Links Daily Devotional

The Full Story

“Tell the people the full message of this new life.” (Acts 5:20, NIV 1984)

Some golfers tell stories better than others. Some shouldn’t be asked to tell them at all.

It is a common question of interviewers to ask an athlete to “walk us through” a sequence of the action. So even though we have just watched a golfer play an intriguing eighteenth hole, we have to endure the uncreative question and its predictable response. I say predictable, because nine times out of ten all the golfer has to offer is an exact recounting of what we have just seen.

Take up this story and tell it vibrantly and with the urgency of one who desires to see others saved!But perhaps it is all worth it for that one time when the player gives us something we could never have otherwise known—an exchange with the caddie, a conversation from dinner the night before, things like that. Then we have received something compelling; we have gotten the full story.

In the fifth chapter of Acts, we run into an angelic instruction that should have us researching one very good inquiry. At least some of the apostles were jailed by jealous religious leaders for their work of preaching and performing miraculous signs and wonders (see Acts 5:12-18). But an angel of the Lord arrived, opened the doors, and sent the men out with this commission: “Go stand in the temple courts and tell the people the full message of this new life.” The literal Greek there says “all the words of this life.”

This is a provocative line because it causes us to wonder if there is a short and a long version of the Good News of salvation in Jesus. Were the apostles in the habit of teaching something less than “the full message”? Unlikely. The angel was probably just encouraging them to not hold back. So, for us, we may ask ourselves, if we are to be Gospel-deliverers as the apostles were, what all should our message include? How full is full? What are “all the words”?

The Gospel can be told, of course, with more or less narrative, or greater or fewer metaphors, but it should never at its core be reduced.

The Gospel begins with the bad news: that our sin (corporate unto all of humanity, yes, but personally too) separates us from the God of all life, who is holy and without sin. It continues with the recognition—and this was especially meaningful to the apostles’ Jewish audience—that atonement is required for those sins, particularly atonement by an unblemished lamb. And thus, the Gospel continues with the bloodshed of the perfect Lamb, Jesus Christ, on the cross. Finally, the full message of this life must include the gift of eternal life through both the covering of our sin and the power of the resurrection of Christ extended to us (see Romans 8:10-11).

Perhaps I’ve given you only the skeleton of the full story, but it is all there, ready for the telling. Take up this story and tell it vibrantly and with the urgency of one who desires to see others saved!

Jeff Hopper
January 26, 2016
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