it to the boys. How would you have done it? I would have wanted to say so much more, but then that’s probably my problem. The exercise to which I’m pointing is this. Can you, could you, would you be able to put the heart of the gospel into clear simple words of your own?
Here is one of the Apostle Paul’s summaries on the great matter:”God was in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:19, then 17)
A famous evangelist was criticised by an ultra liberal scholar. He said “I know I am a poor preacher, but I prefer the way I do it to the way you don’t”.
A Prayer, to be prayed slowly:
Lord Jesus Christ, you are the way, the truth, and the life: empower us to walk in your way, to embody your truth, and to live your life.
Now read Acts 3:11-26

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Thought 4 The Day

Faith may be simple, but its effect is sublime. (Charles Stern)

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