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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

In a Nutshell

Have you ever been taught how to effectively share the gospel? Some of us have, some of us haven’t.

Better question: If you had only a few seconds to communicate the essence of salvation, which verses would you choose to put it across? How much could you get in there in, say, thirty seconds?

My son was asked how he would explain it this week.

He lost a few moments thinking, but quickly coughed up an only-slightly misquoted Romans 10:9. Good enough, since the English word he chose for στόμα made essentially the same point as the apostle. He didn’t get much further than that, but it was something.

Thirty seconds, after all, is not a long time. But I still think you can get a fair bit in. One good verse like this one:
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
raises all sorts of questions for anyone who cares about the answers.

Romans 10:9 is a nutshell verse, and just about everything’s in there. How much of it can you unpack, and how fast and how efficiently can you unpack it?

The obvious one: Why do I need a Lord? Because I’m a sinner and I can’t run my own life in a way that works for me (“All is vanity”) or that works for God (“All have sinned and fall short”).

How about this? If God raised Jesus from the dead, it means he had died. Why was that? Because “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” So then, why was he raised? As evidence that those who believe in him have been made right with God, for one thing.

What does it mean that you will be saved? Saved from what? Well, saved from being controlled by sin. Saved from hell. Saved from death. Saved from the world. Saved from futility. And it goes on and on. One or more of these may be relevant to the specific spiritual situation in which the person to whom you are witnessing finds themselves. It may tweak their conscience in a way that is not immediately evident.

Can you reel off all those answers in thirty seconds? Not a chance, and it might be too confusing or overwhelming if you tried to. But you can plant one or more seeds. Most of the time that’s all any of us can do.

So pick a verse that has everything you need in a nutshell, memorize it, and let the Holy Spirit lead you where he may.

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