2 Peter 3:9 “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.“
We don’t often think of time as being relative, do we? I mean, there are only so many hours in a day. But according to Einstein’s theory of relativity, the rate at which time passes depends on your frame of reference. Maybe that explains why our good days whiz by, and the bad ones just drag on!
The reality is that if we were to observe time through the lens of velocity or gravity it would dramatically contradict what we assume to be true about the absoluteness of time. That’s why astronauts on the International Space Station age at a slower rate than us here on earth and the GSP systems of our satellites constantly need to be recalibrated. It’s also the reason why your cell phone measures time by the number of vibrations in a stable atom and not the rotation of earth around the sun.
It’s quite mind bending isn’t it? Think of how God sees time. God views time very differently than we do because His frame of reference is far above us. The way God orchestrates our past, present, and future is inexplainable, but it’s important that we remember that God has been, is, and will continue to be, at work in lives of those He is sending us to as witnesses.
As you share the Gospel with your redemptive relationship, you can show them through this Scripture that God will fulfil his promise to judge this world. Share with them that God is patiently holding back his judgment, giving them time to hear his loving invitation and turn to him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
When is it the right time to share this verse in a conversation with someone in your life who doesn’t know Jesus?
This is not the right verse to share when explaining our brokenness and need for God. Nor is it the verse to share when pointing out our guilt before God that separates us from him.
No, the time to share this verse is when you are explaining what the cross is all about. When you are explaining the spiritual connection God makes between the death of Jesus in the past and my faith in Jesus in the present, this is the verse to use.
We need righteousness to be right with God, but what we have is sin (guilt). Since we can’t undo our guilt we have a big problem and face God’s judgement. Jesus, on the other hand, had no guilt; he only had righteousness.
What this verse shares with a person trying to understand the gospel is that Jesus volunteered to take our guilt and give us his righteousness—an incredible exchange that could only come from a heart that loved us, even in our sinfulness, more than himself.
The verse tells us that God the Father accepted this sacrificial trade and “made him [Jesus] who had no sin [guilt] to be sin [guilty] for us, so that in him [because of his death on the cross that paid the penalty for our guilt] we might become the righteousness of God [we receive his righteousness and the good relationship with God that it brings].”
Use 2 Corinthians 5:21 to explain what Jesus did for us at the cross.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This blog series aims to help you know the best Bible verses you can use in sharing Christ with non-believers. Craig, Aaron, Josh and Andrew already shared with you the first four Bible verses we can use:
Today, I would like to share the most straightforward Bible verse I often use when sharing Christ with people, a verse that very simply shares two core truths. I understand that many of us sincere and God-fearing Christians struggle to articulate the core truths of the gospel in few sentences because I once had that struggle too. When we grasp the fullness of what Jesus did for us all at Calvary, we cannot help wanting to share it with everyone. We want everyone to have what we have!
We know that the Bible has a lot of great verses to share, but sometimes we hesitate to start gospel conversations with people because we are not sure which verses to use. We feel like we need to memorise heaps of verses to share the gospel with people, so we hold back.
I encourage you to just memorise Romans 6:23 — “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”When sharing this verse with a non-believer, simply pick out the two core truths of the verse, which are separated by the comma—the first truth is why we desperately need God’s help, and the second is the gospel!
Let me show you what I mean…
Truth 1: “For the wages of sin is death”
Think of a child and a parent. When a child disobeys, the relationship with his parent is strained. The parent’s love remains unchanged; however, the child may experience some consequences like discipline, natural consequences of their behaviour, mistrust and a sense of guilt. So it is with God and us. When we rebel against God’s will, ways and rule in our lives, we earn wages and those wages are “death”—a brokenness that separates us from God, the source of real life!
Truth 2: “But the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord”
Only God can bring healing, love and wholeness. When we turn to God, trusting that Jesus paid for our forgiveness when he died on the cross, God forgives us as a gift. The gift comes “through Christ Jesus”. That is, you don’t have to do a lot of good things to earn it because Jesus already paid for it. You just need to thank God for his forgiveness and receive it. That’s called faith.
As you share this verse, make sure to share your own story of how you have met Christ. This is the most powerful thing you can do, as it says in Revelation 12:11. Be honest, and don’t sugarcoat it. People need to hear how your life was and how God changed your life.
So, if you have someone in your life who doesn’t know Jesus yet, and you want them to experience the fullness of life through Jesus, share your heart and be vulnerable with them. Share your own experience of brokenness and healing that God is bringing. Talk about the way to get right with God, use Romans 6:23 and remember to keep it simple. If you can lock these two core truths in your mind, you will be able to share the gospel with anyone.
Go BIG in praying for your witness. Remember that the Bible is the story of people who prayed, and God answered!
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Surely this is one of the greatest ever Bible verses. It basically sums up the entire Christian message in one short line. While we were still sinners, while we were still at odds with God, Christ died for us. There was nothing we could do, so he did it for us.
The first thing the person you are speaking with needs to know about God is how much he loves them, and that his love reaches past any sense of guilt they may have to bring them into a great relationship with him. This verse will help you communicate that truth.
In many movies, there is this theme of sacrifice. I am thinking of movies like the Avengers movies, Titanic etc. But what these all have in common is that the people in them are sacrificing their lives for their friends and loved ones. Imagine if, instead of sacrificing their lives for their friends, they sacrificed their lives for their enemies. It’s inconceivable! But that is what this verse is telling us. While we were still sinners, that is, while we were still at odds with God and his enemies, Christ died for us.
What we are seeing in the world today through people’s reaction to COVID and the gender issues is that people are becoming more and more absorbed with self – even if it’s to the detriment of everyone else around them. What this means is that when you think of the people around you, this sacrificial love of the Christian faith is becoming increasingly alien to people’s thinking. But I think that just makes it more and more powerful!
When you speak with people about God, think about this verse and tell them about Christ’s love for them. Share with them that they don’t have to ‘fix themselves up’ before coming to him. Tell them that contrary to what the world preaches these days, Jesus will meet them where they are now, in all their hurt and struggles, with all their thorns and with all their struggles and imperfections.
For people who are genuinely seeking God, their sense of unworthiness can be one of the biggest hurdles in their journey towards him—they feel like they need God, but that they are not worthy of him. What a beautiful truth to be able to tell them: God doesn’t want us to be perfect before coming to him; he wants to be the one to help us become perfect…in him!
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Who can you see that is trying to seek fulfilment in life?
Who do you know that is restless and needs inner peace?
Who in your life needs to experience true forgiveness and be set free from guilt?
It’s ONLY through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ they will experience forgiveness, inner peace, and fulfilment in life.
At a time when his close friends and followers are deeply concerned over his departure from this world, Jesus makes this profound and bold claim:
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
This claim Jesus makes brings great comfort and security to all his followers and can help you bring clarity to the people in your life who need to know Jesus.
Just think about what Jesus is saying here…
“I am the way…” – Jesus is saying, I am the way to God, the way for your sins to be forgiven and for you to experience peace, being reconciled to God.
“and the truth…” – Jesus is saying, I am the truth, the promise of God, the Word that became flesh, the promised Messiah, the final word of God spoken to his people.
“and the life” – Jesus is saying, I am the life. Only in me can you know life in all its fullness now here on earth and experience that life for all eternity.
Who in your life needs to experience forgiveness, inner peace and fulfilment in life? Every person who does not know Jesus.
Jesus makes it clear; we can only experience forgiveness, peace and fulfilment if we come to the Father. And there is only one way to come to the Father, “through me” Jesus says. Our need for forgiveness, peace, and fulfilment are just symptoms of the real problem – we need a personal relationship with God.
Jesus is saying there is no other way to be forgiven, no other way to be made right and at peace with God. No other way to enjoy life now and be secure in our eternity after death, no way to escape the punishment of rejecting God, no way of having a personal relationship with God… “except through me”, by personally surrendering to Jesus’ authority in your life.
Today we live in a world where many reject the authority of Jesus or sadly don’t know who Jesus really is. Many believe that truth is relative, and others believe there are many paths to spiritual enlightenment or encountering God. Still others believe fulfilment in life can be reached through various achievements and accolades.
But Jesus sets the record straight. He is Truth in all these matters, and he wants you to help those in your life that need him to see clearly who Jesus is – THE ONLY WAY to come to God.
Some may think that saying “Jesus is the only way” is narrow minded and unfair. However, just think about it for a minute… Jesus being the only way means that God treats all of humanity equally and does not show any favouritism. Jesus being the only way means God made a way that is the most inclusive way for all humanity and does not exclude anyone from being in relationship with him. Because Jesus is the only way it doesn’t depend on our good works, intelligence, social status, or anything else, it depends on Jesus.
The TRUTH is, everyone can experience eternal LIFE starting today because Jesus is the WAY.
Can you think back to the time when the Gospel message first connected in your mind and heart? Do you remember the joy you felt in responding to Christ’s love? Was there a specific trigger that really connected the message of salvation for you? Maybe a gift from a helpful hand during a life crisis, maybe a song or story you heard, a piece of art, maybe a Gospel tract, a discovery Bible study or an evangelistic event?
Each one of us connects to the one unchanging Gospel message in a unique way. For me it was a piece of art hanging in a summer camp chapel depicting Jesus as a shepherd, leaving the 99 sheep and reaching down the side of a cliff to rescue the one that got lost. It was that word picture that helped me understand my need for a Saviour.
Remember today that God wants to use your life to seek out and save the lost. Why not pray now and ask Him what resource you could use that would best connect the Gospel message with the mind and heart of your unbelieving friend.
Maybe its the testimony of some else who has encountered the power of Jesus like in John 4:39, “Many Samaritans in the town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony…” Last week in Quebec, Canada, a woman named Jocelyn started a discovery Bible study with her son who is himself a new believer. Together, in a city where there is no Bible teaching church, they are exploring “Who Is Jesus” a free resource by NewLifeDiscipleship.com.
Jocelyn said, “40 years ago I remember praying and asking God to help me understand who is Jesus.” Now, after hearing the testimony in a movie of the power of the name of Jesus when praying for healing, her son is guiding the way with the help of an evangelistic Bible study tool.
“…If you had a hundred sheep and one of them strayed away and was lost in the wilderness, wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine others to go and search for the lost one until you found it?” Luke 15:4 TLB
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?
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?
The proof that Christ died is he was buried. Jesus Christ actually died and was actually buried in a tomb.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.”