“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (NASB)
If you were in a boat out in the open sea and fell overboard, but didn’t know how to swim, what would you want your friends in the boat to do? Certainly they would tell you to hang in there, or tell you to keep your head above the water. But sooner or later wouldn’t you hope that they would throw you a life preserver? At some point you would have to be rescued, because your situation is a matter of life and death.
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Paul tell us that the substance of the gospel message is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yet many times in our witnessing it seems as if this message is absent. We may talk about the exciting church we’re a part of and all that is happening there. We may talk about how Jesus’ wisdom for living has helped us find meaning and significance as a single person, or in our marriage, or in our family. We may talk about how the power of Jesus Christ has helped us overcome addictive behaviors, or a sinful past, or a painful season of grief. And there is a time to talk about all of that.
But unless there is a time when we get down to basics and talk about the cross and the empty tomb, we are not sharing the true gospel. Sooner or later we have got to throw people a life preserver–because all that can save a person from drowning for eternity is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“The kingdom of heaven is like something precious buried in a field, which a man found and hid again; then in his joy he goes and sells all he has and buys that field.”
Matthew 13:44 (Amplified)