To be a Christian means you must know the gospel, but it doesn’t mean that you necessarily know how to share it simply and clearly. Like everything else in life, sharing the gospel is a learning process. It takes work to be clear and understandable with the gospel message. For some, it only takes a few minutes or an hour, and for others weeks or even years. That’s OK. The most important is that you are prioritizing to learn to share the gospel and obey Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:19).
Not The Gospel
Some try to complicate the gospel, but it is quite simple. Unlike popular thought, the gospel isn’t “Jesus loves you,” “Just invite Jesus into your heart,” or my all-time favorite “Come join my church.” That’s not the gospel. That’s not the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes (Rom 1:16).
The glorious gospel is the message of forgiveness of sins through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. When you share the gospel, you want to include four essential elements: God, Man, Christ, and Response.
God: God created and owns everything. He is perfectly holy and requires perfect obedience to His law (Gen 1:1; Psalm 24:1; 1 John 1:5; Matt 5:48; James 2:10).
Man: But man has broken God’s law and will, therefore, pay the eternal penalty for sin in hell. Man can’t save himself by his good works (Col 2:9; Rom 5:8; 2 Cor 5:21; John 3:16; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Cor 15:4).
Christ: That’s why God became a man–Jesus Christ. He was fully man and fully God. He lived a sinless life. He demonstrated God’s love by dying on the cross to pay the punishment for sin and then he rose from the grave on the third day and is alive today (Rom 3:10; 23; Rom 6:23; Tit 3:5; Isa 64:6; Eph 2:8-9).
Response: The response God requires of all sinners is repentance of all that dishonors Him and faith and trust in Christ as Lord and Savior. Then God will forgive man’s sin and grant the gift of eternal life (Isa 55:7; Luke 9:23; Rom 10:9; Acts 17:30).
Law Before Grace (Bad News Before Good News)
That’s the gospel in a nutshell. Please remember that people need to know they are sinners before we offer them grace. We show them their sin through the law of God before we lead them to Christ (Rom 3:19-20; Gal 3:24). As one old writer put it:
First, to wound by the Law, and then to heal by the Gospel.
Ever gospel conversation will be different, but knowing the basic elements of the gospel message will give you a good outline to guide your conversations.