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The Gospel, defined

By God’s grace, I persevered through two years as a youth pastor when I began pastoral ministry. One of the great blessings of doing youth ministry was to recognize the need to be as simple and crystal clear as possible. Otherwise forget it, teenagers will eat your lunch. If I tried to skirt an issue, or beat around the bush, or was fuzzy in my own thinking, they would see it as naptime. Eventually, I learned to be direct. I would say to the teenagers, “If at the end of the day, after all is said and done, you do not know what the gospel is, I have failed you as a youth pastor. But if at the end of the day you do know what the gospel is, then I have succeeded. Yes, there is more to it than that, we are going to be learning how to love each other, and serve others, and build community together and learning how to understand the Bible, all of which are products of the gospel. But at the end of the day, the primary measure of my success as a youth pastor is whether or not you understand what the gospel is.” Hopefully till this day you could walk up to them and ask them, “What is the gospel?” and hear a simple short summary. Here it is, the gospel is this:
We are all sinners who stand under the judgment of God. But God in his grace has sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place on the cross and to rise again, that whoever repents and believes in him will be saved.

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