In the beginning, God created the world with his Word. He spoke and made heaven and earth and all that’s in them. God made man and woman like God. He blessed them to multiply and rule over the earth. So it was. And it was good.
When God made people, he loved them and gave them rains and harvests. And he gave them his Word. He said, “Love God and love one another.” But they listened to evil and didn’t obey God’s Word. Instead of loving God they worshipped created things. And they did evil to one another. Because of this sin, suffering and death has entered into people’s lives and into the world. Since then, people have multiplied. But all peoples have remained in sin.
But God called a kingdom of holy people out of all peoples. He promised to bless all peoples through one of their descendants. This Promised One would come in the power of God’s Holy Spirit. He would love God and love others. And he would suffer and die for their sins. But he would rise to life and rule God’s kingdom always. So God will be with his people, and they will be with him.
At the right time, God sent the Promised One: his own Son, Jesus. Jesus said, “God’s kingdom has come near! Turn from sin and return to God. Believe the good news!” Jesus came in the power of God’s Holy Spirit. He went around doing good. He freed those under evil’s power, because God was with him. He loved God his Father and loved others, according to God’s Word.
Then, according to God’s Word, Jesus suffered and died for our sins. He was buried. But on the third day God raised him to life. Jesus appeared to many witnesses. He said, “All authority is given to me. Go to all peoples in all places with this good news of God’s kingdom and multiply. When people believe, bury them in water and raise them up in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey all of my Word. I’ll be with you always.”
After this, Jesus went up to his Father in heaven. He promised to return and gave his Holy Spirit to his people. Now, they go to all peoples in all places with this good news of God’s kingdom. God’s people have been multiplying. In faith, they teach and obey God’s Word. In love, they meet together as churches, and eat together to remember Jesus. In hope, they resist evil and pray for his return.
At the right time, Jesus will return and complete his kingdom. Inside his kingdom there will be no sin, suffering or death. Outside there will be judgment, fire and evil. God is creating this kingdom of holy people out of all peoples in King Jesus. So it will be. And it is very good. God is with his people, and his people are with him always.
About “The Kingdom Story” (Creation to Christ)
We CTBPers start everything in the same way: we announce God’s kingdom. We give out the good news we’ve received. And we do all we can to ensure that people will stay strong in it and entrust it to others.
Our work in the field is among people who don’t know God’s promises to us and what he’s done in history to fulfill them. Even believers we’ve worked with haven’t known how to tell God’s message. So the story must say enough for the message to be weighty and good as well as complete.
How should we summarize the message of God’s Word? Who’s to choose what to say and leave unsaid? The answer, of course, is in the Bible. Scripture tells us what’s most important and God often inspired the writers to summarize parts of the message for us. We believe God made his message clear and so we compiled, as far as was possible, a story of the Bible telling itself.
The good news needs to cross languages and cultures. To help translation, the statements in the Kingdom Story are simple and as concrete as possible. Words and phrases are repeated to aid memory. We don’t assume that listeners will understand key terms (like God, sin, Jesus, repentance, baptism…). Instead of relying on key terms to communicate meaning, the story must give meaning to the most important terms in the Bible. In short, the Creation to Christ message (or Creation to Church, Creation to Consummation) must itself work as a single story that is natural, clear and accurate.
We’re not innovative or clever in our telling. We’ve revised our story as we study and share it. This process will continue as we receive help. Those we’ve trained have been eager to adopt it and pass it on. By it, people have already come into God’s kingdom and joined this kingdom’s work. This story is also the framework for other Bible stories and training we’ve given.
Our words and the way we wield them must reflect the source and authority of God’s Word. This didn’t start with us. May it not end here. We continue to remind people — even ourselves — about these most important things. God has granted us everything we need for life and mission in his Word.