What is the Gospel?
The word “gospel” simply means “good news,” but we must understand that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not just good news, it is the good news. While we are all sinners (those who have failed to live up to God’s perfect standard), Jesus has provided a way for sinners to be pardoned instead of punished. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, we can have a relationship with God that transforms our lives forever when we place our trust in Jesus alone.
A Simple Outline of the Gospel
John 3:16 offers a simple outline of the gospel by showing us three things God wants us to know: His love, His gift, and His offer of salvation.
“For God so loved the world…”
God’s love is so remarkable because He loves us not for who we are, but in spite of who we are. Harsh words, lies, selfishness—we are guilty of all of these and more. No matter what we’ve done, God still loves us. As sinners who have broken God’s commandments, we deserve His anger rather than his love. But God loves us so much that instead of turning His back on us, He turns His face toward us. Two thousand years ago, His love provided a gift only He could give.
“…that He gave His only begotten Son…”
The gift is God’s Son—Jesus Christ. Because we have sinned, we deserve to die and be separated from God forever. The Bible identifies that place of separation as hell. But God gave His Son to take our punishment. Begotten means “one of a kind.” Jesus Christ is God’s unique son. He is perfect. Christ is our substitute. On a cross two thousand years ago, He died for our sins. As God, He came back to life, proving He had conquered sin and death once and for all.
“that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Jesus did not mean “whoever goes to church, is baptized, helps the poor, or tries to live a good life.” Whoever is not just the wealthy business person, the pastor at church, the volunteer at school, the alcoholic, or the struggling single parent—it’s every single one of us.
The word believe means to “trust.” Knowing about Jesus is not enough. We have to place our trust in Christ alone to save us – as our only way to heaven
How to Share the Gospel with Others
At EvanTell, we use the Bad News / Good News approach in our gospel tracts. This method uses simple language and clear illustrations to help anyone easily understand the good news of Jesus Christ.
The bad news begins with two statements, two verses and two illustrations that help others to visualize the context.
- Bad news statement #1: We are all sinners
- Verse: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
- Illustration: “Sinned” means we have missed the mark. Whe we lie, lust, or gossip, we have missed the standard God has set.
Suppose we both threw a rock at a target 5 miles away. You might throw it further than me, but both of us would miss. It is the same with our relationship to God. While you may do more “good works” than me, we will both still miss the target of perfection. We are guilty of sin.
- Bad news statement #2: The penalty for sin is death
- Verse: “For the wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23
- Illustration: A wage is something that we earn in return for our deeds.
Suppose I agreed to pay you $50 for some work you did for me. That $50 is a wage – it’s what you earned.
The Bible tells us that the wage we have earned for sins is death. Not just physical death – spiritual death, which is separation from God.
Since we are unable to come to God because of our sins, the Bible says that God came to us. This is the good news! It also has two statements, two verses, and two illustrations.
- Good news statement #1: Christ died for you
- Verse: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
- Illustration: The Bible says that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, took the punishment for our sin and died in our place.
Suppose you are in the hospital and dying of lung cancer after smoking your entire life. Suddenly, the doctor comes in tells you someone is willing to have their perfectly healthy lungs exchanged for yours, removing all cancer cells. What would happen? They would die and you would would live. They would die in your place. That’s what Jesus has done for us.
- Good news statement #2: You can be saved through faith in Christ.
- Verse: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
- Illustration: Faith means trust. We must trust in Christ alone for salvation.
Just as you would trust a chair to hold you up while providing no effort of your own, so you must trust Christ alone to get to heaven through no effort of your own. Any good thing you might do cannot get you to heaven. It is through Christ alone.
There is nothing more important than your need to place your trust in Christ for salvation. If you would like to do this, you can tell God you are trusting Jesus Christ as your Savior through a simple prayer. It is not a prayer that saves you; it is trusting Christ that saves. Prayer is simply how you tell God what you are doing.
Dear God, I know I’m a sinner. I know my sin deserves to be punished. I believe Christ died for me and rose from the grave. I trust Jesus Christ alone as my Savior. Thank you for the forgiveness and everlasting life I now have. In Jesus’ name, amen.
If this is the first time you have placed your trust in Christ alone, or if you’d like more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org We’d love to hear from you!
Video: Watch the Bad News / Good News Gospel Presentation
Tracts: Browse Tracts to Help You Share the Gospel
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