Andrew Fountain - The Gospel: A Story


Full sermon notes - The Gospel: A Story

The Gospel

  • What is the minimum you need to know to become a Christian?
  • I recently listend to a talk by a guy called “Harry Lee Poe” on what he called “the corruption of the Gospel”
  • He argued that over the last 50 years people have tried to reduce the Gospel down and down to a bare minimum
  • He feels that this has caused some real difficulties:
    1. No backstory in our culture, so not understood
    2. No backstory in our culture, so does not even communicate
    3. Becomes the theology of the church
    4. Does not connect with real problems
    5. We actually tend to live our lives out of stories
  • He gives several examples:

Four Spiritual Laws (1960’s)

  1. God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
  2. Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.
  3. Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through him you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.
  4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.
  • What background does this assume?
    • God, sin
  • No beginning or end

Evangelism Explosion (1970’s,80’s)

  • Jesus purchased our salvation by offering his blood to “God”.
    • (does mention that Jesus was and is God, God almighty himself, but this is blurred.)
  • Death of Jesus was “the great transaction” where Jesus paid God for our sin and purchased heaven for us.
  • The issue of forgiveness of sin does not come up.
  • Talks about going to heaven but not being born again.
  • Poe was particularly concerned that Jesus seems to be pacifying “God”, but not clearly God himself

Continuing Witnessing Training

  • (Southern Baptist Home Mission Board)
  • Modifies and “simplifies” E.E.
  • Jesus bares our sin, (but no reference to ransom.)
  • Jesus seems to act as an agent for God, (although they do say that he is God.)
  • They omitted all reference to the Holy Spirit
    • They said that was deliberate because “they didn’t want to confuse people”.

Fundamental problems

  • People connect much better with stories than logical steps of argument
  • Our culture has no widespread knowledge of the Bible that we can draw on
    • so a minimal message is misunderstood
    • it does not even communicate
  • The church tends not to go much beyond it’s Gospel message, so if this is impoverished, so is the church
  • Does not connect with real problems
    • e.g. woman asking about suicide
  • We actually tend to live our lives out of stories

The Story

  • Beginning
  • Middle
  • End
  • Can you tell me what is the story at the beginning?

Beginning of the Story

  • God (plural in one)
  • What God is like (relational, powerful, generous, just...)
  • Created outside of himself
  • Existence of evil, which corrupted the creation
  • He promised that in the future he would destroy the evil

Middle of the Story

  • One of the members of “God” (Father) revealed his love by:
  • Sending another member of “God” (Jesus) into the creation,
  • Who at enormous cost defeated the power of the evil.
  • He made forgiveness and restoration possible.
  • Together with the third member of God (Holy Spirit):
    • He established a totally new creation, free from evil.
    • He began to bring people into into it.
  • Father Son and Spirit embraced these people as part of their “family”.

End of the Story

  • Jesus is coming again
  • Everyone who has ever died will be raised for the judgment
  • Jesus will judge everyone and perfect justice will be done by a judge who knows everything perfectly
  • All evil will be banished forever
  • A new era will begin in which God’s people:
    • are united with Jesus in a “marriage”
    • are made responsible to rule over a new kind of creation
    • have no more sorrow for eternity

The Bible is mostly stories

  • We mostly learn the big story from lots of little stories
  • This is the best way of spreading the Gospel
  • What Stories tell the Beginning?
  • The Middle?
  • The End?
  • What Stories tell the Beginning?
    • Adam & Eve
    • John 1
    • What God is like (relational, powerful, generous, just...)
      • Abraham (tell story)
      • Israel
      • many others, most of them in fact
  • The Middle?
    • Jesus
    • Touch a leper, ate with sinners (tell story)
    • The Lost Son
  • The End?
    • Parable of the wicked tennant farmers

Updated on 2011-09-07 by Andrew Fountain