Summary: Present the facts and that’s all. What I want to talk about today is getting back to the basics.
I have been struggling with this sermon for quite some time. I knew the general idea of what I wanted to say, but could not find a way to present it that I felt justified the message. Then I realized, Derrick, you speak of simplification of the gospel, but are complicating it further. Just say it and be done with it, don’t flower it up or throw in any complicated ideologies. Present the facts and that’s all.
What I want to talk about today is getting back to the basics. Simplifying the message of salvation and the gospel of Christ. Man has striven to make his life easier since the dawn of time. From the invention of the wheel to the latest gadget that we must have for our homes. Take computers for example. What began as a glorified calculator has become an essential part of life for most of the world. Yet the more computers can do to simplify things the more complicated they must become. Don’t get me wrong, I am not about to preach to you about the “evils of technology” for a goal of mine is to be a card-carrying computer geek. Many people are terrified of computers. Especially when they think about what power lies in those tiny computer chips. Yet computing is surprisingly simple. No matter what type of computer you are using or what program you are running, they all rely on two little numbers, 0 and 1. That’s right, break apart every application or operating system and you find binary code running everything. So, become fluent in binary code and you will know exactly what is going on with your computer.
The Bible is similar. There are hundreds of different translations of the Bible. From Wycliffe’s translation from Latin to the latest one in magazine format with glossy photos and quizzes designed to appeal to teenage girls. Yet millions are turned off by the Bible by the complex theology and doctrine within its pages. They don’t realize it is all very simple. The Bible was given to us as a roadmap. Directions to salvation and a closer walk with the Lord. But because of the volumes upon volumes of literature written about the Bible, explaining the ideologies inside, people don’t take the time to boil it down to its simplest form. That is what I hope to do today.
The first step to finding anything is the desire to find it and the willingness to look. Take for example, the tale of the rich young ruler found in Mark 10:17-22. It tells of a young man who ran through the town to find Jesus and ask “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” He did not ask this question lightly, seeking an easy route to eternity. No, he had an earnest desire to seek and follow the Lord. He knew that he was missing something and sought to find it. What he found he could not swallow. The obedience to the commandments was not an issue, he had kept them since his youth. The abandonment of worldly pleasures and treasures, however, was a little more than he could bear.
Look also at the jailer of Acts 16:30,31. Paul and Silas had been thrown into prison and shortly thereafter endured an earthquake so violent it broke loose all the prison doors. When the jailer saw the doors open he feared all the prisoners had escaped. He knew that his superiors would allow no excuse for the escape and hold the warden responsible, which would more than likely entail a cruel painful death. To spare himself the pain he decided to end his own life. He had drawn his sword and was poised ready to plunge it into his heart when he heard a shout “don’t harm yourself, we are all here!” At this the jailer knew there was something different about these men, he rushed to them and asked “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” He too knew that there was something lacking in his life that was present in these two men, Paul and Silas, that they would willingly remain imprisoned, when there was nothing to stop them from escaping and that the other prisoners touched by that same power, held fast in their cells as well. “What must I do to be saved?” Believe in the Lord Jesus...and he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in the Lord.
Two examples of people searching, longing for the road to salvation. One asked the Master Himself, the other asked two of the founding apostles of the early church. Both times no intricate explanation of theological ideals nor complex doctrine to master in order to achieve salvation. These two men both took the first step, yet with very different outcomes. Jesus said “obey my commands” and give up all other things and follow Him. Paul said to believe. Neither of these answers were overly complicated or too hard to accomplish. Believe, obey, and follow. How many cannot comprehend any of these things?