10 Hints on how to share the Gospel—Keep it simple

I was sitting in a high profile meeting with mature, highly capable men when one of them leaned forward and asked, “What is the gospel, can you explain it simply to me?”.





If you were asked this question, how would you respond? What would you say? Where would you begin?





Many sincere God-loving Christians struggle to know how to simply articulate the core truths of the gospel in a sentence or two. I know I once did. You may be asking, is it even possible to explain the essence of the gospel in a sentence?





Today I want to share with you a key passage that will help you know how to simply explain the gospel. You no longer need to wonder what you will say when you are given an opportunity to share the gospel.





As all those men waited for a reply to that question, I was grateful the Lord reminded me of the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 that says:





“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. And that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”





In these few short verses, we see the gospel in its simplest form wrapped in two core truths. If you can remember these two core truths, you will be able to share the Gospel with anyone. Can you see the two core truths? Take another look at the passage.





The two core truths are these – 1. Christ died for our sins, and 2. He was raised on the third day. These two truths are so profound and yet the gospel is still that simple. One sentence that captures the gospel – Jesus died for our sin, and he was raised to life so we can know him personally.





This is the one sentence I used to respond to the men waiting for my answer. This is a sentence you can keep in mind to begin simply explaining the gospel to someone. Your conversation no doubt will begin where the person is at, but with these two truths locked in your mind, you can naturally explain the beauty of the gospel in conversation in a way that is simple and relevant to the person you are talking to.





Christ died for our sin – Jesus took the punishment we deserve upon himself, giving us peace with God.

He was raised on the third day – Jesus is alive, and we can have a personal relationship with our living saviour.

This is the simple message our world needs to hear. This is the simple message God has sent you to share!





Today, God wants you to relax in your conversation when it comes to sharing the gospel and with these two gospel truths in mind, keep it simple.





Who has God sent you into relationship with that needs to hear these two gospel truths?





Take a moment now to re-read the passage again and ask God to give you an opportunity to share these truths with them.

What encouragement can we get from 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 when it comes to keeping it simple?





  1. Keep the Gospel your priority

For Paul the simple unchanging message of the gospel was of primary importance. He says, I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received. If there is one thing Paul wanted people to know and understand, one thing he wanted them to remember and prioritise in life, it was the simple message of the gospel. So, keep the gospel your priority.  





  • Keep the gospel, the gospel.

The gospel, Christ died for our sins and he was raised so we can know him personally, is the one unchanging message that has been preached around the world, throughout generations, in different languages, to men, women and children. This is the one unchanging message that has transformed countless lives and brings hope to all humanity. This is one message we never change. This is the message we share in its entirety. It is the power of this message alone that brings life and peace. So, keep the gospel, the gospel.





  • Keep confident in the truth of the gospel.

Can you see the evidence in the passage that supports the truth of the gospel?

  1. The proof that Christ died is he was buried. Jesus Christ actually died and was actually buried in a tomb.
    1. The proof that Christ was raised is he appeared to Cephas, the twelve… and in the very next verse Paul says he appeared to over five hundred others at one time, most of who are still alive when Paul wrote this account.
    1. The proof that this was all part of Gods plan is that these two events took place in accordance with the Scriptures. Nothing is a surprise to God; he can be trusted.

10 Hints on how to share the Gospel—Share your own story

One of the key aspects of talking with people about Jesus is that people relate to a story—especially if it’s something that they can relate to. This is even more true if it’s your personal story.

 

Years ago, our son Ryley had a serious accident. Over the course of the two months after his accident, while in hospital, my wife and I shared the story of what was happening and how God was blessing us. We didn’t realise it at the time, but our story was being shared around the world and deeply impacting people we had never known and will probably never meet. We were hearing from friends of friends of friends how they had been deeply impacted in their personal relationship with God by what we were sharing. They shared how God was talking to them and teaching them lessons while they were reading the updates from us.

 

We live in a post-modern world. In generations past, people used to arrive at truth by hearing the facts of the gospel. You could sit them down, hand them a tract, and if they were convinced, that was truth for them, and they turned to Christ. Now people no longer consider truth to be about fact, but about their experience. They need to understand and see and feel something to perceive it as truth. Sitting someone down and telling a person why they should believe in Jesus will usually no longer be effective.

When my wife and I shared our unfolding experience of God after Ryley’s accident, we weren’t sharing any particularly amazing or insightful thoughts. Nor were we coming up with the best “argument” to tell people why they should think certain ways, or why they should learn the same lessons we were learning. All we were doing was sharing from our hearts what we were going through and how that was impacting us, sharing how God was changing us as we went through God’s refining fire.

 

As you think about those people around you who you want to reach, you need to realise that one of the most powerful things that you can do is to share your own personal story. And be honest—don’t sugar coat it. People don’t want to hear how you were or are a perfect person. They want to hear how God has changed your life. They don’t want to hear stats or figures. They want to hear from your heart. As you begin, pray that God will use your story to draw others to him in the same way that he drew you to himself.

 

10 Hints on how to share the Gospel—Be real!

I will never forget the time my devout atheist colleague asked me to share my faith with him. He was one of the friendliest work colleagues I had, and I respected him greatly. One time, he mentioned that he is a bookworm, has read the Bible several times, and told me that he would like to ask some questions about Christianity the following day.

 

Yes, I was petrified and even dreaded the thought of going to work the next day! But God is with us always and everywhere and in every situation. I remembered that I wasn’t there to win a convert, surpass what he knows, or even to pretend I have it all!

 

I simply shared the gospel and how Jesus changed my life. I told him the story of my brokenness and the hopelessness in my own life and how God brought healing, love, wholeness, victory and a miracle over my situation. Suddenly he began to share his life story and how he ended up being an atheist.

 

He raised some questions I wasn’t able to answer at that time. In response, I simply said, “I don’t know. That is an interesting question. Would you like us to do a bit of research so we can discuss this more next time?” After that, we had more interesting conversations, and I gave him Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ” book as a gift. I mentioned that he reminded me a lot of Lee Strobel’s life story, who spent two years studying, researching, learning everything he could to disprove the resurrection and deity of Christ. Deep in my heart, I prayed that the same thing would happen to him, that just like Lee Strobel, he would also find Christ and change his life forever (John 6:44).

 

Here’s today’s hint for sharing the gospel effectively: Be real.

 

Don’t pretend that you have it all together. Be loving, honest and humble. You should never try to impress anyone but God alone. Never argue or debate. You are not being given an opportunity to air your pride but only to witness for our Lord. When someone raises a question you don’t know how to answer, say “That is a good question. I don’t know the answer to that, but would you be interested in researching it with me so we can discuss this topic further?” You can also say, “That is an interesting question. I need to think about it. Let’s do a follow-up discussion about this.” Pray and trust God’s word to do its work in the heart of the person you are talking to. You are simply a messenger.

 

Focus on Jesus and how God’s abundance of grace and love has affected you. Tell people about how he has changed your life. Talk about the way to get right with God because of what Jesus has done for us.

 

As Mike Mobley said, “Christianity is not about having all the answers and knowing everything. Being a follower of Christ does not equal being a biblical scholar (not that there’s anything wrong with that). In fact, I would say it’s quite the opposite and as believers in Jesus, it’s a lifelong commitment to learning and growing in our walk with Him. The sooner we can admit that it’s okay to not have all the answers, the better.”

10 Hints on how to share the Gospel—Go into their physical space

The other day I was mountain biking and during one of my rest stops, I got chatting to a guy who was there. We struck up an easy conversation about mountain biking (he was new to it) and the conversation naturally moved from place to place and eventually we were talking about what we do for work among other things. I shared that I worked for Ambassadors for Christ and a little bit about what we do with him. No door opened on that day to share with him further about the Gospel, but it showed that when someone is doing something they love, they relax and are happy to chat. You never know where a simple conversation can go in a context like that. It was the most natural thing. I didn’t have to force the conversation or at all, it was just part of the natural flow.

 

This is a key aspect of sharing the gospel. Going into people’s physical space. And I don’t mean getting “up close and personal” physically with them. Rather, I mean doing what they love to do, relating to them on a personal level…where they relax and have fun. 

 

But what is the key here? You need to ask questions and listen to their answers! You cannot go into someone’s space if you don’t know what that space is. Find out what their loves are, their hobbies. Then be intentional about joining in with them on what THEY love to do. This is not about you, it’s about them. It doesn’t matter if you love it or not. You never know, you may even find a new love yourself!

 

Spend time in prayer as you begin your journey with the person. Before, during and after your interactions, be praying that God would come with you. That you would be sensitive to his leading. And that you would be bold to speak when the time to speak comes and restrained to not speak if the time is not right. Then enter their space with confidence and ask God to lead the conversation where he wants it to go. Don’t force it! Remember that it’s not you who will convince your friend about their need for God, but rather it is God who will draw that person to himself.

 

And have fun!

 

10 Hints on how to share the Gospel— Saturate everything in prayer

Do you find yourself only praying about those things that seem spiritual, like before starting your Bible reading in the morning, but neglecting prayer through-out what feels like the mundane routine of everyday?  Think about those times that you had an opportunity to share the gospel with someone in the past 6 months.  Where were you?  How did the conversation start?  When you woke up that morning did you plan for it to happen that day or did the opportunity arise during what felt like the mundane routine of your daily responsibility?  Would you agree that God in his sovereignty has complete control over circumstances, both ours and a non-Christ follower’s?

 

Let’s pray that God’s power would direct our circumstances in the routine responsibilities we have today.  Lord, would you open a door of opportunity for me to share the gospel message while I am getting my oil changed today.  Would you, Father, be preparing that person’s heart that you are sending me to connect with today, and Holy Spirit, would you please fill my mouth with your words for this person who needs you. Col 4:2-6.

 

We also see Jesus seeking the Father’s direction. Where do you want me to go and sow seeds Lord?  Does God not know, and can he not direct you to that person or ‘field’ that is fertile to sow or ripe for harvest?  Mark 1:35-9

 

Since, in today’s culture especially, truth does not rest on logic alone but also on the experience that validates it—when you pray specifically for the person we are witnessing to, not just a general prayer for blessing but a prayer for a miracle, they have an opportunity to witness the love and power of God at work in their life.  This experience that you share with them will solidify your disciple-making relationship and more importantly, validate and quantify the gospel message in their heart.

 

Why not take a moment right now and pray that God would direct your circumstances today, direct you personally as to where and with whom to share the gospel, and that your redemptive relationship (the person you are sharing with) would understand intellectually and experience emotionally the Truth.

 

 

How do we build intentional relationships with people?—Talk about God’s work in your life

Talking about God’s work in your life can have a profound impact on your redemptive relationship because they do not share your same experiences of a relationship with God, yet their heart was designed for it!

 

To many, myself included, sharing aspects of my spiritual journey is deeply personal.  I don’t like to share them with anyone, let alone a non-Christ-follower.  But I have found that sharing something personal, from a posture of vulnerability, gives permission for the person I am building a redemptive relationship with to be very vulnerable with me in return.  As a result, our relationship can dive deep incredibly quickly.

 

As a person moves through a journey towards Jesus, we want them to experience authentic relationships with Christians, but also to experience the love and power of Christ at work in their own life as well.

 

This past month while doing evangelistic Bible study over Zoom with Jeff, my redemptive relationship, I shared with him a sin in my life that I was feeling convicted of.  He then shared a sin that he was feeling convicted and then we prayed together that God would help us.

 

The next week Jeff asked me about about the power of prayer and why it seemed his prayers weren’t being answered.  How would you answer a question like that coming from someone who had not yet surrendered their life to Jesus?  All I could do was tell him about how I had experienced God answer my prayers before and I trusted that He would again.

 

Then the next week Jeff told me that his sister, whom we had been praying for 10 weeks that she would experience God’s love and find healing from her alcoholism, was now 8 weeks sober.  Jeff later surrendered his life to Jesus.

 

Look at how building an intentional relationship with a man on an airplane named Jeff, just months earlier, can change multiple lives — pray that God would impact Jeff’s whole family through him.

 

As you build redemptive relationships with people in your life, you can move those relationships forward by talking with them about how God is at work in your own life!

How do we build intentional relationships with people?—By overcoming our fear of being rejected!

One of the most significant barriers in building meaningful and intentional relationships with people who need Jesus is the fear of being rejected. Fear paralyses us when we want to say our first hello, extend ourselves to form a friendship, communicate on a deeper level and build trust to bring the relationship closer.

 

Rejection stings, and as humans, it is natural for us to shy away from things that will bring emotional or physical pain. Due to this, many people develop a fear of rejection. I can relate to this as I grew up lacking self-confidence and was severely shy. I can say that I have missed out most of my school years because of the dread of being rejected!

 

How can you step past this fear and into meaningful relationships? Avoid awkward silences by being chatty to start a conversation. Don’t know what to chat about? Before the conversation starts, think of a few questions you could ask. This will almost always lead to a good conversation.

 

Try to find people with common interests—join a local sports team, book club, or volunteer with other parents in your children’s school, creative group, 4WD group or even camping groups. If the idea of joining a group is not applicable in your current situation, strike up a conversation with someone in a public place: a coffee shop, restaurant, library, park, in a plane or a taxi. Again, use questions to start these conversations. Your next God appointment might just be sitting beside you at the train station! I say this because we have known three families in our life group whom my husband and I have met as total strangers inside the train and on the train station itself on separate occasions!

 

We have to accept the fact that not everyone will be interested or ready to form a friendship with us or to receive the gospel. It might be tempting to think that we should have kept quiet rather than shared the truth. Rejection should not retract our devotion to Jesus and our commitment to the Great Commission. No relationship is more precious, none more important than our relationship with the Lord! In the same way, there is no life as fulfilling as when you have lived for his purpose!

 

Remember the rejection Jesus experienced during his lifetime, on the cross and his sacrifice up to this day. He was rejected by the Jews, by the Pharisees, his hometown, and by HIS FRIENDS who pledged they loved him and would never leave him! Ultimately, Christ suffered tremendous rejection when his own Father, turned his face away from him on the cross. We serve a Saviour who suffered in the flesh for our sake. Though he did not sin, he bore our sins so that we might be saved. Remember that because of what Jesus has done for us, we will never face the rejection of God again (1 Samuel 12:22).

 

Capturing this in my mind makes me cringe to think that I am even concerned or bitter when I receive rejection in my quest of building redemptive relationships. I encourage you, the next time you are rejected, to take time to consider the most unfathomable painful rejection our Lord received!

 

“The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” Luke 10:16 With this in mind, do not take rejection personally, because it is never about you!

How do we build intentional relationships with people?—See yourself as partnering with God

When I think back over my journey towards Jesus, I can see a multitude of people God sent into my life to help me encounter him personally.

 

God sent me into a family with a father who brought us up with the knowledge of God.

 

As a young boy, God also sent Scripture Teachers into my primary school to share Bible stories and the good news of Jesus.

 

As a teen, God sent me youth group leaders who followed Jesus and wanted to help me as a teen understand my need for a Saviour.

 

Then when I started working, God sent me Christian bosses who showed me what Christian life and work looks like.

 

As a young adult, God sent me a girl friend who knew Jesus and was willing to invite me into her world to experience Christian community.

 

And behind the scenes I know there was an army of Christians praying for me throughout my years, that God would continue to draw me to himself.

 

When it comes to building intentional relationships with people, you need to understand that you are not alone. You are partnering with God in what he is already doing in peoples lives. He is already preparing the way for you and will use you to help them move one step closer to encountering him personally.

 

Your role isn’t to do God’s job, it’s to allow God to work through you in the lives of the people around you.

 

Take a moment to think about and write down all the people God sent into your life to help you encounter him personally. Stop and thank him for each one of them.

 

Now take a moment and ask God to show you who he has sent you into a relationship with to help them encounter him personally. Ask God how you can partner with him in what he is already doing in their life.

 

Now go, partnering with God as his sent one!

 

How do we build intentional relationships with people?—Prioritise personal time with them in your schedule

 

There is a big difference between what is important and what is important to me. I may know that it is important to get up in time to read God’s word and pray about my day, but that doesn’t mean that getting up for God is important to me. In fact, the gap (between what you know is important and what is important to you) is the basis for much of the guilt that you carry around. This is true for your life as witness for Jesus.

 

When you look at Jesus’ life, you see that he was crazy busy with the demands of ministry to people. Yet it was important to him to spend time with “sinners”. He was committed to it, even when the religious people around him criticised him for it. He knew that “It is not the well that need a doctor but the sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

 

You know that following Jesus means building relationships with secular people who see the world so differently from you. But the thought of that makes you a little uncomfortable. So, while you know it is important to spend time with those people, you realise that it is not important to you. Or put another way, it so easily gets squeezed out by the many other things that clamour for your time.

 

Here’s an important principle for putting the truly important things into your life: if they don’t end up on your calendar they will probably not happen. Truly important things are usually not urgent things, and the urgent things get all your attention. So when you recognise that one of God’s biggest purposes for you here on earth is to be his witness in the lives of people who don’t know him, block out time on your calendar to spend with those people. It’s the only way that what is important will become important to you.

 

Set aside an evening next week to invite someone over for dinner who doesn’t yet know the Lord. Put it into your calendar. If someone asks you to do something with them then, let them know you already have something in your calendar (even if you have not yet spoken with your non-Christian friend about dinner).

 

If you want this habit of spending personal time with people who need Christ to become a part of your life, then you have to start by scheduling it as a priority. As you watch God start to use you to journey with that person to faith in him, you will find that what is important is becoming important to you!

New Year’s blog

One of the great things about the world God has placed us in is the natural cycles of life that allow for new beginnings and the resetting of our focus onto the important things!

 

I love the cycle of day and night, and how no matter how stressful today might be, I know that tonight I will sleep and tomorrow wake up to a new day, ready to face it in a new way.

 

The cycle of the seasons of the year also bring new perspectives and focus. The business world has changed the terminology to Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4, and these provide markers for setting goals and measuring how we are doing each quarter of the year.

 

And the turning from one year to the next at New Year’s provides one of the most significant opportunities for us as individuals to look at our lives and mark what we want to focus on in the coming year. Each New Year my wife Lois leads our family in choosing a word-for-the-year, a word that represents one area we want to focus on and grow in during the coming year. It’s always a meaningful time when we sit around the dinner table and share our words.

 

So this New Year I invite you to choose a word-for-the-year that represents how you most want to grow as a witness for Jesus this year. Here are a few suggestions for you to choose from, with a brief thought after each word:

 

Sentness – Learn to approach every encounter with every person in every day of your life with a sense that God is sending you into that encounter, that conversation, to represent him.

 

Relationship – Recognise that if you are going to help people find Jesus, you will need to actively build meaningful friendships with people that don’t know Jesus, rather than only spending time with your Christian friends.

 

Prayer – Specifically, prayer for people who don’t yet know the Lord. Learn to pray regularly, by name, for people in your life who need Jesus.

 

Questions – Learn the habit of asking questions to start spiritual conversations, rather than making statements. People react to statements, but interact with questions.

 

Gospel – Learn a super simple way of sharing the gospel with people so that you are ready to share it when the opportunity comes up. It’s too late to work on it when the time has come.

 

Ministry mindset – Change your whole way approaching your interactions with people so that you don’t evaluate the time you spent with someone by how it made you feel, but by how you ministered to them.

 

When you have chosen your witnessing word-for-the-year, write it down somewhere, along with the little description I have give here. Then spend some time in prayer, with your pen in hand, and ask God to help you come up with some specific things you can do to grow in that area. Talk to the people close to you and get their thoughts on this too. Write down what you come up with and then put that piece of paper somewhere that you will see it often throughout the coming year.

 

Doing this will help you grow in one of the most important areas of your life!