Getting the Story Straight.
God wired us to thrive according to His design.
Let me lay out for you that the story we want to get straight is the story of Jesus, the good news. This action isn’t optional. It’s not just for pastors and missionaries; it’s the responsibility and privilege of every follower of Jesus.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
-- Acts 1:8
As witnesses of Jesus we’ve been entrusted with sharing the most important news, the good news that Jesus came to seek and save the lost and that the lost can home to God through faith in Jesus, the Son. When it comes to the good news of Jesus, the Gospel, we want to be sure, we get the story straight. Now it comes to sharing the story the first fear is “where do I start” or “what do I say?” I’m going to assume that you have the desire to talk to others about Jesus but you just don’t know where to begin.
We start at the beginning. We start with Design. The concept of design shows up in questions like who am I and why am I here?
Every worldview attempts to answer this question. Now before you think, “Oh my goodness, I’m no philosopher, I can’t engage in these deep questions.”
Here’s your first pointer: play dumb! Here’s what I mean: take the position of a learner. So, when your neighbor says, “I’m an atheist,” you can say, “Oh, how long have you been an atheist? What led you to become an atheist? By playing dumb, you are listening for common ground. Remember listening comes before sharing!
It’s exactly what the Apostle Paul did. Paul was a follower of Jesus in the first century who was adept at sharing the story of Jesus well. One day he was in Athens, Greece and he was speaking to some Greek philosophers and here’s what he said:
Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus and said, “People of Athens! I see that you are extremely religious in every respect. For as I was passing through and observing the objects of your worship, I even found an altar on which was inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’ Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.
-- Acts 17:22-23
Paul observed. Paul looked for common ground. Paul, then began to share the story where we need to begin, which is with God’s Design.
Look at what Paul says.
The God who made the world and everything in it — he is Lord of heaven and earth — does not live in shrines made by hands. Neither is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives everyone life and breath and all things. From one man he has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so that they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring.’ Since, then, we are God’s offspring, we shouldn’t think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image fashioned by human art and imagination.
-- Acts 17:23-29
A couple of observations here. Is Paul quoting the Bible here? No. Why not? His audience doesn’t share his conviction about the Scriptures; they wouldn’t understand or identify with the Law and the Prophets.
What Paul is doing is communicating truths about God in a way his audience can understand. Paul was a master of adapting his message to his audience. He always spoke the gospel message, but he geared it to his audience.
The message He is conveying in Athens, is, “I know this unknown God and I’m going to share Him with you!” This God is the grand designer who is the creator and sustainer of all things, even you. Paul is echoing the very concepts from the beginning of the Bible—Genesis 1-2.
In those chapters we see that God wired us and His world to thrive according to His design.
God has a design for our lives—for every life He ever created.
1. God created us and He loves us.
» God designed the world and everything in it. He created everything as it was meant to be and it was good (Genesis 1:1-25).
» He created humans in His image—the pinnacle of His creation.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” So God created man in his own image;
he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.
-- Genesis 1:26-27
He called us very good (Genesis 1:26-2:24)
2. God has a design for every aspect of our lives.
•Our gender identity (Genesis 1:27 - created us male and female)
So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God;
he created them male and female. -- Genesis 1:27
•Our families (Gen. 1:28 - be fruitful and multiply)
God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, -- Genesis 1:28
•Our work life (Gen. 1:28-30; 2:15-17 - dominion over the earth and work the garden)
The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it. -- Genesis 2:15
•Our rest life (Gen. 2:1-3 - He rested on the seventh day)
On the seventh day God had completed his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it he rested from all his work of creation. -- Genesis 2:2-3
•Our marriages (Gen. 2:24 - leave and cleave)
This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame. -- Genesis 2:24-25
•Our uniqueness (Psalm 139)
For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made. -- Psalms 139:13-14
3. God designed us for relationship with Him.
He created us to have unbroken communion with Him (Genesis 3:8 walking in the garden looking for Adam and Eve). He “walked with us and talked with us.”
God wired us and His world to thrive according to His design. When we lived according to God’s design we experience wholeness; joy, satisfaction; we find meaning and enjoy a life lived with an eternal purpose. Yeah, that sounds good, but that’s not the way things are now.
**God has a design for every area of our lives—our families, marriages, money, sex life, work life and just plain life. God designed us to be in relationship with Him, but we have all departed from that design. The Bible calls this sin. We’re born with a sinful nature so sin comes naturally to us. There is no one who gets it right all of the time. We all sin and fall short of God’s perfect design (Rom. 3:23). This sin leaves us in brokenness. Brokenness is easy for most of us to understand. It feels like broken relationships, addiction, depression, discouragement, guilt and shame. We all want out of brokenness, so we try to fix it (squiggly lines out of brokenness). We medicate it with drugs or numb it with alcohol. We strive to be better people, hoping that somehow, someway, our good will outweigh our bad. We look for ways to alleviate our pain. When we do that, we just get more and more broken. This feels like a bad thing, but in many ways, brokenness is a good thing because it’s the way God gets our attention.
When we feel broken on the inside and everything’s all messed up, we know something needs to change. The Bible word for change is repent. Brokenness is what gets us ready to try God’s solution, which is to repent and believe the gospel. The change we really need comes from Jesus. God sent Jesus to live a perfect life, die the death we deserve, and be raised to life again, proving He is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do. Jesus came to forgive our sins. When we repent and believe in Him, He gives us His Spirit who helps us recover and pursue God’s design. Then Jesus sends us right back out into a broken world to tell others how to find their way out of brokenness. We are then blessed to bless others with the good news of Jesus.” **From 3 Circles Evangelism Training
Challenge to you: Get your story straight.
If you realize, “I’m still in brokenness and I need rescued.” Is there anything preventing you right now from repenting and trusting in Jesus to forgive you and make you whole?
For those who believe, can you articulate the story of the good news? Can you say the good news in words people can understand?
We created a playlist on our You Tube channel for you to access training videos at your convenience. There’s no excuse in getting the story straight. Check it out today! https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLj58xrhigfsvvcygAbrfybuZpJpfRaLbq
Posted in Discipleship