Now, how shall we best tell men of Jesus? Well, the modern newspaperman's rule in his work is this: |Make it a story.| This is his leading rule in all his writing work. Whatever the occasion may be, whether a meeting of scholars or an accident on the street, it is to be put into story-form. That is the ideal toward which he works. All the descriptions, and quotations, and information, and philosophizings are to be woven into this web. They know that a story is the easiest thing to read and to listen to, and also the hardest to tell well.
That should be our rule here: Make it a story about Jesus. When it comes to talking the Gospel to a group of people, large or small, in New York or Shanghai, make it a story. Wherever you may begin the story, see that its purpose is to lead up to Jesus. You may use twenty-five minutes in getting your story out, and then put the Jesus touch in the last five minutes. But as they go away that last five has given its flavor to the whole half-hour's talk. Or, you may begin with Him, and so run through. But the rule should be: Make it a simple, natural, attractive story, such as people will want to listen to, because it interests them.
That means a lot of hard work in preparation. The simpler and easier and more natural it seems to the crowd the more it will have cost you in study. You will have to study so carefully that they won't guess you have studied at all. You must absorb this Bible story, bit by bit, through and through, until it becomes a bit of yourself.
You must use books that help make this Book clearer and plainer. That is really the mission of biblical books, to make the Book plainer. If they send you to the Bible they have fulfilled their mission. If you stay in them, they have failed.
The Bible is an Oriental book in its way of putting things. Its story is built upon the habits of those Eastern peoples. While it is full of simple teaching easily understood, one needs to understand those habits to get the real meat of the meaning. This means a habit of hard work for him who would be a winner of men. He should have an ambition to know the Bible story thoroughly, and to get it from the Bible itself.
But, whatever your particular message may be at any time, let it lead up by a straight road to Jesus. Follow the rule of the Book itself here. The Old Testament all points to Jesus. It can be understood only as He is understood. And the New is aflame with His presence. Tell the story of Jesus to men. They never tire of that. Tell it accurately. Tell it simply. Tell it with endless variety. Put it in simple every-day words, so they think about the story and not about you or your words.
Tell Jesus' life; His characteristics; how He mingled among men, and talked with them. Take up the Gospel incidents, and give them their natural flavoring and coloring in present-day speech. Tell of the Nazareth life, in home and carpenter shop and village. Go through those wondrous three and a half years, bit by bit.
Go into the temptation wilderness, out on the blue waters of Galilee, and into Gethsemane's olive-grove. Climb that bit of a rise of ground called Calvary. Wherever you are in that story, make sure that the coloring of Calvary gets distinctly in, by word or phrase or climax or somehow.
Now, of course, there will be some theology in your telling. You will make comments and explanations. And preachers call that theology. That is unavoidable. That is the place for such teaching, as it naturally grows out of the story. But the story should be the main thing. Men should be sent away thinking about a Man, Jesus; not about a theory of doctrine.