As we walk with the Lord, the words of the apostle Paul serve to help us focus on what really matters. It is so easy, if one does not apply effort to do what God desires, to find oneself in the empty pursuit of nothingness.
In Acts 20, Paul gives a final message to his friends in the church of Ephesus. He had faithfully preached the gospel and taught the Word there. Now it’s time to say goodbye, so he gives a summation of what a Christian ought to be.
He compares the Christian to a runner in a race, a servant, and a witness. Now, in Acts 20:25, he likens the believer to a herald: “And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more.”
The word preaching means, “To declare a message as the herald of the king.” The witness tells what has happened to him, but the herald tells what the King tells him to declare. He is a man commissioned and sent with a message, and he must not change that message in any way.
I think we tend to way overcomplicate the message of the gospel. There is a profound power in its utter simplicity. I have had people express surprise at the response we will have to the invitation to receive Christ at our Harvest Crusades events. They’ll say, “But the message was so simple!”
Exactly. That was my very objective. Not to be simplistic, but to be simple. The gospel is so deep that the greatest philosophers pore over its meaning. Yet it is so simple, that even a child can understand it.
Billy Graham was once interviewed by David Frost. In the interview, Billy told Frost that in his presentation of the gospel, he “studied to be simple.” Generally, we think we ought to study to be complex. Not at all. The gospel is an understandable message. When the message is not understood, it’s not the fault of the message, but the messenger.
Sometimes, we may be reluctant to share the gospel with others. Or we may feel we need to “edit out” certain parts that might offend people. We often hear of some of the best parts of a film being edited out and left “on the cutting room floor.”But the job of the herald is to proclaim what the King tells him to proclaim. In the same way, the job of the Christian is to preach the gospel. So today, look for opportunities to “herald” the gospel message. In such a dark world, it really is still “good news!”
Out of their long and painful journey has come a really helpful survival guide, so to speak. It’s a book called Suffer Strong: How to Survive Anything by Redefining Everything. It’s not just an inspiring story of triumph through trials but a how-to book for accepting God’s plan and recognizing His providence even when it feels like your world is shattered.