We have one Gospel, one amazing Story of redemption found in Scripture. The Story begins with God in eternity and moves quickly to Creation, to Fall, and then unfolds the Rescue ultimately found in Christ. It reaches its end, at least in the biblical record, with a view of Restoration in Revelation.
We have one Gospel. Yet we have four records that tell us of all Christ came to be and do for us: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Frank. Okay, the last one is JOHN (I was just making sure you were paying attention).
Why four records? Each is written to a specific audience. Matthew focuses on Jews, with the genealogy going to Abraham, for instance. Luke speaks to Gentiles, with the genealogy going to Adam. Four records, four audiences.
That is a pretty good biblical example for the need to contextualize the message for a given time and people. We see this in Acts as well, as the recorded messages to Jews (like Peter in Jerusalem in Acts 2) always begin with a focus on the Messiah, but Paul in Acts 17 at Mars Hill, speaking to Greeks, made no mention of a Messiah. But Paul spoke of creation.
We no longer live in Jerusalem. We live in Athens.
Three recent examples demonstrate effective ways to communicate the unchanging Gospel to our time, one a book, another a training process, and yet another a video, demonstrate my point.
The first is the new book by my friend, former student, mentee, and now in real ways a mentor to me named J.D. Greear. Greear’s book GOSPEL: Recovering the Power That Made Christianity Revolutionary, looks afresh at the Gospel we love and yet often miss in its greatness. Confronting moralism and legalism and other perspectives that have the practical effect of taking the feast of the Gospel and making it processed food, Greear’s book is one I will give to friends who do not know Christ and church leaders, and everyone in between. Get this one!
Second, The Story. I have written about this one elsewhere, but I believe The Story www.viewthestory.com to be the most effective disciple-making (NOT just evangelism training) resource I know. We use this in our classes, and I use this in my own witness.
Finally, a brief video. The G.O.S.P.E.L. by Greg Stier and Dare to Share Ministry. For a youth culture tied to youtube and given to staccato-communication, this video sums well the great Story of Christ. Enjoy. And feast on the great banquet that is the Gospel.