The person sitting next to you screams, "How do I get into heaven?" You have two minutes to give a clear concise answer and the clock is ticking….. What do you say?
Do you start by talking about the issues of various Bible translations from KJV to NIV? Or do you explain the creation versus evolution arguments? Or do you simply say, "If you are a good bloke, you'll be right, mate"
It is a serious question: If someone asked you," What is the gospel?" (i.e. the good news of peace with God through Jesus), what would you say? Ask this question to your friends and assess the response.
There are many great gospel summaries. For example, check out Two Ways to Live or Greg Gilbert's new book, "What is the Gospel?".
But here is an easy one to remember:
Position – God's position: He is Creator and Ruler of the universe (including us) and wants an active loving relationship with us.
Problem – Our problem: our problem is we willfully ignore His position as ruler and His invitation to have a relationship with us (i.e. sin). The result is this causes God great pain and brings judgment on ourselves.
Provision – God's provision: God's provision was to rescue us from the problem by sending Jesus. Jesus takes our judgment, gives us His right standing before God and hence restores our relationship with God.
Possibility – Our possibility: we have the possibility to be restored to God through Jesus. The free invitation is there to trust in what Jesus has done and turn from our own path and live for Him.
If you say you are a follower of Jesus then the good news is something that you should know not only in your head (i.e. the 4 Ps) but also in your heart (i.e. accepting them and taking up that free invitation).
And it should also be lived out in your hands (i.e. action). The 4 P's are an easy way to know and explain the gospel in less than two minutes.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and pastor.
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover.html