Someone once asked the great British preacher C. H. Spurgeon if he could put his Christian faith into a few words. He said, “Yes. I can give it to you in four words: Jesus died for me.”
That’s what it comes down to. You may not be a theologian or the greatest intellect of all time. But you can tell the story of what Jesus did on the cross, how he died on the cross and shed His blood for us. There is power in that message. Time and time again I have watched it transform people, because God anoints it. He blesses it. And He uses it to penetrate the defenses that people put up.
A good summation of the gospel is given to us by Paul: “Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said” (1 Corinthians 15:3–4).
The gospel in a nutshell is Christ died for our sins and was buried and raised on the third day.
The apostle Paul was known for his great oratory skills and his grasp of culture and languages. If anyone could have intellectually convinced a person of the validity of something, it was the apostle Paul.
Yet here’s what he said when it came to preaching the gospel: “I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:1–2).
We can actually hinder the message of the gospel by complicating it. It’s that simple, powerful, yet profound message that can change lives. It changed your life, and it changed mine.