The Conversational Gospel: How to Share Your Faith (without the awkwardness)
When the gospel comes across as a presentation instead of a conversation, it often feels, well, awkward. For many, we’ve come to the conclusion of that’s just the way it is. However, I don’t think that’s true. And you shouldn’t either.
The gospel should be an adventure we look forward to; a journey we’re excited to take someone on; a chance to joyfully shine for Jesus.
Is that how you think about evangelism? It can be.
It starts with understanding that people need more than the cold hard facts of the gospel. They need to see how God’s story is the only thing that brings full meaning to their story. They need to hear how the gospel peels off our masks and reveals who we really are; how it perfectly diagnoses the problem with the world, the problem with us, and why the only solution is Jesus. All in the form of a story that invites conversation.
Here are the four highlights and next steps for telling the story that changes everything.
#1 Highlight The Love of God
The main point: God loves you and created you to be with Him forever.
Digging deeper: God’s love is unique. Its most unique attribute is that it is undeserved. We’ve done nothing to attract God to us, but His desire is to love us anyway. His love is giving, pursuing, enduring, and meets us right where we are. You don’t have to clean yourself up, “get right”, or “find religion.” God is ready to love you – now. Everybody comes to God imperfectly and encounters His perfect love.
Illustration: Have you ever heard of a couple saying “I love you” to each other, but then the relationship fizzled out? That’s what we tend to think of when it comes to love; something that can go as easily as it comes. But God’s love is not like that. In fact, the Bible says God is love. You never have to ask, ‘does God love me?’ The answer is always and emphatically, yes.
A verse to cite: John 3:16
#2 Reveal The Problem of Sin
The main point: Our choices have led to a broken relationship with God – the evidence is everywhere.
Digging deeper: No one needs to be convinced that the world is broken. And it only takes an ounce of humility to realize we’re broken, too. We think the world should be safer, cleaner, and healthier – but why? Likewise, something inside each of us tells us we ought to be better friends, parents, spouses, workers than we currently are – but why? The answer is sin. It’s a word everybody hates, but nobody can avoid. Everywhere we look there is evidence that everything has fallen short of where it should be.
In short, things are not as they were designed to be.
God is perfect and good, and He created everything to be perfect and good. But when given the choice between choosing His good ways and choosing our own way, we choose our own desires every time. This is the case now, and it was the case at the beginning of humanity. We choose ourselves. Unfortunately, that also means we don’t choose God. The result is broken people, a broken world, and a broken relationship with our God.
Illustration: Have you ever wondered why no teacher or parent ever had to show you how to be selfish, lie, or put yourself first? It all comes very naturally. Yet somehow, we also naturally recognize these things are wrong – like we are falling short of some standard. The Bible tells us that’s exactly what is happening. Because of our sin, we have fallen short of God’s standard of perfection.
A verse to cite: Romans 3:23; Isaiah 53:6a
#3 Discuss The Penalty for Sin
The main point: Only one consequence makes sense – eternal separation from God.
Digging deeper: When you choose to steal a candy bar, the consequence is small. Rob a bank, and you’ll face a much steeper consequence. And if you take the life of another person, you’ll face the harshest punishment available to the judge – up to the death penalty. All these consequences have one thing in common – they’re all finite. (Don’t let this word trip you up. It just means that all these consequences are ultimately temporary – they cannot extend beyond your life). This is because the laws are from finite lawgivers (people).
But what happens if we break (or fall short of obeying) a law from an infinite lawgiver? Only an infinite consequence would make sense. And that’s exactly what the Bible teaches. Because we chose to follow our own ways instead of God’s ways, we broke His law. He is the ultimate and eternal lawgiver, and so our consequence must be eternal as well – eternal separation from Him. This separation is the highest possible understanding of the word “death.”
Illustration: Just like you are accountable to other authorities in your life (parents, teachers, bosses, and lawmakers), it only makes sense that you are accountable to God – the ultimate authority who created you. And in the same way that consequences for disobeying temporary authorities are temporary (cannot extend beyond this life), the consequences from the Eternal Authority must be eternal.
A verse to cite: Romans 6:23
#4 Share The Amazing Substitution of Christ
The main point: We must have help from outside ourselves.
Digging deeper: The brokenness in the world (and in us) reveals that the problem isn’t around us or even just in us. The problem is us. Like a passenger leaping from the safety of a ship into a roaring ocean, we find ourselves helplessly drowning in the consequence of our choices. There is no way back to safety unless someone intervenes.
Jesus Christ is the only historical figure to ever claim to be the Son of God (John 10:36) and to declare that He has the power to lay His life down and pick it up again (John 10:18). Jesus alone claimed He would defeat death. And then He did it. Why would He want to do that? Because He wanted to take our consequence upon Himself. Our debt is death. Jesus paid it in full. Now we have a choice to make.
The Bible tells us that if we believe (or trust) that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead, then we are accepting His payment for us. We are grabbing the life preserver that brings us safely back to God. We are restored to our Creator. The alternative is to helplessly remain in the roaring sea of our sin.
Illustration: Have you ever set foot on an airplane, bus, train, or taxi? The moment before you got in, you believed you would be taken safely to your destination. But once the vehicle starts moving, you have now placed your full trust in that pilot/driver. That’s what it means to trust Jesus – placing your full trust in Him to bring you safely home to God.
Verse to cite: 1 Peter 3:18; John 3:16
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