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 following is taken from our “May I Ask You a Question” tract:
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. When 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
PO Box 703929
Dallas, TX 75370-3929
“What if I don’t know how to answer an objection about my faith in Jesus?”
This is a top fear people face when seeking to introduce a friend or loved one to Jesus. Sadly, it will stop many Christ followers in their tracks while sharing their faith this year. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
First, we should get one thing settled – if you are actively sharing your faith, you will be stumped by an objection about the Bible, Jesus, or Christian beliefs eventually. Unless, of course, you have an immediate answer to every potential question someone may ask about our infinite, all-knowing God. If that’s the case, I need to be reading your blog. However, if you’re more like the rest of us, the question really isn’t “what if I get stumped?”; instead, the question is “when I get stumped, how should I respond?”
Here are three things to do and one very important thing to remember when you run into an objection that shortens your breath, quickens your pulse, and makes you want to exit stage left.
Ask a clarifying question
Many Christians falsely believe that when an objection is raised, the clock starts ticking, and they have a very short window of time to answer the objection. If that’s how you feel, I want you to read this next sentence carefully. When someone makes an objection, you are not on the hook to answer it; they are on the hook to explain more. You can invite them to do so with a clarifying question like, “What do you mean by that?” I think an example will help.
Joanne: “Tina, I appreciate your beliefs, but I really don’t see any good reason to believe in God.”
Tina: “Thank you for being honest. However, may I ask what you mean when you say ‘God’?”
Joanne: “Well, I just don’t think there’s an old bearded guy up there watching our every move.”
Tina: “I see, and actually, I don’t believe in an old bearded guy either – can I share a little about who God is according to the Bible?”
Look back at what Tina did (politely). She asked a what do you mean question that invited Joanne to explain more. That did two very important things: It kept the conversation moving toward the gospel, and it took all the pressure off Tina to cobble together a defense of God’s existence on the spot.
Acknowledge the objection and advance the conversation
Consider this brief exchange:
Jonathan: “I just don’t think there is any evidence that Christianity is true.”
Craig: “I definitely want to hear your thoughts about that, but can I briefly share what I believe about Jesus?”
In this short conversation, Craig isn’t interested in proving Jonathan wrong, and he isn’t avoiding the objection. In fact, he makes it clear that he wants to hear Jonathan’s thoughts. All he’s seeing permission to push the objection to the end so he can share about his faith in Christ. This can be very effective, because in some cases, someone like Jonathan has been bringing up this objection for years and has heard 1,000 reasons why Christianity makes sense (and continues to ignore them), but what he’s never heard is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“But,” you may be thinking, “what happens when they bring up the objection again and I don’t know how to respond?” Well, that leads us right into the next suggestion.
Use Your 5-word Ace Card: “Let me think about that”
If you ever feel pinned down by an objection, these five words will get you off the hook 100% of the time: “let me think about that.” Here are four reasons this phrase is so powerful:
- It lets the other person know you appreciate their objection and want the time it deserves to think about it
- It removes all pressure to provide an immediate answer
- It allows you the opportunity to set up a future time to talk
- It gives you the chance to meet with a pastor, mentor, etc. about the topic at hand so you can come prepared to the future discussion
As you can see, this simple phrase does a lot of work for you. It is quite literally your ace card in any conversation that goes sideways.
One critical thing to remember
Now that you know some helpful tactics to address objections while sharing your faith, there is one last thing to remember – and it’s vitally important.
Your job is to glorify God, not win arguments.
Too often people come to blogs like this with the goal to “not look foolish” or “to get the best of someone.” If your honest intention is to win arguments instead of souls, then your intention has more to do with glorifying your intellect than glorifying God. Sit with that for a moment before you depart to put these tactics into action. Ask God to make these a part of your efforts to glorify Him as He opens opportunities for you to share the wondrous message of the cross.