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Recently, our pastor spoke about sharing the gospel. Sharing our stories to share the gospel with others.
It’s not always easy, is it? I know that this is a struggle for me. I’m always afraid of saying the wrong thing, but Pastor Vic reminded us that your story can’t be wrong. He also reminded us that God will multiply your efforts to reach people. How? You may share the gospel with one person, who in turn with share it with others or become a missionary or serve others in their communities, and, in turn reach many more people. YOU can be that spark to change a community, maybe even a nation.
Sharing what it means to be a Christian or sharing the gospel is so much easier said than done. It may be a lack of opportunity or tools or even a lack of motivation, but we are commanded to be “contagious Christians”. In 1 Peter 3:15, we read: But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
We all need to be prepared to answer who give us the reason for the hope we have.
We all need to “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” 2 Timothy 4:2
So how do we share the gospel?
Sharing the Gospel
When sharing the gospel, keep in mind these tips:
- Keep it to three minutes or less. People don’t want to attend a sermon they didn’t sign up for. Also, the longer you talk, the more confusing it may get for them.
- Use simple words. Don’t talk “Christianese” and use a lot of words used only in the Christian community.
- Be direct and to the point.
- Practice what you will say
- Share YOUR story. No one can argue what God has done in your life. (You can find my story HERE).
By sharing your story and the gospel, you are making an investment in the Kingdom of God!
4 Illustrations for Sharing the Gospel
The illustrations below are well-known in the Christian community and come from the book Becoming a Contagious Christian by Bill Hybells and Mark Mittelberg. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book if you want to get more comfortable in sharing the gospel.
1. Do Vs. Done
- This is the most simple and concise tool for sharing the gospel
- Good for addressing the question of what part our own efforts play in attaining God’s salvation (outlining the difference between religion and Christianity)
- It helps to write the letters as you explain it for a visual illustration.
- Also works well in Spanish Hace vs. Hecho
“Religion is spelled “D-O,’ because it consists of the things people do to try to somehow gain God’s forgiveness and favor. But the problem is that you never know when you’ve done enough. It’s like being a salesman who knows he must meet a quota but never being told what it is. You can never be sure what you’ve actually done enough. Worse yet, the bible tell us in Romans 3:23 that we never can do enough. We’ll always fall short of God’s perfect standard.
But thankfully, Christianity is spelled differently. It’s spelled ‘D-O-N-E,’ which means that what we could never do for ourselves, Christ has already done for us. He lived the perfect life we could never live, and He willingly died on the cross to pay the penalty we owed for the wrongs we’ve done.
To become a real Christian is to humbly receive God’s gift of forgiveness and to commit to following His leadership. When we do that, He adopts us into His family, and begins to change us from the inside out.”
2. The Bridge Illustration
- Best-known and most frequently used illustration for sharing the gospel
- Graphically shows people their predicament and God’s solution
- Advised to make it more personal by drawing it out on a piece of paper than carrying a printed version
- Follow the following Hybels’ script as a guide as he brilliantly explains the illustration
It helps to start by telling the person ‘We matter to God. He made us, and He wants to have a relationship with us,” and then write ‘Us’ on one side of a piece of paper and ‘God’ on the other:
Then explain the problem. ‘We rebelled against God. Both actively and passively, we’ve all disobeyed Him. And our sins have separated us from Him, and broken off the relationship.” And draw lines by both words in such a way that they form walls around a great chasm, separating us from God:
‘To varying degrees, most of us are aware of our distance from God. I know I was, and you may be, too. And so we start doing all kinds of things to try to get back to Him, like being a helpful neighbor, paying our taxes, going to church, and giving money to charities. There’s nothing wrong with these, but the Bible makes it clear that none of them can earn us God’s forgiveness or re-establish our relationship with Him.’
Then draw a couple of arrows, going over the ‘Us’ cliff. These signify our attempts to reach God that always fall short. You can even write ‘Romans 3:23’ next to the arrows so the person can see the biblical source for what you are saying. Then you can add, ‘the sins we’ve committed must be punished, and the penalty we owe is death, which means physical death as well as spiritual separation from God for eternity, in a place called hell.’ Then add the word ‘Death,’ and if you’d like, Romans 6:23, at the bottom of the chasm:
At this point, you can share with the person that you admit that the picture looks pretty bleak. It’s important to share with them the reality of how much trouble we’re in apart from Christ. People need to realize how lost they are before they’re likely to become interested in being found. (Do you remember how you felt before you knew Christ? Did you feel lost?)
But don’t leave them hanging on the bad news for too long. ‘The good news, as I said in the beginning, is that we matter to God. In fact, He loves us so much that He did for us what we could never do for ourselves. He provided a bridge over which we can find His forgiveness and restore our relationship with Him. He built it by coming to earth as one of us, and dying on the cross to pay the death penalty we owed. Here’s what the bridge looks like.”
Then draw a cross in such a way that it touches both sides of the chasm, and you can add 1 Peter 3:18 next to the cross:
Then finish by sharing that the picture is the central message of the Bible is all about. And that’s what God wants each of us to understand. But it’s not enough for us to just know about this or even disagree with it. We’ve got to act upon it. God wants us to move over to the other side.
‘We do this by humbly admitting to God that we’ve rebelled against Him and need His forgiveness and leadership. That simple act of trust and obedience results in our sins being pardoned and our debt being paid. Our relationship with God is firmly established, because we’re immediately adopted into His family and as His son and daughter.”
While explaining this, draw a stick figure on the ‘Us’ side of the chasm, and then from it an arrow over the bridge to another stick figure on the ‘God’ side, (you can add John 1:12 if you like).
Then ask the person if the illustration makes sense to him or if there’s any part of it that they would like to discuss. Finally, ask them where they would say they are on the drawing, and if they seem open, whether they would like to move over the bridge by making Christ his forgiver, redeemer and friend.
Most people will tell you that they have to think about it and that’s ok. That’s okay. Most need time to process the message as Jesus suggested in Luke 14:28-33.
(Illustrations from Paul Sohn)
3. The Roman Road
- This is an effective illustration for sharing the gospel for those who want hard evidence from the Bible
- The illustration is based on three key verses from the book of Romans
The first verse to show your friend is Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” I explain, “According to this, all of us have sinned against God. This includes not only big sins, like rape and murder, but also stuff like moral missteps, likes, cruelty, insensitivity toward others, losing your temper, cheating, and self-centeredness. I’m willing to admit to some of these. How about you? Most people have no trouble admitting they’ve done these things, too.
Then I turn to the second verse, Romans 6:23, and let them read, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I’ll say, “According to this verse, those little wrongdoing you and I just admitted to have earned us a penalty. The penalty is death.” But then I’ll draw attention to the second half of the verse, and say, “it refers here to a gift.” God has offered us a gift of eternal life. We can freely receive God’s forgiveness and His pardon from the death penalty we owed. The penalty has been paid for by Jesus’ death on the cross. And like any other gift, we can’t earn it, we can only receive it. To find out how, let’s turn to one more verse.”
And then I’ll let the person read Romans 10:3, where it says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Do you see how simple it is to receive God’s gift? All we have to do is recognize the fact that we’ve sinned and deserve death, and then call out to God humbly for his forgiveness and the new life He’s offering to us. That’s what I did a few years back, and I’d like to encourage you to do the same.”
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4. The Airplane Illustration
- This is a helpful tool for unconcerned seekers and occasional church-goers to understand that it’s not enough to merely believe the right things about God or to just go to church once a week or once in awhile. This tool for sharing the gospel is great to use with the “casual Christian”.
Doing these things is like studying the science of aviation and then hanging around in airports. You can learn all about the physics of flight, know which airlines have the safest record, pick the best craft to fly in, reserve your flight, drive to the airport, go to the gate, double check the cockpit crew’s credentials. But it does no good unless you get on the plane.
Knowledge alone won’t get you anywhere. You have to act on what you know. You have to climb aboard the airplane, trusting it’ll take you where you want to go.” Similarly, it’s not enough to know all about Christianity. You can study until you’re the expert, go to church, even get involved in ministry, and not have a relationship with Christ. You finally have to take a step of faith and ‘get on board’ by receiving the forgiveness He purchased on the cross and entrusting your life and future to Him. What’s what it means to become a real Christian
Add your story to one of the tools and you have all you need for sharing the gospel.
Practice your story and sharing the gospel so you are ready when the opportunity presents itself. By sharing the gospel with one person, you my ignite a fire that God will multiply.
Because of Him,