I’ve attempted to share in my own language a short version of the gospel. The whole thing from start to finish. It’s my first writing of it, so there is certainly more that can be added. Let me know if there is important stuff that I left out! *Coming Soon… Scripture references for everything that I say below.
Until heaven and earth are one,
The Basic Storyline of God and Humanity
God has existed forever, and who knows exactly what God was up to before the creation of the heavens and the earth, but that’s where we get to begin in Genesis 1. God made the heavens and the earth. God made a lot of things, a lot of living things, and He made humanity (male and female) in His own image. Adam and Eve were entrusted by God to rule (have authority) over all of creation.
The enemy came on the stage and tried to convince Adam and Eve that they weren’t made in the image of God. Adam and Eve believed him and ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In this action, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and they obeyed the enemy. When the rulers of creation (Adam and Eve) chose to obey the enemy, they effectively came under the rule of the enemy’s kingdom and released his rule on the earth. The enemy’s rule effected their lives and all the rest of creation. Before the rule of creation was Life, now the rule of creation was death.
After this exchange of rulership, God displayed mercy and covered Adam and Eve in addition to explaining to them the results of their significant and destructive decision. God gave them a promise that eventually a son of man (a human being) would crush the head of that sneaky serpent.
Thousands of years down the line, God sent Jesus- God as man- to the earth. (Happy Christmas!) Jesus was (and still is) completely God and completely human. When Jesus was on the earth, He did a very curious thing. He chose to limit himself to operating as completely dependent on His Father and the power of the Holy Spirit. He did not perform miracles, signs, and wonders (both seen and unseen) as God, but as a man empowered by the Holy Spirit. He did this to show us the fullness of life that is available for every person who submits themselves before God. Jesus said that when we follow Him, we would be like Him and do even greater things than He did on the earth.
Jesus’ ministry lasted for the last 3 and a half years of his 33 year life. In those 3 and half years, He did so many amazing things that the entire earth could not contain the record if each of those amazing things was written down. One man. Three and a half years.
Jesus’ actions of healing, showing compassion, and sharing about the Kingdom of His Father were so offensive that Jesus was murdered on a Roman cross. On the cross, Jesus bore the sin of humanity and became sin for us. Through His shed blood, the sin of anyone who comes to Jesus is completely atoned for. The action of Jesus dying on the cross was so spiritually violent that it manifested in the temple by the curtain to the Holy of Holies being ripped in two. Jesus stayed dead for 3 days. He had so much life in Him that death lost it’s slimy grip on Him and He rose again by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus rose to life in a tangible body that He has forevermore (but His body can do cooler stuff than ours can right now). When He came back to life, He told His disciples that He purchased back the keys of death from the enemy. Jesus told His friends that He was given ALL authority in heaven AND on earth. He released His friends into the world under this authority, to act and live as agents of change, to restore the rule of their Good Father where the enemy had brought destruction, sadness, and sickness.
(PRESENT DAY). Our mission is the same as these first disciples, to make disciples of all nations. Our mission is the same because it hasn’t been completed yet. But it’s getting closer and closer to being completed.
(FUTURE). Jesus will return to planet earth to judge the living and the dead, to avenge the suffering of His bride by warring against those who oppose Him, and to gather up His Bride (all believers).
The New Jerusalem, the heavenly city that God has been building, will descend to the earth and rest upon it. Everything will be made new and heaven and earth will come together as one. Everything in the natural and spiritual will come together under the leadership of Jesus-the only One worthy to rule all because when He had access to all power, He chose humility and submission to God rather than forcing His own way. Jesus’ bride (the collective Church) will rule alongside Him and have authority (given to them by Jesus) to rule nations. We will forever live in the New Jerusalem on the earth. We will have new physical bodies that will last forever. We will not be bored. We will have purpose. We will be in perfect fellowship with each other and with God. God will be our God and we will be His people, forever.
The super-short cliff notes version of the transfer of authority…
God created the earth as a place for He and humanity to dwell together in perfect fellowship.
God gave humans authority over the earth.
Humans gave this authority to satan when they obeyed him in the garden.
Jesus (God’s son) purchased back this authority by the sacrifice of His life upon the cross and His resurrection from the dead.
Jesus’ followers use this authority to advance the Kingdom of God in the entire earth for the most important purpose of…
Re-establishing the earth as a dwelling place for God and humanity to dwell together in unbroken fellowship… forever.
I hope to demonstrate through this brief retelling that the dream of God has never changed- that the earth would be a dwelling place for Him and His people. Our goal as Christians is not to make it to heaven. Our goal is to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth so that the dream of God can be fulfilled. And within God’s dream we all find our highest dreams fulfilled.
I remember when this simple idea changed everything about the way I thought about my life as a follower of Jesus. People often talk about going to heaven, but Jesus told us to pray that heaven would come to earth. It’s hidden there in plain sight in the Lord’s Prayer. It changes everything when we believe that Jesus was “for reals” about what He said.