What is the Gospel?
Clarity is critical. It is critical when discussing engine repairs, relational needs, or business deals. But most of all, clarity is critical when discussing the Good News of Jesus—the Gospel. This message is simple, but stunning. And at its core it is news, not instructions. It is news about what has already been done, not what you can do. Every Christian is called as a messenger to report this news and ask for a response of belief or disbelief. Results are God’s business. Love of our neighbor is our business. Faithfulness with this message is our business. We will need the Holy Spirit’s help. We will need prayer. This is a supernatural mission.
The Gospel can be boiled down to four concepts:
- CREATION – God is the Creator of all things including humans. This is why there is beauty and order in the world—sunsets, mountains, beaches, biology. As Creator, He has authority over all things including the crown of His creation—humans.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis 1:1
- FALL – Mankind rebelled against the Creator, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. This rebellion (called sin) carried consequences for humans and for all of creation. This is why there is brokenness in the world—disease, decay, death. This is why there is separation between God and mankind. All God owes us is His holy eternal judgment called hell.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23
- REDEMPTION – In pure mercy and grace, God provided a way for rebellious humans to be forgiven of their sin, and adopted into the family and kingdom of God. God the Son, Jesus Christ, came into our broken world and became our perfect substitute sacrifice. He lived a perfect human life, was crucified on a Roman cross, and rose from the dead to rescue all who will put their faith in Him.
The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23
- RESTORATION – Anyone who truly runs to Jesus in faith, not only receives his forgiveness of their disobedience, but also receives his ownership (lordship) over their life. God the Holy Spirit takes up residence in their life and begins a restoration project (new creation) that begins in this lifetime but reaches completion in eternity.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
There is no perfect (or one) way to get into a Gospel conversation, so don’t get paralyzed that you won’t have the perfect question or comment to get going. However, getting started is usually the hardest part. Below are some ideas that can be helpful as conversation starters, but most important will be 1) your genuine interest in and love for another person, and 2) your genuine love of the Lord (reverence, trust, and obedience).
With someone you don’t know: introduce yourself and just ask questions that show interest in them, their hobbies, their team, their family, their work, their study, etc. Observe clues from their clothes, book, magazine, etc.
With anyone: talk about common ground stuff—family, singleness, marriage, music, work, weather, news, movies, food, sports—focus on hearing their thoughts on these things and not just giving a monologue of yours.
From the four Gospel concepts (creation – fall – redemption – restoration), look for an opportunity to bridge the Gospel into the conversation. Most common: is there something beautiful that points to God as Creator or is there something broken that points to the fallenness of the world due to sin? Sometimes topics come up about redemption/rescue, or restoration/home; these are normal longings that people express in their lives or from movies/music/books. These longings find their ultimate fulfillment in Christ alone. They are pointers to Jesus.
Some questions to keep in mind (often just one question will get you started):
- I love to hear about people’s spiritual beliefs. Can I ask about yours?
- What do you think is the ultimate purpose in life? (Why are we here? What is the meaning of life?)
- What do you think a real Christian is?
- What troubles you most about the Christian faith?
- Why do you think there is something rather than nothing? (Why do we exist at all? Why is there discoverable order—in the universe, planet earth, our bodies, etc.—rather than random chaos?)
It’s ok to be real and transparent—to be human. It’s also ok to say as Rebecca Pippert put it, “Look, I’m really excited about who God is and what He’s done in my life. But I also hate it when people push religion on me. So if I’m coming on too strong, will you just tell me?” When declaring Jesus; be yourself, build relationship, and share scripture.
- Life on Mission App – “3 circles” method to explain the Gospel
- The Story App – Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration
- 3 Circles: Sharing the Gospel Video (2min)
- The Story Film Video (6min)
- If you would like to record your story of trusting in Christ as a video link to share with friends, please contact pastor Jeremy Johnson at the church office. He’s happy to help you get it done!
- If you want to write to someone, maybe one of these examples could be helpful in getting started. Make it your own, and use it freely. Text or email is useful. Handwritten letters carry a high value in our time.