Coming into a new ministry, I had an opportunity to take a step back and examine all of the programming scheduled for the students. As I looked at planning our time of teaching on Wednesday nights, I had to ask myself an important question: What should I teach? There certainly isn’t a shortage of teaching material in student ministry. While there’s a place for this material, I had to stop and think about my convictions and the culture I wanted to cultivate. I ultimately concluded that we had to have a clear presentation of the gospel each and every week.
The gospel is the foundation for everything we know and will know about God. To say it another way: as a Christian, everything you learn about God is made clear in the grand story of how God redeemed a people for Himself through Jesus.
The gospel is the good news of how God accomplished our salvation. It’s the true story of how Christ became a man, lived a perfect life, died to pay for the sins of all who will believe, and lives again. This good news is not only useful for the point in time where we repent and believe. This marvelous news is the foundation for our lives.
Paul writes these words about salvation in 1 Corinthians 15:1-2: “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you- unless you believed in vain.” Here, we see that the gospel is what we received when we repented and believed, surrendering our lives to Christ. This repentance occurs at a point in time in the past.
Now, we stand in the gospel. Every day, we must be reminded of the great love God has for us. We must be reminded that we have been given life by the Holy Spirit through the finished work of Christ. Our salvation is not, “I know the Gospel. Now it’s time to move on!” No theology moves beyond the gospel because in this glorious story of redemption, we see the truth of who God is.
In the future, we will be glorified and our salvation made complete when Christ returns and we are resurrected like him. Paul is so sure of this fact, that he places this verb into a tense describing the act as if it has already been accomplished.
The truth is, if we aren’t reminded of the gospel daily, we are prone to fall into deep trouble. If we don’t remind students and others of this gospel, we can find ourselves looking to other things to satisfy. As leaders of students, it’s our job to give them the truth of God’s Word, and all of this truth is built upon the good news of Jesus Christ. To compromise and give less than the gospel is to be disobedient to the calling placed on our lives.
My hope is that as we dig deeper into the depths of what Christ has accomplished for us, we will find ourselves in awe at the wondrous mystery of the good news. I pray that as we come back to the good news each and every week, God will work in our hearts. I pray that over time, we will find ourselves saying with joy, “Tell me this wonderful news again!”