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—Make sure you know the Gospel yourself

What an extraordinary blessing to be called a son or daughter of God because of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice! As we grasp and experience the mind-blowing, selfless, and inexhaustible love of our Lord, it becomes natural for us to pray for opportunities to witness for Jesus. As God places us into various situations to share the Gospel, whether it is a one-time encounter or maybe in someone’s journey of encountering Jesus, the Scriptures tell us that we always need to be ready to share our faith as believers (1 Peter 3:15).

 

As we begin to pray, “Lord, what is your purpose for me in this person’s life?”, we seek for his clear leading and say, “Where are they up to in their journey toward you? How do you want me to be involved for this person to take the next step in their journey toward you?” and lastly, we say, “Use me, Jesus to lead this person to put his faith in you”. When we have this mindset of availability to God, we’ll find ourselves in diverse encounters because he sure loves answering those prayers!

 

Having known our purpose and that Jesus has sent us:

  • into every encounter
  • with every person
  • in every circumstance
  • in every day of our lives…

… are we ready to share the one unchanging message of salvation and hope? How do we say it in the simplest form? I used to complicate the message of the cross when sharing. I used to throw in words or religious terms that a lot of people don’t understand. I must have ended up confusing them instead of helping them understand the Gospel.

 

So, how do we say the Gospel in the simplest form?

 

The Apostle Paul puts it simply in 1 Corinthians 15:3-6.

“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. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

 

“I delivered to you as of first importance” Paul says. In a way he is saying that there is NOTHING more important in the Christian faith than this. This is the essential truth you must not get wrong. This is the gospel boiled down into two great truths.

Christ died for our sins, and he was raisedThat’s it!

 

The evidence that Jesus died is that he was buried. The evidence that he rose again is that he was seen by many (Cephas, the twelve, more than 500 brothers, James, the apostles, Paul himself). This is our one unchanging message. This is the gospel—two truths:

 

“Christ died in our place, for our sins, and he was raised again, he is alive today and we can know him personally.”

 

Every gospel conversation you have with people will be different, but every gospel conversation can revolve around these two simple great truths.

 

“Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15) Through repentance and faith, Jesus’ simple message has the power to transform lives, break bondages, heal deep feeling of inadequacy, brokenness and misery, restore relationships and families, unite communities and heal nations.

Billy Graham said, “The way of salvation has not changed. All these centuries the way to the kingdom of God is exactly the same. Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by me. He will never change, but you MUST CHANGE.”

 

Pray this today:

 

Pray that God would give you grace to live a godly life and that he would open doors of opportunity for you to share these gospel truths with the people in your life that need Jesus. When God gives you those opportunities, be bold and keep it simple!

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

10 Hints on how to share the Gospel— Talk about what it is like having a close personal relationship with God

This morning I met with my doctor. I meet with him for checkups every 4 months. When I started these meetings, I knew that God had sent a Christian (me) into his life because God is reaching out to him. We have had many good spiritual conversations over the years and have built up a friendship and a level of trust that means we have very open conversations and talk freely about personal and spiritual issues.

 

Our conversations range over many topics, but I have noticed that he is especially interested whenever I share about what my own close personal relationship with God is like. Our gospel conversations make the biggest impression on him when we also talk about my relationship with God.

 

This shouldn’t have been a surprise to me. Before I make any major purchase, I scour the internet for reviews of people who have actually used the product and brands I am considering. I don’t just want to read the advertisements—I want to know if it really works and lasts. I want to know the experience of people who have already bought the product.

 

Why would it be any different for someone considering Christ?

 

As you reach out to people in your life who don’t yet know Jesus, be sure to mix your gospel conversations in with sharing about what it is like having a close personal relationship with God. People want to know!

 

Sharing your experience of God and what it is like to have a growing relationship with him not only opens people’s hearts to him, but it also makes the gospel more believable to them.

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?—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!

How do we build intentional relationships with people?—Is being a good person in front of them enough for them to be saved?

Were you ever befriended by someone only to find out later that person had a secret agenda in the friendship?  And it’s so crushing, right? …when you find out, they didn’t really want a relationship.  They just wanted the cool toy you had, or worse, to sell you something they thought you needed.

 

As disciple-makers we want to build new relationships with people, not necessarily because we’re lonely and need more friends, but because people need the Saviour.  And therein lies the challenge:

 

How do we steer clear of fabricating artificial friendships and embrace cultivating authentic, mutual relationships that frame the gospel message?

 

Building trust through a posture of vulnerability cultivates authenticity in relationships, right?  Is that not why we put great effort into being the best version of me I can be when making a new friend ie: be punctual, return what was borrowed, show acts of kindness etc?  But what will I say when the person I am cultivating a redemptive relationship with asks me, “Will you still be my friend if I don’t accept the message of Jesus?”

 

Maybe an even harder question for us is, “Will they still be my friend if I share the good news about Jesus with them?”  And the more authentic that relationship is, the greater joy or pain we experience in the answer.  But isn’t it comforting to know that Jesus also experienced this tension and understands how we feel in our hearts?

 

For me in the past, what often happened was that in my relationships I would neglect the one unchanging gospel message we have as believers for so long that one of two things would normally happen:

 

Either it became extremely difficult to bridge the gap from personal conversation to spiritual conversation, because for so long we had never talked about it and my friend didn’t even know I was a Christian.  As a result I depended on my good behaviour to speak for me in hope that my friend would one day initiate a spiritual conversation.

 

Or, on the other hand, I lost my sense of ‘sentness’ in the friendship after investing so much, only to discover late in our relational journey that his heart was ice cold toward Jesus and deeply committed to his pluralistic religious views.

In EvangelismSHIFT we prioritise the relational development journey in our disciplemaking approach to evangelism.  We intentionally lead our relationships from acquaintance to friendly conversation, then personal conversation, and on to spiritual conversation, with the ultimate goal of clearly communicating the gospel.

 

You understand what happens when we skip a step in that natural progression, right?  The relationship gets frustrated and awkward. In a similar way, what happens when our friend doesn’t even know we are a follower of Jesus until we start sharing the Gospel at the last step?  Often that relationship gets frustrated and awkward.

 

So I urge you, don’t make the same mistake as I did.  Don’t listen to the enemy today when he temps you to only be a good person and neglect, in your friendships, the believer’s one unchanging gospel message—that Christ died to forgive your sins and he is alive today to have a relationship with you (1 Cor. 2:2).

How do we build intentional relationships with people?—Invite them into relational environments and into other spheres of relationships you have

Recently, an acquaintance showed some interest in doing a short course with me to explore the Christian message for himself. We have a mutual friend that encouraged him to do the course and another couple we both know who wanted to host the group at their house.

 

We decided to meet on a Monday night. We began with five of us and by the end of the first night they asked if others could join the group and I asked if my son could come along too. Within just a few weeks of getting together the group decided that we should have a family day out four-wheel driving and invite others they knew and my whole family so we could all get to know each other.

 

The family day out was so much fun, four-wheel driving, laughing over the two-way radios, lunch together and conversation. The invitation to join them was significant and really touched my heart.

 

What does it tell you when people want to spend time with you outside of your normal social setting? What are you communicating when you invite people who may have different beliefs to you into your other spheres of relationships?

 

It communicates the value we place on that relationship and the desire to go deeper.

 

A way you can build relationships with people is to intentionally invite them into your other relational environments and your other spheres of relationships.

In which environments do you naturally connect with people?

What are the natural spheres of relationships you have?

How can you overlap these two circles?

It is in the overlap that your relationships will go to a whole new level.

What fun day could you organise and invite your spheres of relationship to?

When could you host a small group of people at your house?

Who can you invite to explore the Christian message?

Don’t wait – take the initiative today!

 

Are you looking for a simple tool to journey with people towards Christ? Check out LifeWorks.  The perfect experience to share with friends who don’t yet know Christ.

Why the gospel is relevant in today’s age?—Because it contains truth that can be experienced!

Why is the gospel ignored by so many today? Of course, for many, even in ‘Christian nations’, they have never heard the gospel. But for many, the gospel seems totally irrelevant because they regard Christianity as something that has nothing to do with real life. Christianity has been so identified with political parties and in practice seems like nothing more than a religious club with rituals and activities. Many people who know people who go to church and see them during the week treating others badly, or using dishonest business practices rightly discount their faith as fake and decide that Christianity is not worth their time.

What people are looking for is not an outward show of religiosity, or to hear Christian arguments. People are searching for what is real, and they decide what is real based on their experience. This marks a change that has happened with this generation. For hundreds of years people decided what was real based on logical reasoning. They still reason today, but their reasoning starts with their experience. Experience determines truth.

This is where the gospel shines. The entry into a relationship with God is not abstract. It’s not simply the adopting of a new set of beliefs or changing some of your activities. Nothing could be more experiential than encountering God. That encounter with God does not start at the moment of faith. No, it starts long before that as God begins to reveal himself through Christians that person knows. They see God in them and in their relationships, in their ability to face tragedy with peace and trust in God, in their responses to difficult people, in the way they do business, and in their open conversation about their experience of God.

In these dark days, the world needs real believers to express their faith, to talk openly about God, to show the world the reality of a God who doesn’t just exist in theology books, but in our lives each day! There has never been a better time to speak openly with people about God than today, as the world seems to be crumbling around us. Don’t hesitate. Speak out for him today.