The Gospel is amazingly deep and profoundly simple. - Tyler Riffe
In the second post in our series, we’ll examine how to share the Gospel in a relevant way with your brothers and sisters. If you want to go deeper in your understanding of some of these key concepts, see this part 1 of this series: “What is the Gospel”.
Keep the Big Picture in Mind
Don’t get lost in the trees and miss the forest. Your goal isn’t just to blast a bunch of facts out there and call it a day. It’s also not to exhaustively express every minute detail of who God is and what it means to follow him.
Your goal is:
1. To help your friends understand what Jesus has done.
2. To help your friends see their need for that amazing reality.
The Nuts and Bolts
Ask good questions. It is always great to be conversational rather than word-vomit all over people. As you share the Gospel, ask yourself, “How can I help my friend engage with God and what I am sharing?”
Every person is different. People come from different spiritual backgrounds, different cultures, different family contexts, etc. God is pursuing them. You are not a salesperson; you are their travel guide taking them to see the greatest destination of all time!
We use a diagram, the Four Worlds, to help provide you and your friends some direction. However, it’s not necessary to use diagrams.
Transition to the Gospel
One of the most difficult parts of sharing the Gospel is actually taking the leap and sharing it clearly and concisely. There will always be awkwardness. Awkwardness always precedes breakthrough in your friends lives and in sharing the Gospel. See this video to help you move through awkward well.
Example transition to sharing the Gospel:
“Hey, you and I have been having some good conversations about faith and God. Can I share with you the central story in the Bible that has changed my life? It’s helpful if I draw it.”
Sharing the Gospel
To begin, start by asking them about what they notice about the world.
“Before I begin, what do you notice about the world as you see it today? What is it like? What are some of the headlines on the news?”
It’s a mess. That’s not the way God created it to be. (Draw world 1)
World 1: God is Holy.
“God is the creator of all things. He made us and loves us. When God first created the world, it was a place of peace and harmony. God created men and women in His image to live in love and holiness.” - Mindy Meier
But that is not the world we see, is it? (Draw World 2)
World 2: I am not.
God is Holy, I am not. This is the problem. The Bible calls this problem sin. It's where we reject God’s central place in our lives and the world.
The result and consequence of sin? Brokenness and Death. Because sin breaks our relationship with God, our lives, our relationships with others, and the world is not the way that it’s supposed to be.
The Bible tells us that every person on the planet has sin in their heart. What this means is that every person is separated from God. Because we have rejected God’s leadership in our lives and hurt ourselves, others, and ultimately God, everyone is subject to God’s judgement. That’s what the Bible describes as hell. We don’t like talking about it, but we actually all deserve it.
What is awesome about God, is that He loves us enough to not just leave us in our mess. (Draw world 3)
Romans 3:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
World 3: Jesus redeems.
Our relationship with God was messed up...
“But God, in love, sent his one and only son Jesus to rescue people and restore a broken world. Jesus Christ came to earth to show us what God looks like with skin on. But more importantly, Jesus assumed the judgment due sinners by dying on the cross in our place. A great exchange took place. Our sin was laid on Jesus and His holiness was given to us. After His death Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended into Heaven as Savior and Lord.” - Mindy Meier
God paid the ultimate price for our sin so that we wouldn’t have to and so that He could be back in relationship with us, now, and eternally.
Here is the life that God describes for those who begin to follow Jesus. (Draw world 4)
World 4: Christ is my life.
The world is still broken. It’s still a mess. But God lives in the hearts of people who trust him. His desire is that we would now orient every area of our lives to letting him lead.
To be a Christian means that you trust in Christ and follow him. It means you have a personal relationship with him. This new and real relationship now defines us. God is at work in us through His Holy Spirit, helping transform us into people who care about him and his Kingdom.
His picture of life is better and bigger than our picture of our lives. He wants us to have joy instead of anxiety. He wants us to share with others the good news of what Jesus did instead of keeping it to ourselves. He wants us to be people who help others love each other instead of living out more broken relationships. And he wants us to care tangibly about the broken needs in the world.
Christians, admittedly, don't do this perfectly. That’s why Jesus had to die, because we are not perfect.
Asking Where They Are
Which world describes where you are at with God? And Why?
1. World 1 - You think everything is fine in the world and in your relationship with God.
2. World 2 - Think the world is a mess, hopeless, and there is no God. Or you believe there is a God, but would rather live your own way.
3. World 3 - You believe that Jesus is real and he really rose from the dead but maybe you have not made an adult decision to follow him. Or you haven’t actually trusted in him as the leader of your life.
4. World 4 - You have started following Jesus and he is at work in your heart and life.
Ask your friend, “What is holding you back from trusting and following Jesus?”
Inviting a Response
Depending on how they answer, help them see that God is inviting them to follow him. This part is crucial. Just sharing the Gospel is awesome. However, if people don’t know that they need to respond actively in belief and repentance, then we haven’t loved our friends well.
Repent- Turn from leading our own lives and turn to following Christ as the leader of your life.
Believe- This is more than intellectual assent, it’s trusting in Christ’s sacrifice in your place as the basis for your relationship with God.
The crux of this story is that Jesus died for me and he died for you. He rose from the dead so that you and I could know Him deeply and follow Him.
Ask your friend,“Would you like to place your faith and trust in Jesus today and follow Him?”
It’s Okay to Mess Up
Don’t let the fear of messing up keep you from sharing the most radical news of all time. Love your friends by being bold and sharing with them just how wide and deep God’s love for them is.
For more information, read part 1 of this article,What is the Gospel?
TIPS AND HELPFUL QUESTIONS TO ASK THROUGHOUT
In World 1:
Question: We have talked vaguely about some of the mess in the world, what are some of the ways you have personally been hurt or impacted by the mess in the world?
In World 2:
Question: Question of the day, are you perfect? (I know I’m not.)
Question: Is the idea of hell hard for you to understand? (It is for me too, however…)
After they have told you which world they are in:
Question: You mention you were in World #___, what is keeping you today from giving your life fully to Jesus?
TIP - After you ask them to respond to Jesus in faith, shut up. Stop talking. Let them think about what God is doing in them and inviting them to. It will be awkward, and that is okay.
TIP - Don’t memorize this as a script. It will feel fake. Study it and try to understand each world. The more you understand it, the more naturally it will flow from your mouth in conversation.
*”The Four Worlds” pictured here is adapted from James Choung’s “The Four Worlds.”