Have you ever heard of an elevator speech? Imagine you are in an elevator and the CEO of an investment firm steps in and introduces herself. You have until that elevator door opens again to give her your best idea. Could you summarize that idea clearly and winsomely enough to at least make her want to know more?
Business students and job applicants regularly play with that scenario, but for our purposes let’s change it a little. Could you give someone a 30 second summary of the gospel that would at least make them want to know more?
I love that exercise. Recently some women in the church tried it out, and here is what they said:
The Gospel is the good news that God, because of his great love for his people, has done everything necessary in order for us to live in relationship with him. God created us and deserves our allegiance, but we rebelled because we wanted to do life on our own without him. Jesus came to earth as fully God and fully man to live the life I could not live and suffered the punishment I deserved for my treason. When I put my faith in Christ, I become part of his family.
The Gospel is good news, and we need it because we are much worse than we ever dared believe before a good and holy God. Our heart inclination is turned away from God, and that is what sin is. We are separated from him and it’s our fault. But God loved us despite our faults and sin and sent His own Son to forgive us and to be all that we ought to be. The Good News is that we are much more loved in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope. He has even made us His children, part of His family, though we never ever could deserve it.
The Gospel is the story of a King saving his people, whom he created, in the most unexpected way. This King is God, and he used his one and only perfect Son, Jesus Christ, as the sacrifice to pay for the sins of those he loved but did not love him and never would be able to love him perfectly. He did this knowing their inadequacy and their constant tendency to try and live without Him. He did this so that they could have a relationship with Him that would last for all eternity, a relationship that is the only thing that can fill the void in their souls. We are his people and we have hope because God loves us.
The word Gospel means “good news” and the good news is good and necessary because of the bad news. The bad news is that sin separates us from God. God made us to be in relationship with him, but our sin nature makes that relationship impossible- except for the good news. The Gospel tells us that God’s son died to pay the debt of sin we owe that stands in between us and God. Our sin is so much worse than we actually know, and yet through the justifying work of Jesus on our behalf we are more accepted and loved that we could ever hope.
God, who created everything, sent His only, perfect Son to die a horrible death so that my sins would be covered. Because of His sacrifice and grace, I am free from guilt and shame and get to spend eternity in heaven with Him.
So how about you? Please take a minute and add your elevator speech in the comments section.