People are attracted to the gospel, not just because of the promise of sins forgiven and an eternity with God when we die, but also because they deeply feel their own brokenness and long for the restoration that only God can bring. Grasping this truth is vital for effective evangelism – it enables Christians to share the gospel in a way that will make people understand their need for a Saviour.
In Colossians 4:5-6, the Apostle Paul challenges us to “walk in wisdom toward outsiders [those without Christ], making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” He implies that we should not memorise one way to share Christ with everybody, but rather we should talk about Christ with “each person” in a way that opens their hearts to him.
Four ways to approach the gospel
We have only one simple, unchanging gospel message but there are so many different ways to bring that one message to people so that it connects with them. There are four main ways to approach the gospel: 1) guilt and forgiveness; 2) brokenness and restoration; 3) alienation and reconciliation/adoption; and 4) hell and heaven. The central unchanging gospel message of Jesus dying in our place and rising to relate to us today is, of course, the turning point between the negative and positive sides of each of these approaches. As I consider what is going on in the heart and life of the person I am sharing Christ with, I can decide which approach will connect most deeply with their life.
Brokenness and restoration
Let’s focus on the second approach: brokenness and restoration. This is the approach to take if someone’s own brokenness is at the forefront of their mind or experience. If they are struggling with broken relationships, addictions, conflict, lack of meaning or other major areas of brokenness, then talk to them about God’s design and mankind’s Fall.
God’s beautiful design for humanity is seen in the Garden of Eden when God looked at all he had made and it was very good. God’s life flowed through the first man and woman, enabling them to live out his purpose for them in each other’s lives and in the world he had made for them. They had a great relationship with him and with each other and had a purpose in caring for his world. They brought glory to God. This is what has been broken and needs restoring through the gospel.
When Adam and Eve pushed aside God’s design and decided to go their own way, something about the way God had made them broke and the life of God stopped flowing through them. Spiritually, they were dead.
Results of brokenness
Immediately the results of that brokenness were obvious. They started blaming each other for their bad choices. In the very next chapter of the Bible, one of their children murdered the other out of jealousy. We’ve all been born with that same brokenness. The beauty of God’s design for humanity is still visible, but it’s been damaged at every level.
As we live out that brokenness, it’s no wonder we offend God over and over again, while also damaging our own lives and relationships and this world we live in.
How God repairs brokenness
When we put our faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross to make us right with God, God repairs some of our brokenness instantly. His life begins to flow through our lives again and we become part of his family and experience his love. He then starts a process of restoration that continues throughout our lives as he repairs the damage of our fallenness and enables our lives, our relationships, our activity to reflect his beautiful design. Our relationships change, our choices change, our purpose changes.
If you know someone who is struggling with their brokenness, be sure to talk with them about God’s beautiful design, and what happened to it at the Fall, and how they can begin to experience God’s beautiful design again through the gospel!
Share God’s beautiful design when you share the gospel. It helps people understand their need for God.