We CTBPers, if you will, start everything in the same way. We announce God’s kingdom. We give out the good news we’ve received. And we do all we can to ensure that people will stay strong in it and entrust it to others.
Our work in the field is among people who do not know God’s promises to us and what he’s done in history to fulfill them. Even the believers we work with haven’t known how to tell God’s message. So when we announce the kingdom we must say enough for the message to be weighty and good as well as complete.
How should we summarize the message of God’s Word? Who is to choose what to say and leave unsaid? The answer, of course, is in the Bible. Scripture tells us what is most important and God often inspired the writers to summarize the message for us. We believe God made his message clear and so we compiled, as far as was possible, a story of the Bible telling itself. To help translation, the statements are short and concrete.
We are not innovative or clever in our telling. We revise our story as we study and share it. This process will continue as we receive help. Those we’ve trained have been eager to adopt it and pass in on. By it, people have come into the kingdom and the kingdom’s work. This story is the framework for the other stories and training we give.
Our words and the way we wield them must reflect the source and authority of God’s Word. This did not start with us. And may it not end here. We continue to remind people — even ourselves — about these most important things. God has granted everything we need for life and mission in his Word.
The Kingdom Story (Creation to Christ)
God created the world with his Word. God spoke and made heaven and earth and all that is in them. God made man and woman like God. He blessed them to have authority and to multiply over the earth. It was so. And God was pleased.
When God made people, he loved them and gave them rains and harvests. God commanded them, “Love God and love each other.” But instead of loving God they loved the things he created. And they abused each other. Because of this sin suffering and death has entered into people’s lives and into the world. From that time, people have multiplied. But each generation of people has been like the first.
But God wanted to make a kingdom of holy people for himself from out of all peoples. God would be with them, and they would be with him. He promised to send someone to save them from their sins. He said this Promised One would come in the power of God’s Holy Spirit. He would obey God’s Word. Then he would suffer and die. And on the third day he would rise to life and rule as Lord forever.
At the right time, God sent the Promised One, his own Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus came in the power of God’s Holy Spirit. He went around doing good. He healed those under evil’s power. God was with him. He loved God his Father and loved others. He lived according to God’s Word.
Then, according to God’s Word, Jesus suffered and died for our sins. He was buried. And on the third day he rose to life. He appeared to many witnesses. And he gave them the good news: “God’s kingdom is near. All authority has been given to me, as Lord. Go and tell all people in all places to turn from their sin and turn to God for forgiveness. When people believe, dip them in water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And teach them to obey my Word. I will be with you always.”
After this, Jesus went to his Father in heaven. He promised to return. He gave his people his Word and his Holy Spirit. So they are becoming like Jesus. They meet together and love God their Father and love each other like family. They go and tell all peoples in all places to believe the good news that Jesus died for our sins. And when people believe, dip them in water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And they teach each other to obey God’s Word (just like I am doing today). From that time, his people have multiplied.
At the right time, God will complete his kingdom. Inside his kingdom there will be no sin, suffering or death. Outside there will be judgment and fire. God is saving this kingdom of holy people for himself from out of all peoples through faith in the Lord Jesus. And he is very pleased. He is with his people, and his people are with him always. Amen.