I once was lost, now I am found. I once was dead in sin, now I am alive in Christ Jesus.
Freedom, hope, love, and salvation wrapped up in two sentences. I am constantly struck by the utter beauty and simplicity of the Gospel. So many times we get waylaid by the lie that we must know the ins and outs of any ideology we might run into before we can effectively share the Gospel. We get stymied, thinking we should read the entire Qur'an before we speak to a Muslim. Or perhaps we should peruse The Power of Now before we talk with an atheist. But do we really need those things? With what must we be equipped to effectively share the Gospel?
Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.
In I Corinthians 2:1-5, Paul says, "And I, brethered, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."
Paul was undeniably one of the most influential preachers of his (and our!) time, but his methods did not mirror those of the Roman or Greek of his day. Never were oratorical devises employed nor did he study under great speakers to learn the manner of wooing a crowd. He simply preached Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Paul's ministry stands as a great example to us today. Let us not fall into the thought that we must develop an argument we can use to "win" when speaking with an atheist or Muslim or fill-in-the-blank. Let us stop putting off our desire to share the gospel because we don't "know enough" of the other person's beliefs yet. Instead, let us arm ourselves with the Gospel and be ready to speak it whenever we have occasion! Let us be ready to give an answer to all who ask us the reason for the hope within us!
We have the hope of eternal life! This is no light matter! We literally possess the sum total of everything needed, hoped for, and desired by every human being on the planet. People are hungry and thirsty for the Gospel. Let us be ready to share it with them! Someone made the effort to ensure I heard it fourteen years ago - I cannot do any less for those I know today.