The gospel is good news. That’s literally what the word “gospel” means: “good news.” Specifically, it’s God’s good news.
God reveals this good news by telling a story, and this story is THE story, the true story that’s greater than any other and gives meaning to everything. This story has implications for everyone everywhere and all things at all times. God’s gospel story is recorded within the pages of the Bible and told throughout history and in his church. His story is what makes sense of our own lives.
And like all good stories, God starts his in the beginning…
CREATION - How did it all begin?
The one, true, holy, and eternal God created everything, not just in the whole world but in the whole universe. Everything he made was good and existed in perfect harmony, even people. God made man and woman in his image and gave them a home where they could live in loving relationship with one another and with him.
But then tragedy struck…
FALL - What went wrong?
Even though they were perfectly loved and cared for by God, the first man and woman gave into temptation and disobeyed God’s command. Disobedience of God is sin, and because of sin, all of creation has been distorted from God’s good design. Suffering, pain, and death are now passed down from generation to generation. As a result, we all sin. No one is innocent. Dishonor and disobedience of God marks the lives of all people, and just like our first parents, we have broken our relationship with God. No matter how hard we try or how much good we attempt to do, no one can compensate for their own sin, and everyone is deserving of God’s just judgment.
Humankind, and all creation, was in desperate need of help…
RESCUE - Is there any hope?
God did not leave the world without hope. He promised one day someone would come to rescue humankind from sin. God kept his promise when he came himself. He became human in the person of Jesus: God in the flesh and God with us. Fully God and fully man, Jesus had a miraculous birth, lived a perfect life, died in agony on the cross to pay the penalty all sinners deserve, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and then three days later gloriously rose again from the grave in victory over death. In this amazing display of mercy and grace, God demonstrated his love in having the perfectly innocent take the place of the hopelessly guilty. In doing so, God made a way for humankind to be restored to right relationship and new life with him through faith in Jesus Christ.
Now this is where you enter the story…
RESPONSE - How can God's story be my story?
God created you to be a part of the story he is writing from the beginning through the ages to come, to worship him, to serve him, to enjoy a relationship with him. Everyone who hears his story will respond in one of two ways. We either embrace his story and receive his rescue, and in so doing find forgiveness, purpose, and satisfaction in this world. Or we reject him, continuing to try to write our own story our own way while still confined by our own sin and still deserving his just judgment.
What response will you have? You can receive God’s rescue today if, in your response to all he has done for you, you simply turn and trust.
TURN - Repent
When we repent, we turn from our sin. We recognize our offense against God and we reject not only our self-centeredness but also our self-righteousness, acknowledging we can never do enough right to make up for all the wrong. We also turn to God, asking for his forgiveness and submitting to his correction.
TRUST - Believe
When we believe, we do much more than check a box or simply say the right things about Jesus. We actually trust, deep down in our hearts, that Jesus' death and resurrection was enough to rescue us and make us right with God forever, and we commit to follow Jesus, striving to be more like him.
The moment you respond to God’s call to turn from your sin and trust Jesus Christ, you become a part of his family and his Spirit begins to live within you. The more you grow to know and love God, the more of his story you will begin to see and understand in your life. Your sins are completely forgiven. You have full acceptance from him. No matter what you face in life, he is with you to comfort and guide you. He came that you might have a full life with him beginning right here and right now. He’s telling his story, and he has a part for you to play in it.
Because his story doesn’t end here…
RESTORATION - What will the future hold?
God has also promised to make all things new. He will make a new heaven and a new earth completely free from sin where everything will be restored to the way it was meant to be. The most wonderful thing about this new world is that all those God has rescued by grace through faith in Jesus will live there with him forever, experiencing complete joy and fellowship with the One who created, loved, and died to rescue us.
In the meantime, God calls each of us to be storytellers, to share with everyone around us and around the world what he has done in history and in our lives. Our telling is what helps all people who listen understand that God’s story is meant to be their story, too.
Want to hear more about this amazing story God is telling? Here are two ways you can do that.
Once you trust Jesus Christ to rescue you, your life with him is just beginning. You've only reached the ending of the first chapter, and there's so much more story to be told. As you live your new life with him, you'll want to get to know him better, to know more about him and to know him more personally. Below are some suggestions for how to continue discovering the story he's telling in your life.
Read the Bible
The Bible is the story of God's love and faithfulness to His people. It provides encouragement, instruction, warning, and correction that will help you make sense of your life. As you read it, ask God to show you something you can apply to your life. If you're not sure where to begin, start with the Gospel of John in the New Testament.
Getting connected with others who have trusted in the rescue of God is essential. A "church" is a community of Christians gathering regularly to worship God as His family. Each member of the family plays a vital role: Similar to the human body, each part helps the whole body function properly. The church is the Body of Christ. Within a church, you can also develop deep friendships with others who will encourage your faith and for whom you can do the same. We’d love for you to join our church here at Brook Hills, and we can also help you find a small group where you can grow together with other Christians in faith and friendship.
Talk with God
Talking with God through prayer is another way you will get to know Him. He is always ready to listen and spend time with you, so you can always speak with Him.
Tell Your Story
Share this news with everyone! Let them hear the amazing story of God's love and rescue and how it's changed your life. One of the first opportunities you may have to do this is by taking a first step of obedience to Jesus by being baptized.
Content adapted from The Story.