There is no more important message that a Christian can give to someone else than the gospel. For those of us who are saved, it is sweet to hear. Which is why knowing it and being able to present it is so important.
There are a lot of good gospel tracks out there. The church where I grew up had the Heidelberg Catechism to explain it (and many other things as well). When I got to college, Campus Crusade for Christ had their “Do You Want to Know God Personally” track. John Piper has an excellent track “Quest for Joy.” A friend of mine showed me “The Story” track a few years back. Greg Koukl has written a book, “The Story of Reality,” in which he basically explains the Gospel and provides a soft apologetic for each point.
In all of them, there are some basic points. I don’t want to over simplify or write a book here (Greg Gilbert’s book “What is the Gospel?” provides a similar overview to mine here), but I do want to give you what I feel is important to understand the gospel succinctly. I summarize the gospel into four parts.
God – Man – Jesus – Response
1. God is a loving Father. He loves you. He is involved in the world. And he is seeking to bring people to himself. (Too many verses to cite)
2. God is a perfect Creator. He created you. He created the world. And, like any inventor, he has a right to tell his creation its purpose. (Genesis 1-2, Genesis 2:16-17)
3. God is a righteous Judge. He must punish wrong doing. Any judge who does not punish wrong isn’t a very good judge. (Exodus 34:6-7)
1. Mankind bears the image of God. Thus all men and women (regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, mental capacities, disabilities, even sexual orientation or confusion), all are equal in terms of honor, dignity and worth. (Genesis 1:26-27)
2. Mankind is rebellious. God created mankind with purpose, against which all mankind has rebelled. (Genesis 3, Isaiah 59:2)
3. Mankind is destined for punishment. All wrong doing should be punished. And our punishment reflects the honor due to a holy and infinite God, an eternity in hell. (Romans 6:23, Revelations 20:10, Mark 9:43)
These things combined are BAD NEWS. God’s love for us is displayed by the special relationship we have with him as image bearers. God designed us for a special purpose but we have all rebelled against it. This makes God angry and he will exact justice on all who have rebelled.
Some may ask why include bad news? These things are included to make sure that you understand your status as a rebellious sinner, but also to make the GOOD NEWS all the sweeter.
1. Jesus, without ceasing to be God, added humanity to himself and came to earth to save sinners. (Genesis 3:15, Luke 1:26-38, John 1:1-3, 14, Mark 10:45)
2. Jesus live a perfectly obedient life. He fulfilled the purpose that God intended for mankind. (Romans 5:18-19)
3. Jesus was killed on a Roman cross. He took on himself the punishment that everyone deserved. As God the Son, he is able to withstand the punishment of God the Father for the sins of the world. As Man, he is able to represent mankind and take their sins from them. (Gal :13-14, 2 Cor. 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24)
Add Jesus to the mix and this make the gospel GOOD NEWS for someone. Man is tried, convicted and sentenced. But Jesus paid it all. The only question you should be asking yourself is how do I make it good news for me?
Repentance. To repent is to turn from your life of sin and turn toward God. If you are not doing what God wants, start. If you are doing what God does not want, stop. (Mark 1:15, Acts 2:38)
Faith. Faith is depending on what you have good reason to believe is true and trustworthy. If you are convinced God exists, you are a sinner and that Jesus died for you, rely on his sacrifice to reestablish a relationship with God. (Acts 20:21, Romans 4:18-21)
STUFF CHRISTIANS DO
If you have decided to repent and believe in Jesus Christ, you have become a Christian. You have died to your former life and entered into eternal life. Along with that will come some changes in your life. Here are a few of the most important.
1. Get yourself a Study Bible and read from it as often as you can. I read from the English Standard Version (ESV), but there are many good translations. I’d also suggest you start reading in the book of John. This is one of four accounts of Jesus’s life, death and resurrection. Get to know the God man, Jesus Christ, through the writings of his closest friends.
2. Start to pray. Prayer is just talking with God. It can be a little weird at first because it’ll feel like no one is listening, but He is. I’d recommend praying out loud too. Actually saying words keeps your prayers coherent like a conversation you’d have with anyone else and it helps keep your mind from wondering. Another suggestion is to pray through Scripture. After reading a passage, pray whatever comes to your mind as it relates to the passage you just read.
3. Get involved in a Church body who is faithful to Jesus Christ and has a trusting view of the Bible. There are many out there who are faithful to the gospel message and want to serve your growth. There are at least 4 who believe this message and are contributors to Vincennes Apologetics.
I hope that this message has encouraged you and gives you hope.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Apologist