What keeps us from sharing the gospel with others? More often than not, it's because we feel ill-equipped, under-qualified, and worried that they might ask a difficult question we don't know the answer to.
I hope this helps you grow in confidence and courage in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with others.
HOW DO I BUILD CREDIBILITY?
Opportunities to share the gospel certainly arise with strangers, which are God-ordained — such as on a plane or at a park as your kids are playing — but generally speaking, we earn the right to speak into the lives of those we have relationships with.
I have a neighbour who has been watching my life and he has told me that the reason why he has started coming to Central, joined my Life Group, and wants to learn all he can about Jesus is because of the credibility I have with him by the way I interact with my kids, my wife, and the neighbourhood.
He wants what I have, because he has observed me in an ongoing relational setting.
Our credibility comes from others watching our lives and wanting what we've got.
This presents it's own challenges by the way, because I'm FAR from perfect. I'm a wretch who is saved by grace. So I feel the heat to be holy! My neighbourhood (and church, and family) is watching my life. But it's what's opening the door to the gospel for those I'm investing in as well.
So as you model the Christian walk you build credibility with those around you. This credibility should translate itself into sharing the hope that is in you and the basic gospel message.
HOW DO I SHARE THE GOSPEL?
Sometimes we steer clear of sharing the gospel with someone altogether because we're not sure if we can express it succinctly yet fully enough and with clarity.
So here are the bases to cover (Is there more to say about every piece? Absolutely! But if we share the gospel simply and succinctly in a conversational way, it welcomes dialogue, questions, and doubts to be expressed. In reality, the following may not all happen in one conversation. It may happen over the course of multiple conversations):
All people have sinned. The penalty for sin is death. And Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins.
1. Explain the facts concerning salvation:
A) All people have sinned (Rom. 3:23).
B) The penalty for our sin is death (Rom. 6:23).
C) Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for our sins (Rom. 5:8).
These are just the facts. The individual you're talking to can agree with these facts. But there also needs to be an invitation and opportunity given for response.
We explain the gospel in a way that leads to two responses: repentance and faith.
2. Invite a personal response to Christ in repentance and faith.
If a response to the gospel doesn't include both repentance of sins or trusting in Jesus for salvation the gospel has not been truly proclaimed/believed (Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19).
Coming to saving faith in Jesus means repenting of sin and trusting in Christ. So we want to explain the gospel in ways that lead to these two responses.
"And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life"
1 John 2:25
3. Share the promise of forgiveness and eternal life.
The promises of God to those who believe are many. His grace is staggeringly rich. But the primary promises regarding salvation are the forgiveness of sins and eternal life with Christ (Luke 23:43; John 3:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19).
Jesus said, "whoever comes to me I will never cast out" (John 6:37), "Come to me...and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28), "And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life (1 John 2:25).
WHY SHARE THE GOSPEL WITH OTHERS?
We possess the greatest treasure in the world: The Gospel (Matthew 13:44). Jesus tells us not to put it under a bowl but to put it on a stand so that it gives light... (Matthew 5:15). This treasure and light that God has graciously revealed to us is too wonderful to keep to ourselves.
We are told to proclaim it to the whole world (Matthew 24:14) and that unbelievers won't come to faith without hearing about Jesus (Romans 10:14).
"This treasure and light that God has graciously revealed to us is too wonderful to keep to ourselves."
As we go about sharing the gospel with those around us, God goes about His transforming work of turning hearts of stone into hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). What a privilege it is to get to play a part in the God-ordained method of salvation: we preach and proclaim, Jesus saves.
Central, lets love our neighbours and wider community well. This includes sharing the gospel with them.
"We preach and proclaim, Jesus saves"
Chapter 33: The Gospel Call and Effective Calling from Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem was utilized in the writing of this post.