Let me begin with a short backstory.

When I was 12, the public school teachers went on strike. So my brother and I transferred to a catholic school in a town nearby. This was the first time that I got to experience nuns as teachers. These nuns were scary and intimidating. Or they seemed to be at the time.

But one nun stood out in my memory from long ago. Her name was Sister Angelina. She taught religion class. We had homework and tests just like any other subject. What I didn’t realize at the time was that religion class was not like any other subject. It was the most important subject of all!

Sister Angelina spent most of her efforts trying to follow the curriculum which was moving through the 66 books of the bible.

I admit, I wasn’t an A student in her class. And even more so, I didn’t even like her class. We read out of these Good News bibles and I really didn’t understand why they were called good news or what the good news was. I know it was religion class but why did we have to read about all that stuff? Why couldn’t she just tell us all the important stuff? Maybe a bullet point list and have a discussion and a quiz?

I wasn’t much of a reader then and honestly, I still don’t enjoy reading like some of you do. My wife could curl up with a book, buried in a pile of blankets on the couch, for hours and days and only come up for air when she needs food or coffee.

So in addition to this religion class, we had to go to church every morning at 9 o’clock. So now I am attending mass Monday-Friday at school and serving as an altar boy on Sunday mornings at my church. I was completely immersed in the river of God, so it seemed. Things began to change in me. I felt God pulling me closer and closer. Instead of resisting, I began to long for it. It became a hunger. I loved going to church 6 days a week. I wanted to know more about Jesus. And later that year, I was all in for God. I gave my life to Him. I was even wanting to go to seminary to become a priest.

I think back on Sister Angelina’s class and I can’t remember her, not one time, telling us about the gospel or what it was. Do you want to know something? Most folks, when you ask them, “What is the gospel?”, either don’t know what it is or they want to tell you about all 66 books of the bible.

The saddest part of the story is that Sister Angelina had such a great opportunity to share the gospel with young, hungry minds, and missed the opportunity. She would have been a much more effective teacher if she would have taught us just 10 simple words and what they meant for us.

What are those 10 words you ask? Well, I am so glad that you are paying attention. I can see you are on the edges of your seats. First, let me ask you… Do you agree that repetition is the best way to learn? How many of you have studied for exams and gone over and over and over the same pages of material so that you could get an A on your test? Almost everyone here, I am sure. Well, these ten words can be learned in a matter of minutes.

I am so sure that at least 80 percent of you will be able to hear and memorize these ten words, that I am willing to put my money where my mouth is. We will have a test after the message today and see how many of you remember.

Ok now pay attention. I am going to reveal the ten words that will change your life and many others. Are you ready? Here we go… Listen carefully… Oh! I forgot to mention that if you memorize these ten words, that there is a huge prize for you after the message today.

Ok now, without any further interruptions, here are the 10 words…

Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead.

Everyone pull out your bible. Whether it’s paper, or an app on your phone.
Let’s turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 15:1-8 and let’s hear what Paul has to say.

Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel I preached to you, which you received, on which you have taken your stand and by which you are being saved, if you hold to the message I preached to you ​— ​unless you believed in vain.

For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. Then he appeared to over five hundred brothers and sisters at one time; most of them are still alive, but some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one born at the wrong time, he also appeared to me.

1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (CSB)

Paul says at the end of verse two “unless you believed in vain” – vain may be understood as “without due consideration, in a haphazard manner”. If people profess to believe the gospel but have not given due consideration to what that implies or what it demands, they do not really trust Christ. Their belief is groundless and empty. They lack saving faith.

This was a gentle rebuke for some of the Corinthians who were far from appreciating what the gospel really meant. They “received” the gospel and accepted it as fundamental, even though they did not completely understand it.

Sister Angelina could have told us those ten words. What are they?

Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead.

Would we have received it? Would we have believed it? Now it may seem I am coming down a little hard on the Sister. Don’t get me wrong. I am just pointing out an opportunity that she missed. Children are so important for the future of our world. Implanting the truth about Jesus and what He has done, is one of the most important if not THE most important thing we can do in our lives.

So here is my opportunity for all of you Children (of God). I am not going to walk you to the door and not unlock it. I want you to be equipped when you leave here today with knowing what the gospel IS and what it means to be a follower of Christ Jesus. And hopefully, a way to share it.

Let’s look back at 1 Cor 15 verse 3.

For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

And there it is… The key that unlocks the door. How exciting is that?

Now what does it mean? Let’s start with “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” Christ died for our sins and there is proof. Where’s the proof? In the scriptures.

Centuries before Jesus arrived, there was a written account of the crucifixion. Does anyone know where that can be found? Here’s a hint… The Suffering Servant. This was found in Isaiah chapters 52 & 53. That’s what Paul learned when he studied scripture. They did not have the New Testament yet because they were living the New Testament. They were reading and learning from the Prophets and Moses’ writings. That was the proof!

The prophets proclaimed the coming of a savior and Isaiah described to the people that the savior would suffer and die for us in great detail.

Next, we look at “he was buried”. Paul didn’t need to emphasize this because Jesus was put in a tomb. You don’t bury people who are alive, you bury the dead. That is the proof.

Finally, the third point is “he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures”
Where’s the proof? David has the proof. Let’s turn to Psalm 16 verses 9-11.

Therefore my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices; my body also rests securely.
For you will not abandon me to Sheol; you will not allow your faithful one to see decay. You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures.

He will revive us after two days, and on the third day he will raise us up so we can live in his presence.

Hosea 6:22

Now that a resurrection is anchored by a future Messiah, the book of Hosea submits resurrection as prime evidence that God loves His people.

The one verse that I think stands out the most is the story of Jonah 1:17

The Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jesus says this in Matthew 12:40

For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.

Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Wasn’t it necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and enter into his glory? ” 27Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures.

Luke 24:25-27

So let’s get back to Paul. When he is writing this letter, he tells the readers in Corinth, here is what happened, and here is the proof. It’s backed up by scripture. Not only does he use scripture but in verse 5 he tells them that Jesus appeared to a bunch of people and if they need to double-check his story, that most of the people that saw the resurrected Jesus were still alive. Go talk to them.

So I say to you, people of CrossPointe in the Village of Chippewa Lake. What more proof do you need? I can tell you this. You will never, I MEAN NEVER pick up a newspaper and see a story that says that the body of Jesus was just discovered.

We have the Old Testament with Moses and the prophets. We have the New Testament with Jesus speaking in it and the apostles’ writings. That should be more than enough proof. Unless… you “believed in vain”… Hmmm. Was that a little harsh?

Let’s call a spade a spade. If you have this mountain of proof and you need more, let me explain something to you. 3 words… You lack faith. You have not accepted Jesus wholly… and completely…
If you have accepted Jesus as your savior, the proof is only a bonus.

That should give you confidence. Here’s the kicker… If you have accepted the gospel, have faith in Jesus, and have given your life to Christ, you now have the Holy Spirit living inside of you. That is our compass.

You have to understand what accepting Jesus implies and demands.

Accepting Jesus implies you have laid down your life and picked up your cross and are going to follow Him. It implies that you have repented of your sins. You have turned from idols; like money, things, lust, you fill in the blank… It implies that you are now living with the Holy Spirit inside of you. Guiding you.

What does it demand? He is your king! He demands allegiance. Commandment number 1. Also 2-10 are pretty important too. He demands obedience… Matthew 5… The Beatitudes. Actually, chapters 5, 6, and 7 are the greatest sermon ever! The sermon on the mount. We are to put him above all else! King of Kings! Lord of Lords!

So let’s get to the nuts and bolts of the matter. The reason I am standing here today sharing these things with you is #1 because I love my God and he loves me, and #2 because of what Jesus says here.

The Great Commission.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Matthew 28:19-20

Jesus commands us to go out and spread the gospel. What is the gospel? What are those ten words?

Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead.

Dr. Larry Moyer is one of the finest speakers on the subject of expository preaching and evangelism. He graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary many years ago and also teaches there. He has gone on to create an entire ministry called Evantell. Evantell is a group that is focused on sharing the gospel and equipping people to evangelize as well.

I want to teach you a process for evangelizing. This is Dr. Moyer’s method. Learning this method is probably one of the most loving things you can do. Don’t worry about it being a sales pitch or something canned. Think of it this way… If you have a method or a process and you work on getting it down, it gives you the opportunity to be more present with the person you are sharing it with. Here we go:

Start off by first getting to know the person. This could take 5-30 minutes. Next, ask them, “Has anyone ever taken a Bible and shown you how you know for sure that you are going to heaven? May I?”
Tell them, “There is good news and bad news. The bad news is about you and the good news is about God.”

Let’s start with the bad news.

Bad news statement #1: We are all sinners
Verse: Romans 3:23 Always have the person read the verse so that they stay engaged. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Illustration: “Sinned” means we have missed the mark. When we lie, lust, or gossip, we have missed the standard God has set. Suppose we both threw a rock at a target 5 miles away. You might throw it further than me, but both of us would miss. It is the same with our relationship to God.

While you may do more “good works” than me, we will both still miss the target of perfection. We are guilty of sin. Well the bad news gets worse…

Bad news statement #2: The penalty for sin is death
Verse: Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death.”
Illustration: A wage is something that we earn in return for our deeds. Suppose I agreed to pay you $50 for some work you did for me. That $50 is a wage – it’s what you earned.

The Bible tells us that the wage we have earned for sins is death. Not just physical death – spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God. Since we are unable to come to God because of our sins, the Bible says that God came to us. This is the good news!

Are you ready for some good news?

Good news statement #1: Christ died for you
Verse: Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Illustration: The Bible says that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, took the punishment for our sins and died in our place. Suppose you are in the hospital and dying of lung cancer after smoking your entire life. Suddenly, the doctor comes in and tells you someone is willing to have their perfectly healthy lungs exchanged for yours, removing all cancer cells. What would happen? They would die and you would live. They would die in your place. That’s what Jesus has done for us.

The good news gets even better…

Good news statement #2: You can be saved through faith in Christ.
Verse: Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Illustration: Faith means trust. We must trust in Christ alone for salvation. Just as you would trust a chair to hold you up while providing no effort of your own, so you must trust Christ alone to get to heaven through no effort of your own.

Any good thing you might do cannot get you to heaven. It is through Christ alone. There is nothing more important than your need to place your trust in Christ for salvation. If you would like to do this, you can tell God you are trusting Jesus Christ as your Savior through a simple prayer. It is not a prayer that saves you; it is trusting Christ that saves. Prayer is simply how you tell God what you are doing.

Dear God, I know I’m a sinner. I know my sin deserves to be punished. I believe Christ died for me and rose from the grave. I trust Jesus Christ alone as my Savior. Thank you for the forgiveness and everlasting life I now have. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Can anyone tell me the 10 wonderful words that we have been working on today?

Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead.

Just as I promised. Here is your huge prize: Salvation for you and all those you share it with. There really is no greater gift.

Evangelism is just that simple. Evangelism is a God-honoring action that we are commanded to do. We read that in Matthew 28.

How will the world know about Jesus unless you share Him with them?

Can I share one more passage with you? This is brilliant and I have to say when you take this apart line by line, it will make your jaw drop. This is the armor of God described by Paul.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:14-17

This passage is so pregnant with information that it could be a whole other message. What I wanted you to see here is that Paul is advising you to be prepared. Be ready. Know the gospel and carry it out into the world (feet fitted with readiness). Be ready with the shield because the evil one is going to attack you for being obedient to God. Wear the helmet of salvation. Salvation means that you are His and should be an ambassador for Christ. You are representing our Savior. Keep in mind not who you are, but whose you are. Jesus promised to be with you until the end of the ages. All of these are your defensive tools.

Here is your offense. The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

If you want to be effective as an evangelist, be prepared and know God’s word. Spend time with God each and every day. Share what you learn with those around you. People are more likely to listen deeply if what you tell them is an experience you went through personally. Be advised that the lessons you are “hopefully” learning on a daily basis are God’s teachings and wisdom. He wants you to share them with those around you. Deliver the Good News! Make disciples for Jesus.

Before we scatter, I want to make one thing clear to you. People can be saved in many ways. Our pastor Randy walked the aisle of an altar call and gave his life over to Jesus. I came to Jesus at a very young age. Sister Angelina may not have shared those 10 words with us, but with her help in studying the bible, God won my heart and I fell in love. I wanted to be a priest and serve Him and profess the Good News.
Many years later I still feel the same way, except for the priest thing.

It’s important that we follow the commandment Jesus gave us and go into all of the world and make disciples. The biggest reasons people don’t evangelize are fear and not knowing the gospel.

Everyone here is invited to attend the Evangelism class that I am facilitating after church next week. It is a study of a book written by J. Mack Stiles called Evangelism. An awesome book that every one of you should read.

I hope that you have gained some confidence in seeing just how easy it can be to evangelize. There are cards on the back table. Take one to help you to remember Dr. Moyer’s process and presentation of Bad News-Good News.

Make a friend… Be a friend… Bring a friend to Jesus…