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—Ask questions to determine where the person is up to on their journey toward God

There is one skill you can learn that will help you in your interaction with every person, one skill that will help you go deeper in your conversations, one skill that can help you go from knowing someone just as an acquaintance to becoming friends—a skill that can help friends have meaningful conversations. This is the same skill that can help you move naturally from meaningful conversations to sharing the good news about Jesus Christ with someone.

 

What is that skill?

 

Learn to ask questions!

 

When you observe the interactions Jesus had with people, weather they were people he had just met or someone he knew well you often see him asking them questions. Why? I believe primarily because people will react to a statement but will interact with questions.

 

Meaningful questions are a powerful way to engage with people in a way they feel valued and heard. Asking the right question enables people to engage in conversation at the level they feel comfortable.

 

Think about it. I can make a statement about something that I truly believe and if you don’t hold to that same belief, you can just dismiss that statement and forget about it. However, if I ask you a question, that question will be floating around in your mind until you at least give yourself an answer. Try asking someone a question about anything today and you will see that this is true!

 

Perhaps most importantly though, asking questions will enable you to get to know someone deeper than the surface level and give you insight into what that person thinks and believes. Then you can continue the conversation in a way that is relevant to them and move toward the gospel.

 

So, what are the best questions to ask?

 

One of my favourite questions to ask people is: “What is your spiritual belief?” This one question has given me great opportunities to understand the heart language, thoughts and beliefs of countless people. Only once has a person said to me that they aren’t interested in talking about spiritual things. So, we just talked about other matters. People’s responses to this question have allowed me to ask further questions, or they ask me what my spiritual belief is, giving me the opportunity to share my personal story of coming to know Jesus Christ.

 

Another great question is “Has anyone ever explained the three core beliefs of Christianity to you before?”. I love this question because most people don’t have a clue and are curious to know what they are. When they respond No, I then ask another question, “Would you be interested in exploring these with me?” and most of the time people are very receptive.

Do you know what else asking meaningful questions does? It allows you to listen to people, learn about them and lean on the Holy Spirit to lead the conversation towards him.

 

Take time now to think about the last conversation you had with a friend who needs to know Jesus. When that opportunity comes up again, what question could you ask them to determine where they are up to on their journey towards God?

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!

 

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 seeking spiritual conversations with them

If there is someone in your life who doesn’t know the Lord and you really want to help them turn to him for salvation, you need to recognise that if they are going to move from where they are to faith in Christ, there is going to be a spiritual journey for them. Here’s the second thing to recognise: if you want to be a part of their journey to faith in Christ, then you need to go on a relational journey toward them!

 

What does that journey look like? First, you move your relationship from the ‘acquaintance’ level to the ‘friend’ level. Then you start going deeper than the surface in your conversations. You start talking about life issues, both the joys and the pain, both the hopes and the disappointments. That is, you get into each other’s lives. Many friendships never make it to this level, but all it really takes is asking the right questions that take your relationship deeper: “Are you happy?” “What are the most important things in life to you?” “What is your relationship with your kids like?” “Do you feel close to your spouse?”

 

The next step in your relational journey as you help someone journey toward Christ is to move on from personal conversations to spiritual conversations. This is a real turning point for that person as they start to think and talk about God and about Jesus, especially as you share your own personal experience of a relationship with God, rather than simply religious activity.

 

Many Christians are very nervous about how to start a spiritual conversation. They are afraid it will feel forced or awkward. But if you are already talking on the personal level about life issues and hopes and disappointments it is actually very natural to bring up what God means to you in those areas of your life. In addition, questions are a natural way to start spiritual conversations. When you ask someone a question about spiritual things it lets them open up at whatever level they are comfortable with, rather than feeling forced: “What do you think of Jesus?” “What do you think happens to a person’s spirit when their body dies?” “Have you ever felt like God was reaching out to you?” “What do you think it means to be a Christian?” “What do you think of the Bible?” “What do you think is different about the major religions?” “Tell me about your journey with God?”

 

Once you have had a good spiritual conversation with someone, which you have both engaged in positively, you should be looking for and creating an opportunity to share the gospel with them, or even better, invite them to start a gospel Bible study with you.

 

As you think about the people in your life who don’t know the Lord, take a deep breath and make the commitment to start the relational journey toward them that will help them make the journey to faith in Jesus!

 

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?—start praying by name for the people you want to build that relationship with. Pray for them and your relationship with them.

I really believe that many Christians have forgotten how to pray. And by this I don’t mean that we don’t pray. Indeed, I am sure that most of us   do pray regularly. But do we genuinely spend time in prayer just listening for God to talk to us? Or are our conversations all one sided, where we talk to God rather than also letting him talk to us. I would like to challenge you at the beginning of this blog to spend some time not only talking to God but letting him talk to you as well.

 

It’s no secret that God moves when we pray, and I believe one of the most fundamental things that we can do for the people in our lives who don’t know Jesus is to pray for them. And by this I don’t mean, “Lord please help the people in my life who don’t know you. Amen.” Rather, I mean praying specifically for those people. For example, “Lord, please help ‘Joe’ as I seek to build a relationship with him. Please give me an opportunity to speak to him. Please give me the boldness to open my mouth and the words to say, and please open his heart to what you have to say to him.”

 

This is not to say that praying in generalisations doesn’t mean that God isn’t listening and won’t answer your prayers. But I believe that praying specifically is SO much more powerful. I believe this for two reasons. The first reason is that God wants us to pray specifically. He wants to hear our heart for the people in our lives. He wants us to verbalise our desire for those around us that he has put in our lives to encounter him through us.

 

And second I really believe that when we do pray specifically, our hearts and mind are in tune with what God is going to do. This makes our relationships with those people intentional! If you have prayed specifically for ‘Joe’, then you are waiting eagerly to see what God is going to do in ‘Joe’s’ life, and how he is going to use you to do it. You are excited to see how you will be involved in ‘Joe’s’ redemption journey. Praying generally for those around you won’t have the same impact on your heart or mind.

 

So, if you are at a loss or have hit a hurdle or even an impassable wall, the best place to start is on your knees praying by name for those people. If you are struggling to find the motivation or courage to talk to those in your life who don’t know the Lord, get on your knees before your Father and ask him to specifically give you the courage to open your mouth to speak to those around you. Ask him to then give you the words to say and give the person you are speaking to the heart to hear what he is saying through you. Get ready because it won’t be long until God opens doors that you never thought possible!

 

 

 

How do we build intentional relationships with people?—By caring more about the needs of others than how they treat you!

This blog series aims to help you build intentional relationships with people because of the foundational principle that the gospel spreads through relationships. John already shared with you the first answer to the question:

 

How do we build intentional relationships with people?…

Ask questions!

 

Today’s answer that I would like to bring to light is:

 

Follow Jesus’ example of building intentional relationships by caring more about the needs of others than how they treat you!

 

It is so easy to care for someone who appreciates you, but it is a whole different story to care for someone who doesn’t deserve your love or when they don’t treat you well. I am guilty of this!

 

We will always be flawed as human beings, looking at the speck in our brother’s eye, but not noticing the log that is in our own eyes! We easily forget how God has been patient with us all these times! Isn’t it true that God’s patience toward us is greater than our tolerance toward our friends, co-workers or acquaintances or strangers?

 

So, how do I quickly come back to my senses when I get discouraged with people? Easy! When I am tempted to lose patience with someone, I think how incredibly patient God has been with me! As I reflect on his patience toward me, it also makes me remember that he is still patiently waiting for others. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). When we freely receive God’s patience, it compels our hearts to share it with everyone around us. When you show unworldly love—a love that is sacrificial and without boundaries, preferences, or condition—God’s character shines forth.

 

Throughout his life, Jesus demonstrated his care and compassion for people. Jesus thought of others before he thought of himself. He genuinely cared about people, even when society considered them sinners, unlovable or unthinkable. Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, fed thousands of people, healed the sick and breathed life into the dead. He spent a lot of time caring and providing for the needs of others.

 

Jesus spent most of his time thinking and placing the needs of others before his own. Even in his agony at the cross during his last few hours before his death at the cross, Jesus’ concern was for the forgiveness of the Roman soldiers who mocked him, beat him, spat on him, whipped him, put a crown of thorns on his head and nailed him to the cross! “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Jesus lived a life of complete humility and led by serving.

 

If you want to follow Jesus’ example of building intentional relationships, you have to start by getting down on your knees and asking God to change your heart and teach you to love others with kindness and compassion regardless of how they treat you! In Ephesians 2:10 it says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

As Christ’s followers, we have been sent by Jesus into every encounter with every person, in every circumstance and in every day of our lives. To whom God has sent you to lend a helping hand? To whom God has sent you to pray for or maybe to encourage someone who much needed it? Does someone in your workplace need a ride? Does someone need a simple act of kindness—perhaps a struggling mum at the store or an elderly that might need some help? Be observant to the needs of others. As Christ’s follower, we have inexhaustible opportunities to follow Jesus’ lead to love, care and serve those people around us. If at times we get disheartened, show the world the ONE who is patient with us. Are you ready to answer Jesus’ call?