3525 Cliffdale Road
Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone : 910-867-2113
Sunday Services: 8:45 & 11:00

 

Essential Things

Many people ask me, “What should be the first thing I tell someone about Jesus?” Sometimes the question is phrased, “How can I explain the Gospel when people ask me about Jesus?” There are many things that we could say about each of these questions but, let us ask instead, “What is it that is really essential to share with another person about Jesus?”

Paul, writing to the church in Corinth asserts, “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:4-5). It seems that in this passage Paul is providing for us a model of what should be included in any discussion about Jesus or the Gospel.

There are several very important items or “Gospel Essentials”[1] which Paul outlines. First, Paul explains twice that what he is sharing or delivering is contained within the Scriptures. Paul is referring to the Hebrew Scriptures or what we know today as the Old Testament. The reason that I mention this first is that Paul points out two times that what occurred in Christ was according to the Scriptures: that is Paul is not the source or authority for the proclamation of God’s Gospel, God is the source. In Romans we also read, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of Scripture we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

Second, Paul reminds us that we sin. Again Scripture instructs, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). It is because of our sin against God that we need saving. Before one can be expected to seek salvation they must first understand that there is a genuine and immediate need for salvation. People must understand that sin separates them from God.

Third, without explicitly stating that Jesus is the incarnation or physical embodiment of God, Paul does implicitly tell us that Christ Jesus is in the flesh. We can intuit this from the phrase, “Christ died.” In order for one to die one must first be alive. In Philippians we are instructed, “Although He [Jesus] existed in the form of God, [He] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7). Matthew also instructs, “And she [Mary] will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

The fourth essential which Paul sets forth for us is that Jesus was raised on the third day. Here again we should pay particular attention to the fact that Jesus Christ, even though He is God, did not raise Himself from the dead. The grammatical construction “He was raised,” informs us that another One greater than Jesus was the authority which resurrected Jesus from death: The One greater than Jesus is of course, our heavenly Father-God.

So what Paul provided the church in Corinth becomes for us a brief model of how we can speak to others about God’s Gospel. To be able to concisely articulate why believing in Jesus is necessary is incredibly important for all Christians. Think about it for just a moment (….) Everyday each of us encounters people who need to hear words of hope, encouragement, and challenge. The people we encounter are placed in our life’s path so that we may share what we know of Jesus with them.

Now there are two things that I add to our list of “Gospel Essentials.” We will number them five and six for clarity. Five, God gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us on our life’s sojourn. The Holy Spirit provides us with the assurance of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Moreover, the Holy Spirit reveals to us the plans and purpose of our life as we seek to faithfully follow Jesus. Jesus encourages the disciples and us as he promises, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you” (John 14:16-17).

Lastly, number six: time to make a decision. You have received a proclamation of God’s Gospel; now what will you do with it? Will you ignore God’s Good News and live as if nothing has changed? Or, will you believe by faith in Jesus as your Savior and receive His precious gift of grace?

What will you do now that you have read these “First Things” these “Gospel Essentials?” Jesus died and was raised from the dead for you to pay for your sins. This is what He did for you so that you might be with Him forever. What will you do?

Until the nets are full,

Pastor Jim

 

If you would like to leave a comment or question you may send them to pastorjim@macphersonchurch.com

 

[1] I came to understand The Six Gospel Essentials that are referenced in this article through classroom discussion with Dr. David Lowes Watson; author, pastor, and professor. These Gospel Essentials are in order: 1, The Gospel begins with God. God created all that there is, including humanity; 2, Sin was introduced into the created order when Adam and Eve rebelled against God; 3, God became incarnate in Jesus. The incarnation is from birth through death; 4, God raised Jesus from the dead wherein death and hell are defeated; 5, God gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit; 6, So what? That is to say that once a person hears or reads the Gospel proclamation they must make a decision regarding what they will do with God’s Good News.

Pastor
Rev. James Randall

3525 Cliffdale Road
Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone : 910-867-2113
Fax : 910-867-1142
pastorjim@ncrrbiz.com

    

Church Secretary
Rene Bahrenfuss

3525 Cliffdale Road
Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone : 910-867-2113
Fax : 910-867-1142
reneb@ncrrbiz.com

    

Director of Christian Education, Youth, & Family Ministries
Allison Vuyovich

3525 Cliffdale Road
Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone : 910-867-2113
Fax : 910-867-1142
allisonv@macphersonchurch.com

    

Director of Music Ministry

Dr. Robert Weston Williams

3525 Cliffdale Road
Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone : 910-867-2113
Fax : 910-867-1142                                                                                             robertwilliams@macphersonchurch.com

 

 

Macpherson Presbyterian Church
3525 Cliffdale Road
Fayetteville, NC 28303
910-867-2113

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