The Simple Gospel

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The Simple Gospel

Telling the Story
Daniel Lee Henderson

"I Love To Tell The Story". So goes the song we sing in worship. Preachers urge us in sermon after sermon to tell others of Christ. Our Bible class teachers emphasize the need to tell others of Christ. To one another, Christians emphasize the need to teach Christ and His sacrifice. For the most part we heed this teaching. We invite others to worship with us where they can hear the Gospel. We discuss Bible topics with our neighbors, friends, and family. We talk with our children about Jesus and God. We help spread the Word through TV, radio, even the Internet. Yet, are we demonstrating this same need in our daily actions? Are we living in such a way that we "tell the story" of Jesus in our attitudes and actions? Or do those around us see the same things in us that are present in their own lives? Are we living as part of the world or as one passing through the world? Paul urges, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" 2 Corinthians 6:17. Can we please God when we make ourselves a part of the world? The Scriptures teach otherwise. We as children of God are to be separate from the world even in our daily life. Peter tells us we are to be as "strangers and pilgrims."

"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation" (1 Peter 2:11-12).

Through the ages, many have taken these passages and concluded we must physically withdraw ourselves from society. Cults, communes, etc. have been formed to pull people from the works of the world. Some only participate with society in a very limited manner. Others have completely isolated themselves from the rest of the world. While some of these have been successful to a certain extent, most have discovered it to be almost impossible to completely remove society's influence over their members.

As we noted above, the Scripture requires a certain separation between the Christian and the world. But does it require complete isolation? The Word left by God is not hard to understand. God has given us a simple plan to follow that we may please Him. Jesus prayed to the Father in this manner,

"I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world" (John 17:15-18).

With this prayer Jesus clearly shows us that we must interact with the world even while remaining separate from it. How do we do this? By living differently from those around us. We are taught to live righteous and God-like lives. Paul instructed the young man Titus to live properly "in the present world"

"Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" (Titus 2:12).

The Word teaches that we must live as a servant of Christ and the Father. Paul informed the Galatian brethren that it was no longer he but Christ living in him.

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

When you get up in the morning do you prepare yourself to teach others with your influence? Our day should begin with a prayer to God that we will "tell the story" of Jesus to everyone we meet. Whether we talk with someone or not we should be able to show them Christ. Our neighbors and co-workers should see us in a different light than the others they see from day to day.

Now let's look briefly at some specific areas of difficulty in telling the story with our daily actions.

  • Let's start at home. What does your family see when you get up each morning? Are you grumpy, upset, mad at the world, when you arise? We should get up each morning with thankfulness for a new day of teaching the Gospel. Each of us knows someone that needs to hear the truth about Christ.
  • Now, when you leave home to head for work, do you rejoice and thank God that you have a job? What effect does traffic have on your attitude? Christians cannot allow evil thoughts about others to enter their minds and dominate their attitude. We must be forgiving, not vengeful. We cannot expect God to forgive us if we do not forgive others. An attitude of righteousness will always display a forgiving heart.
  • What about our attitude toward our co-workers? Do you see them as potential study candidates? We must look at everyone as one needing to hear the story of Christ. Just because one is the workplace jokester does not exclude them from the need of salvation. Would they come to you to learn of Christ? What about your superiors? Do they know of your commitment to Christ? We must not allow our work to interfere with serving God. Working during worship time just to please the boss, or to make a little overtime does not "tell the story"!
  • What do your co-workers think about you? Can they learn of Christ by your actions? When ungodly things are spoken of in the workplace the Christian should withdraw themselves. The Christian must avoid ungodly behavior. We must not listen to immoral stories, engage in illegal acts, waste our employer's time, etc. When others sit around doing nothing we must continue to do our job. Just because our employer supplies the things needed to perform our job at work, does not mean he supplies the same thing for us to use at home. They must be able to recognize a difference between your attitude and their own.
  • Are you Godly in your personal business dealings? Do you give good measure, pressed down and running over? "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again" (Luke 6:38). We must be generous in our dealings with others. Certainly we must look out for our interests, but not at the expense of those dealing with us. God has always given more than we asked. He even gave when we were still working against Him. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Are we to do less to others?
  • What about our free time? Does our recreation reflect a God-like attitude? When people of the world see us engage in ungodly, immoral activities with them we do not "tell the story" with our actions. God's Word teaches against lust for the opposite sex. God's Word is not seen in our lives when we undress at the public swimming pool, beach, ballpark, etc. The Scriptures teach us not to forsake the assembling together of the Saints. God's story is not shown when we participate in sports leagues, recreation, club meetings, etc., when our fellow Christians are assembled for worship.

These are some of the more common ways we sometimes fail to "tell the story" in our everyday actions. I am certain that each of us, if we really tried, could find many other areas where changes to our actions are necessary for the story of Jesus to be seen. Another song we use in worship proclaims "Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me." Is it?

The Word of God is plain and simple. We need to let it work in us. We need to be sure we are letting the world see Jesus in us when we tell them of Jesus. Otherwise our teaching is vain. No one wants to follow a person that does not live what they teach. The early disciples brought others to Christ by their way of life as well as the spoken word. Peter said an unbelieving mate can be converted by one's way of life without a word being spoken.

"Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation (behavior ASV) of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation (behavior ASV) coupled with fear" (1 Peter 3:1-2).

Will your behavior win anyone to Christ? Think seriously about your way of life. You do tell a story. Make sure you "tell the story," the story of the Gospel that leads to salvation of the soul.