Who will you share the Gospel with this year? Who in your life needs the hope and loving guidance of Christ? Does anyone come to mind? Or are you having trouble thinking of someone? Whether you can think of someone or not, I wanted to take a few moments to consider Jesus’ call on our lives, how to proclaim the Gospel, and who to share the good news with.
The Great Commission
“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:18-20
In Matthew 28, Jesus commands His disciples to go out and make more disciples. This command applies to us as well. It’s not just for certain people in the church with the spiritual gift of evangelism or people considered missionaries. This clear command in the Bible is for all Christ followers, so we must be praying and considering to whom, how, and where God is specifically calling us to proclaim the good news.
Share the Gospel
Besides fear, I think possibly the biggest roadblock to sharing the Gospel with others is not knowing how to articulate the message. This is part of the reason it is so important to reflect continually on the Gospel as believers. We need to know and be prepared to share with others what we believe in. (1 Peter 3:15)
We are all born sinners in need of forgiveness and no amount of good works can erase our guilt before God. The Bible says that there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood. (Hebrews 9:22) The Gospel is the good news that out of His great love for unworthy sinners, Jesus Christ came to save. He shed His own blood and died on a cross for the forgiveness of sins and rose from the dead three days later, proving He was God. Jesus said in order to be forgiven, we must repent and believe in Him and Him alone. (Mark 1:15) By His grace, through faith we are saved from hell and the wrath of God, and instead are promised eternal life! (Ephesians 2) See this post for a more detailed explanation of the Gospel.
Someone once said, being a Christian is not about being a good person, it’s about being a forgiven person. In other words, it’s not about what we do. It’s about what Christ has done. Being a Christian is not about ritualistic religion. It’s about having a relationship with the Savior. These truths are so important to clarify when ministering to others. Even many church-goers mistakenly believe we receive righteousness by our own merit. Two thousand years ago, Jesus spoke with many who held these same beliefs – many of whom were religious leaders. And, He made it very clear that salvation is not obtained by following the Law and religious rules. We are saved by grace alone through repentant faith alone. True, born again Christians know that Christ alone has saved them and that their works are simply an outpouring of their faith in Him.
Think of your own story
When thinking about who we might share the Gospel with, it can be helpful to think about our own stories of coming to faith in Christ. Where did you hear the Gospel? Did it make sense right away or did it take some time? At what point were you led to repent and believe?
I first heard that Jesus died and rose from the dead for the salvation of sinners in the church I grew up in. The way I understood salvation for the first 19 years of my life was that if I followed the Ten Commandments well enough, I would go to heaven. If I didn’t follow them enough, I would go to hell. I wondered how a person could ever be sure if they would go to heaven and I really didn’t understand how Jesus’ death and resurrection impacted me personally.
Towards the end of my freshman year in college, two friends encouraged me to pursue a relationship with Christ by starting a prayer journal. I had shared with these friends about the heaviness I felt over past mistakes and fears of where my life was headed. They told me if I confessed all of my sins to Jesus and told Him that I wanted to change and live for Him, He would forgive me and set me free of my regrets and mistakes. They said He would change my life.
By what could only be His grace, it just made sense. I believed and spent my spring break writing a long letter, confessing my sins and desire to live for Him for the rest of my life. I knew what Jesus had done on the cross, but it wasn’t until that point in my life that I understood how that impacted me personally. Since then, I have continued to live for Him and I now have assurance of salvation.
When you share the Gospel
When you share the Gospel with others, if you have time, share your own story of coming to faith. Ask about their past experiences. Do they know who Jesus is and what He came to accomplish? Do they think the world needs a Savior? If so, how do they believe people are saved? Asking questions can give you an idea of what truths they’ve heard, haven’t heard, or don’t fully understand, giving you the opportunity to minister to them on a much more personal level.
Who in your life needs to hear the Gospel?
Truthfully, we all need to hear the Gospel. We need to hear it and believe in it in order to be saved. But even after that, we need to be reminded of the hope we have in Christ. Maybe God has already been putting someone on your heart to share the good news with.
Or maybe, you need to take some time to pray about it. Ask that God would reveal to you who in your life needs to hear the Gospel. Could it be a co-worker of another faith? A loved one who has walked away from the truth? A friend who is doubting? Pray for God to open doors to have spiritual conversations, that He would prepare you and give you courage when opportunities come. Pray for the hearts of those He plans for you to minister to – that Jesus would soften their hearts and make them open to His message of salvation.
And remember, we are called to be obedient and proclaim the Gospel, but God alone does the saving. It’s important to communicate the urgency of our need to repent and believe, but you may not get a profession of faith from the recipient of the good news right away. In my experience, most often, people need time to think about what you’ve shared. Only God can change hearts, so we are not failures if the message isn’t received.
So, to close this post, I wanted to share my top 5 tips for sharing the Gospel so you can confidently go out in boldness this year to proclaim the good news.
My top 5 tips for sharing the Gospel
1. Be prayerful.
Pray for God to reveal to you who needs to hear the Gospel. Pray for open doors, preparedness, and courage. And, pray for the hearts of those He has put on your heart.
2. Know the Gospel message.
And be comfortable communicating it out loud. Reflect on it in your quiet time, write it down, and practice explaining it out loud in a no-pressure environment – like with people close to you who already believe. See this post for additional help.
3. Communicate the importance of repentance and belief.
There are many misconceptions of how people are saved. Jesus makes it very clear in Scripture that only those who repent and believe will be saved. (Mark 1:15) We must be born again. (John 3:3)
4. Get comfortable sharing your story.
Write a one minute testimony. (If you can include the Gospel message in there, even better!) That way, you’ll have a general idea of what you’ll say when you have the opportunity to share your own story of coming to faith in Christ. Include: Your life before Christ, when you put your faith in Christ, and how He continues to work in your life.
5. Listen and ask genuine questions.
Don’t treat people like a project. Really get to know them. There will likely be disagreements, but respond by speaking the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15, 1 Peter 3:15)
Who will you share the Gospel with this year? And what steps will you take to prepare for that conversation?
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All scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.