American Kerygma: Why we share the Gospel

by Kyle
published June 10, 2017


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If I told you I had something new in my pocket, you would immediately begin to wonder what it was. If I just left it at that, you would probably ask to see it, wondering what it was. It’s just common sense.

But the American church violates this common sense pretty regularly. There’s a famous verse. It’s near the top of every “Top Bible verses to memorize” list. AWANA children know it by heart. If you start it, lots of Christians can finish it: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Then, a couple verses later, there’s a famous and succinct summary of the gospel message: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

If you are familiar with these two verses, I will wager you aren’t familiar with what verses 18-20 - the short text between these two well-known verses - say off the top of your head. And that is the problem with the church in America and with its message.

Verses 17 and 21 are fantastic summaries of the gospel, but verses 18-20 describe how we’re supposed to apply that truth to our lives. And we don’t know what they say. We love to talk about being made into a new creation, but we violate the common-sense question the necessarily follows: what is the new creation? If I am made into a new thing, what sort of new thing have I become?

The verses we don’t know answer that question, and the answer is inconvenient.

Verse 18 says, “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” The “us” there is all people who have trusted Jesus. “Us” refers to all the new creations. Every Christian, therefore, has a “ministry of reconciliation.” We call people who do ministry ministers. Therefore, every Christian is a minister. “Reconciliation” is when two parties make peace with each other. In this case, according to the very next verse, the world is against God. But God wants to make peace with the world, and he chooses to work through Christians to do it. So he makes them all ministers.

To strengthen and clarify the point, verse 20 says, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” Still referring to all believers in Jesus, this verse describes our job in a similar set of terms. We are ambassadors for Christ himself through whom God is begging the world to trust in Jesus and be at peace with him.

In America today, we make Christianity all about what we can get. We get to go to heaven. We get God’s love. We get hope. We get success. We get happiness. We get to be new creations. And while some of those are true, that is not what the Bible focuses on at all when it talks about the Christian life. Instead, it focuses on what we give. We’re supposed to give our time and money. We’re supposed to give grace. We’re supposed to give peace. We’re supposed to give a message: “Be reconciled to God.”

But according to the Barna research group, 98 percent of Christians don’t share the gospel ever. They know the verses, but they don’t do anything with them. We reason it’s the pastor’s job, or a missionary’s job. Or maybe we think we live in a Christian culture, so we don’t need to. Or we confuse “be reconciled to God” with “adopt my political views because the Bible says I’m right.”

The church in America will die, and you will never personally enjoy the benefits of being a new creation in Christ, if you do not share the gospel. If you want to walk in the kind of joy the whole world is chasing and which the Bible promises to every new creation in Christ, you must live as what the new creation is: a minister of reconciliation and an ambassador for Christ.

If you would like some training on a simple way to share the message of reconciliation, watch my video “411 Training - What?” at

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