Two things are happening to a person in spiritual and physical crisis:
1. At this point they realize that only God, the one who created them, can effectively and enduringly meet their needs.
2. They also feel that their relationship with God is estranged because they have ignored him for so long.
The uncommon church will foster an environment where helping others navigate this bridge is the norm. Therefore, the uncommon church walks this bridge with others, not retracing their own steps again but walking alongside helping, answering questions, and encouraging others as they cross a bridge between natural and supernatural living. A verse that reminds us of the magnitude of the newness and that we represent God in it, can be found in 2 Corinthians 5:17–19: “What we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives” (MSG).
The importance of walking the bridge with them
And so, as Christ’s representatives we need to tell others how God gave his Son to provide a bridge back to himself. I have found that in many growing churches almost all congregants know how to explain the story of Jesus’ bridge.
Thus, the last key toward helping others navigate the bridge back to a restored friendship with God is to have a congregation that can explain God’s biblical bridge. Sometimes called “the plan of salvation,” these are simple memory devices that the majority of all attendees in the uncommon church must know if we are to fulfill Paul’s admonition in 2 Corinthians 5:19 that, “God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives” (MSG). Here are three of the most common explanations of that bridge:
The Four Spiritual Laws 13
1. God loves you and created you to know him personally (John 3:16; 17:3).
2. Humans are sinful and separated from God, so we cannot know him personally or experience His love (Romans 3:23; 6:23).
3. Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for human sin. Through him alone we can know God personally and experience God’s love (Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3–6; John 14:6).
4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know God personally and experience his love (John 1:12; Ephesians 2:8–9; Revelation 3:20).
The Romans Road 14
To aid in memorization, this explanation employs the metaphor of a Roman thoroughfare:
• Romans 3:23: “All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.” (Everyone needs salvation because we have all sinned.)
• Romans 6:23: “The wages that sin pays are death, but God’s gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (The price or consequence of sin is death.)
• Romans 5:8: “But God shows his love for us, because while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Jesus Christ died for our sins. He paid the price for our death.)
• Romans10:9: “Trusting with the heart leads to righteousness, and confessing with the mouth leads to salvation.” (We openly declare that we receive salvation and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.)
• Romans5:1: “Therefore, since we have been made righteous through his faithfulness combined with our faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Salvation through Jesus Christ brings us back into a relationship of peace with God.)
Steps to Peace with God15
This explanation uses phrases tool: from John 3:16 as a memory
• For God so loved the world: “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3).
- That he gave his only Son:“While we were sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
- That whoever believes in him: “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27).
- Should not perish:“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (John 10:28).
- But have everlasting life: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
So pick an explanation that works for you. But hold one another accountable to be able to explain at least one route, for 1 Peter 3:15–18 urges:
Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God. (MSG)
Excerpted from Cure For The Common Church: God’s Plan to Restore Church Health, by Bob Whitesel (Wesleyan Publishing House 2012). For further online notes: See Chapter 8 Complete Notes.