The Four Chapter Gospel Presentation

Possible Opening Transitions: If asked: why are you here? or who are you? We are followers of Jesus Christ and we believe that He cares about this issue ________. In fact, the story of the Bible (or the story of Jesus) is all about God’s desire to set things right.... To bring about social justice. Do you know the storyline of the Bible? Would you like to hear it? (It’s the story of God’s plan for you and me and for the world around us.) or Simply: Hi, I am here because I follow Jesus Christ. I believe that He is real and living and working to set things like this ___________right. Can I tell you about His story? Like all stories, the biblical story (or story of Jesus) has a beginning and an ending; it starts at the very beginning of time and runs to the end of time. It’s a story of what ought to be, what is, what can be and what will be.

At the beginning of the story, chapter 1 let’s say, God created the earth and everything in it, designing it for good. In the first book of the Bible, it says that “God saw everything he had made and behold, it was very good.” (Gen 1:31)
Chapter 1 of our story describes how God created the world and designed it for “good.” -- It describes the “way things OUGHT to be”--everything flourishing under the loving rule and reign of God. Humankind is right relationship with God, with nature and with each other. Draw each circle below as you cover each point or perhaps better use the attached “kingdom story” diagram to walk thru each point (see page 6). Draw a few stick figure people in a circle holding hands inside the circle of the earth. Write over it: DESIGNED FOR GOOD

But what is our world like today? As you look at everything that God has made, does it appear “good” to you? How then do you feel about the world around you? What do you think happened? The answer is in chapter 2 of our story....

Chapter 2 says that the “good” world that God created has been DAMAGED by EVIL. And unfortunately, it says that evil began in the hearts of people. We rebelled against God.
Our story is just getting started when it says that “God saw the brokenness of man, where every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Gen 6:5 What happened to God’s original design for good? Well, the Bible says people rebelled against God. In their hearts, they decided they wanted to be in charge, to decide what was good and what was not good. The Bible calls this rebellion “sin” and says that “all of us have sinned and fall short of God’s glorious intention for us and the world.”(Romans 3:23). Chapter 2 of our story explains that “our relationship with God was broken.” Sin separated us from God and his loving rule and reign. This rebellion against God damages and corrupts the other relationships in our lives as well--our relationships with other people, our relationship to creation, even our relationship to self. As a result, we all experience guilt, fear and shame--whether we want to admit it or not. Chapter 2 of our story describes the “way this world IS” Draw circle of earth, with stick figures, heart broken and show how all four relationships God, others, creation and Self (with guilt, shame, fear) are broken, label diagram DAMAGED by EVIL

(Ask one or several of these questions?) Where have you seen damage/brokenness in your own life? In the lives of others or in the world around you? How do you feel about it? How do you think God feels about his “good” world damaged by evil? What do you think God could do to set the world back to good? How could God repair the broken relationships? It seems like a sad story to this point--this contrast between what “ought” to be and what “is”. Yet, we're only on chapter 2. In chapter 3, the story gets better and better. There’s good news: a rescue happens!

Chapter 3 says that God sent His Son Jesus as King--as all creation’s rightful Lord. His plan was to rescue and redeem a broken world. Here’s how it worked:
In the Bible it says that God loves you and this world around you and that God has a plan for both. But God demonstrates his love for us in that while we were still sinners (in rebellion against Him), Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (Draw circle of the earth with people disconnected, and an arrow from God and a cross in the middle of earth to God, Jesus as Rightful King and Lord. Label: GOD SENT JESUS TO RESCUE AND REDEEM)

Here’s the interesting part of the story: Into this world damaged by evil, God sent his Son Jesus to be King and Lord. But since Jesus loves us and the world around us, intending it for “good”, Jesus refused to fight "evil with evil". He did what no one expected. Jesus lived and died sacrificially.... In a perfect life of love, Jesus lived as God intended us to live – to love God and to love our neighbors. And ultimately, Jesus even gave his life to pay for our rebellion by willingly dying on the cross. The Bible says “Christ died for us” (1 Cor 15:3 or “Christ died once for our sins, the just for the unjust” 1 Peter 3:18) Can you imagine this: the world’s rightful King and Lord, instead of demanding our obedience, “died for us” on a cross. And that willing death on the cross broke the power of sin and death and has begun to restore all that was broken by the power of evil in this world. Chapter 3 describes “the way things CAN be.” But what’s even more amazing, chapter 3 had this amazing ending: death couldn’t hold Jesus. The Bible says that “Christ died for our sins, he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures and he appeared to many people. (1 Corinthians 15:3). Jesus’s resurrection from the dead demonstrated his power to rescue us and our world from sin and death and brokenness. In fact, Jesus’ resurrection not only ends chapter 3, it’s the beginning of chapter 4.

Chapter 4 says that Jesus’s resurrection begins a “restoration and reconciliation” process that continues even today. We are in the midst of chapter 4 of this great story and God wants us “Respond To and Join Jesus’s Loving Rule and Reign as King of Kings”. We are in a time looking forward to and working toward the end of the story when Jesus will finally set all things right.
Thru his death on the cross and his resurrection to new life, Jesus shows that he is the Rightful Lord and King of the universe (over all the heavens and the earth and everything in it). He has begun to reign in the hearts of those who follow Him. And Jesus is coming again to fully reign and finalize the “setting of all things right.” But now, today, Jesus’s reign over the heavens and the earth begins when we choose to follow Him. He’s inviting everyone to follow Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus’s reign begins in the heart. But just as the sin of rebellion originated in the heart, our submission to Jesus as King must begin there as well. Our heart (our mind, emotions and will) that rebelled against Him originally, must now turn back to Him in loving submission. And when we choose to follow Him, he then invites us to help Him redeem and restore all that evil, sin and death has damaged. The Bible says that we must in our hearts turn to God (change our direction, our allegiances) and trust in Jesus as Rightful Lord and King. The Bible invites us to "Turn and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ that our sins may be blotted out and that times of refreshing (and restoration) my come from the presence of the Lord”--Acts 3:19-21 (Draw circle of earth with cross and a stick figure kneeling with arrows going out to the world. Show how Jesus begins to restore the four broken relationships. Label: Respond to and Join Jesus’s Loving Rule and Reign as King of Kings.)

The Bible says that we choose to follow Jesus by "faith, not by works." For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesian 2:8-10 It’s like a gift, we simply receive it. We don’t have to work for it. But once we receive it, we get to join Jesus in doing good works...the good works of restoration and reconciliation. (As a result, all those broken relationships can begin to be restored and work again for our benefit and for the benefit of the world.) One way to submit to God is simply to choose Jesus as our King and Lord/Leader... Simply say to God from your heart: Jesus, I choose to follow you as King and Lord. I'm tired of rebelling against your good plan for me and for the world. Thank you for showing me how to live and for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank you also for inviting me to join you in restoring a world damaged by evil. I confess that I am guilty of rebellion against you. Forgive me. Begin to use me as part of your plan for me and for the world. What do you think? Do you want to follow Jesus as King and Lord? If so, just tell Him in simply words like those above. Conclusion/Wrap Up: Now that you've chosen to follow Jesus as King and Lord, He wants you to discover his plan for your life. As the Bible says in Ephesians 2:10, you were created for good works. Can we get together to learn about what God has prepared for you to do? They are described in the Bible.... When can we get together? (or do you know a place where you can learn about the Bible and join other Christ-followers in bring change to the world?)

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