In the book of Second Samuel, a messenger named Ahimaaz (A-hee-ma-oz) wanted to bring a message to King David. His father was an important priest named Zadok whom the King trusted. However, the news to be sent was not good, so King David’s general, Joab, chose to send a different messenger. In those days, certain messengers were sent based on the content of the message; one was sent when it was good news, another with bad news, and another who could bring either good or bad news. Ahimaaz was a messenger for good news. The story unfolds in the eighteenth chapter after King Absalom died in battle. He was David’s rebellious son who stole the hearts of Israel and staged a coup that sent King David running for his life. Though Absalom had become his enemy, he was King David’s favored son. Joab knew the news of his son’s death would devastate David, so he wanted to send a more neutral messenger, a Cushite.[i]
However, Ahimaaz, because of his devotion to King David, wanted to bring the message. Joab’s response was, ”why will you run, my son, since you have no news ready?"[ii] Since Ahimaaz insisted on running, Joab gave him permission. In the story, Ahimaaz outruns the Cushite and arrives first, but is told to stand aside because his message is incomplete—it lacked the news most important to David—news about the life of his son, Absalom.
In many ways, Christian believers are more like Ahimaaz than the Cushite. When delivering the message of God’s story of reconciliation (the gospel) it is incomplete. The part left out of the gospel is the Lord Jesus’ resurrection. The resurrection is what guarantees forgiveness from sin, and the believer’s hope in eternal life. Not only this, it gives insight into the mystery of this earthly, physical body being changed into a new, indestructible body that enables a person to enter and live in the presence of God.
Paul reminded the believers in Corinth about the foundation of all he taught them. He exhorted them to continue to believe in the full truth of this gospel and not listen to teaching contrary to it. If they allowed false teaching to influence them, it would jeopardize the work of God’s grace in their lives.
Additionally, Paul delivered the gospel they heard and received in person. This may seem incidental but it is very relevant. The gospel is not just truth about God passed on by any means available, it is God’s story—the personal testimony of God, and how He rescued humanity through His Son, Jesus. His story is most effective when it’s told in person to a person.
The believers in Corinth heard the gospel preached to them with apostolic authority. God gave this authority to Paul, His apostle and messenger, to preach the gospel to the Corinthians—God’s story relayed by God’s messenger.
Once they received the gospel as true, they began to live their lives differently. The foundation for their lives was a new destiny—a destiny of eternal life in the presence of God. Paul exhorted them to continue, not only believing but living their lives according to what they believe, “unless you believed in vain” (1 Cor 15:1, 2).
Paul relayed three things about the gospel—it is the most important truth; he told them what he personally received from God; and it agreed with the OT Scriptures. First of all, the gospel is the essential foundation for all Christian believers. All other teaching must be considered in light of the gospel. Secondly, Paul passed on what was revealed to him by God. This is what all believers are to do—share with others what God shows them.
Lastly, the truth of the gospel is found in the Scriptures given to the chosen people of God, the Jews. The history of God’s first relationships with people is linked with the gospel. Adam, the first man, had a face-to-face relationship with God prior to sin’s interference. God’s relationship with Abraham was significant, because he was considered righteous on the basis of his personal trust in God. Both men and their relationships with God are found in the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible.
Many of our national staff at Rainbow Village Ministries[iii] were staunch Roman Catholic. But they lacked the assurance of eternal life. Entrenched in their religious beliefs and traditions, they refused to consider a personal relationship with God by grace. Anya (her nickname) was a faithful Roman Catholic who would argue dogmatically against the “Born Again” gospel of grace.[iv]
But during a women’s retreat hosted by another ministry, Anya came to believe in Jesus in a more personal way—based not on religious conviction, but on God’s grace—His unearned favor. Her testimony for days and weeks later was, “I feel so different inside.” She experienced a spiritual transformation in her heart that changed her entire life. She continues to live as a “born again believer,” because she experienced God’s favor, acceptance, and resurrection power in her life.
I mentioned in a previous post (another excerpt from my soon-to-be-published book) about the "vanishing hitchhiker" announcing the Lord is coming soon and prompting the question, "Are you ready?" Indeed, we do need to be ready for the Lord's return, whether you're a believer or not, but there's another readiness all believers need—a readiness to share God's story with others.
This is a major point in my book, "The Mystery of the Gospel, Unraveling God's Story." I don't see this readiness in many believers. Unfortunately as mentioned above, many believers are like Ahimaaz, their version of the gospel story is incomplete. How about you? Are you ready? Ready to share God's Story with others?
I'll be making an announcement for the release of my book when it's published...stay tuned and thanks for reading.