The point of Scripture, which the Bible says is a powerful two-edged sword that cuts to the deepest parts of us, is to mold believers to follow after Christ.
So what story are we telling with our words? Are we talking about the gospel and the Great Commission and telling people about Jesus.? I love that hymn “I Love to Tell the Story.” It speaks of a story that’s unlike any other. And you’re probably singing that song in your head right now. But it’s a story that never changes, and yet it’s special to each person that it touches.
It’s a story that’s been passed down through the ages, and yet it’s brand new to the one who hears it for the first time.
I don’t know if you remember the very first time you heard the story of Jesus. And I honestly can’t remember, but I know my grandparents took me to church. I didn’t grow up in a house with parents who were faithful believers, but my grandparents were. And they would take us to church when we were little.
I remember hearing about Jesus and I knew who he was, but I don’t remember exactly the first time. But when you finally realize who Jesus is and what he did for you, you remember that. It’s a special moment.
It’s a story that fulfills us. It gives us hope and it gives us purpose.
The song says “To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love”. The story the songwriter is speaking about is the story of Jesus Christ. It’s what we call the gospel. Far too often, as Christians we use words that people may not know.
So let’s break it down. What does the word gospel mean? It means good news. Now here’s the deal. I love that, but I think it should mean great news. In fact, it’s the best news. So to share the gospel is to share the good news of Jesus Christ and what he did for us.
What did he do for us. He saved us, right? So everything that the gospel entails is all about salvation. The word salvation, of course, means to be saved and what are we saved from? We are actually saved by God from God and His wrath. He’s a righteous God and for those who sin there is a punishment, but we are saved by God from God.
For a long time I heard the word gospel. I heard people saying you need to be saved. But then I thought, “I need to know specifically what does it mean to be saved? What does it mean to share the gospel?”
The answer? The gospel is simple, but we try to make it too hard sometimes. The first thing is that we’re all sinners. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
So when Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned” does that mean some of us have sinned? It means all of us, right? And that’s what the gospel starts with: realizing that you’re a sinner. It means that you’ve done something against a righteous God.
What does that mean and what have I earned because of that sin?
We’re all trying to get somewhere, and we’re all trying to earn something by the things that we do.
I get a paycheck twice a month because I’ve earned it. So we actually have earned something with our sin. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death.” That’s pretty harsh to say that our sin has earned us death. But it’s not just death. When we die, our death means an eternal separation from God.
I know people who will be eternally separated, and that scares me. We know that if we sin, we’ve earned that separation.
The prophet Isaiah says when we face God’s wrath, when we face death, our sins have separated us from God and “our sins have hid his face from you that he will not hear.”
The scary part is recognizing that we’re sinners. We recognize that our sin has earned us death and God has turned his face from us.
However, Scripture says “but God” . . . And that’s the awesome part. God never leaves it at that. There’s always a “but God”. Well, here it is: God comes in and gives the world a gift. For us there is someone who paid that debt we owe to God: Jesus Christ.
There’s one scripture every kid learns when they’re in church, John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world.” God loved the world so much that He gave His only son, his one and only Son.
It’s not just a friend that he gave to us; he gave his son so that whoever “should believe in him should not perish but have eternal life.” He said “whosoever”. Does that just mean maybe a couple of people that call upon God? No. Everyone.
If you know somebody who is not saved, tell them the story that Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected three days later. He was victorious over death.
Here’s the cool part about that: There is no other religion that can say that about their deity, their god that they follow. Only Jesus Christ was victorious over death. That’s awesome!
First Peter 3:18 says “for Christ also having suffered for us since the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit.”
So that says that Jesus died for our sins. He did what we could not do. We can’t save ourselves. There’s nothing we can do. It’s only by Jesus Christ.
Imagine sitting in a prison cell and the guard comes and unlocks the doors. He tells you your debt has been paid in full and you are free to go. What do you do? Do you sit there and deny that it happened? Do you say, “No thanks”? Or do you accept that gift and walk into freedom?
All I have to do is accept what Jesus did for you and ask for that salvation.
Romans 10:9-11 says “that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead. Thou shalt be saved.” It was that simple. So if you believe those things and then you confess it, you can be saved. “For with the heart, man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Scripture says whosoever believe in him shall not be ashamed.” That’s awesome news! So when we say the good news or the gospel of Jesus Christ, that’s what we’re talking about. We can have salvation and live in eternity with Jesus in heaven.
Now, when we have salvation, when we have that good news, it’s not something for us to just keep to ourselves. That’s the story we tell because we want other people to hear it. We want people to know. So if you’ve trusted in the Lord, then the song that we’re talking about, “I love to tell the story” makes sense. So the big question is, what story are we actually telling with our words?
A 2007 study showed that women speak about 16,000 words a day. What story did our words portray? And how can we do better? Let’s look at some scriptures that are going to focus on how to use our words to glorify God and tell the real story that needs to be told.
If you listen to Christian music, you’ve probably heard of the band Building 429 and I loved when I made the connection between their name and this scripture. This scripture talks about building one another up and that’s why they’re called Building 429.
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
Edify means to build up or encourage, so he says we’re to use our words, to build one another up that if I may minister grace on to the hearers”. Paul is writing this to the Ephesians and he’s instructing them and encouraging them to have unity within the church.
More than likely, you’ve probably gossiped once or twice in your life. Is that building up the church? Is that building up the group you are a part of? No. He says, Don’t let any corrupt communication come out of your mouth. Now that’s gossip, slander, or cursing.
What do you notice happens when we gossip, or when we speak words that are not encouraging? Division, anger, hurt, jealousy . . . nothing of which is glorifying to God. It definitely doesn’t make a pastor’s job any easier. When that happens in a church? There is division. And then you don’t work together as the body of Christ.
What does Scripture say happens when we use our words to build one another up? Paul says, “so that I may minister grace unto the hearers”.
Isn’t that what we really want? Don’t we want people to come to Christ? When we talk like that, do you think our words are really telling the story of Jesus?
Probably not. They’re not showing who he is. They’re not showing what he’s about. We want them to find his gracious love.
Let’s take a look at another scripture. I love this one. Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” So the question here from this scripture is are your words acceptable in the sight of the Lord?
What if your words could paint a picture. What picture would they paint? If Jesus truly is your strength and your Redeemer, like the scripture says, our words should draw people to the Lord, not push them away.
Sometimes the problem is that when we’re saved it doesn’t mean all of a sudden we’re sin free and never sin again. That’s not what happens. When we are saved, the Lord gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us, to convict us when we do sin, and to encourage us unto repentance.
And there’s another word to explore: Repent means to turn away from. We were going in one direction in sin, and when we repent, we go the opposite direction: towards the Lord.
So the Holy Spirit calls us to repentance. And that means we turn away from that sin. So hopefully that’s what we’re doing. Hopefully we are repenting of those sins. Hopefully, our lives are going to encourage others to come to the Lord.
My hope and prayer is that when someone hears my words that they hear the graciousness of God. That they know Jesus is love and he cares about them.
Jesus gave one last command to his disciples on how they should use their words. We’re talking about the gospel and the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20. This is the last thing that Jesus tells his disciples: “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
This is the Great Commission. Jesus commissioned his disciples to go and teach, to make sure the world knows the answers to mankind’s questions are within Scripture. So teach what I taught you, Jesus said, and all the things that you saw me do.
If we read through all four of the Gospels, we can see what he shared with his the disciples as they walked together for almost three years. And what was the most important thing that Jesus taught the disciples through his ministry with them? That you can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, just as his did.
John 17:3 says, “and this is life eternal that they might know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent.” That’s what Jesus wanted when he commissioned his disciples (and us) to go and disciple the world. He wanted people to know that they can know God.
In the Old Testament, priests in the tribe of Levi served as intercessors between God and man. They offered the sacrifices on behalf of the people. Remember, that was Old Testament law and those were the laws that God gave them.
However, Jesus came to fulfill the law, so now with Jesus, we don’t need that priest anymore. Now Jesus is our High Priest and he becomes that intercessor for us. He says, “Now you can have a relationship with God because of me.
Are we obeying God’s command? What can you do to start fulfilling the Great Commission?
Do you need to share your faith at work?
With a family member?
Maybe you need to share your faith and the love of Jesus with that old friend.
Maybe it’s that instead of the stuff we’ve been putting on Facebook; we need to say something that’s glorifying to God. Maybe it’s that we step out of our comfort zone and we serve in the church.
Only you know what the Lord is telling you. He’s probably already laid something on your heart that you need to do. And that’s the Holy Spirit speaking. That’s the Lord talking to us.
Or maybe it’s you. Maybe you need to be saved. Maybe you don’t have a relationship with the Lord.
We can’t fulfill the Great Commission or honor God until we have that relationship.
Our words matter.
What we say tells a story. Does that story point others to Christ? Isn’t that our main purpose here on Earth? We were saved by his grace and it wasn’t to sit, soak, and sour. We need to pour out the love of God to those around us.
What an amazing time to be a believer right now! The mission field is before us.
If there are that many people who are against Christians, there’s that many people who need to be saved.
So we can’t say, “I’m not called to be a missionary. I’m not called to go overseas. The Lord’s never told me to do that.” They’re right here in our own backyards. We need to share the love of Jesus.
Our nation needs a revival and guess where it starts. Right here with me. It starts with you. It’s got to start within. You may not realize it, but your words leave a lasting impact. Use them wisely.
Psalm 141:3. This is the Scripture that I’m leaving with you and the prayer that we need every day: “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth. Keep the door of my lips.”
If Jesus was standing at the door of our lips, would we still let the same things come out of our mouths?
What impression are we making with our words?
We really need to be thinking about what we share with our words:
Are they telling the story of Jesus and his love?