At EIA, we believe that the ‘heartbeat’ of the gospel must be conveyed when sharing the gospel. Gospel sharing tools & God’s heartbeat must work hand in hand. This is presented in depth in our online course, On Mission with God @Home. The heartbeat is the Father’s heart for reconciliation. The heartbeat is His great love that caused Him to send His son. This heartbeat, must be conveyed when sharing the gospel with others.
Tools to share the gospel, can be shallow at times. They can however, be very effective if the Father’s heartbeat is conveyed, if He is well represented. The heartbeat is love and reconciliation. Remember the good news is Jesus, we present a living hope to people. People need to feel loved not condemned.
1. How To Use Tools or Formula’s
In this article, two tools are discussed, the Bridge Illustration and The Big Story. Do not see them as formulas or a checklist to present the gospel. Try and present them in a ‘conversational manner’ to others and with the fathers heartbeat for reconciliation. People should walk away feeling that God loves them, not condemns them.
In reaching out to others and evangelizing, the goal is disciples not converts. The goal is to see people following Jesus for a lifetime not making a decision and then living life each day as it was without Christ as their Lord. The great commission (Matt. 28:18-20) encourages Christians to not only see people make a decision for Christ but to make decisions each day to follow Christ and truly be His disciple; to live as He lived. How the Gospel is presented can often aid or disadvantage Christians in making disciples.
2. The Core Elements Of The Gospel.
Before looking in depth at the two gospel presentations below, let’s explore some basics.
The core elements of the Gospel have always been the same. God’s purpose, man’s need, Christ’s provision and man’s response. To illustrate the Gospel there have been some helpful tools designed to diagrammatically illustrate the Gospel content. The most helpful for years has been, The Bridge illustration” and more recently, The Big Story.
The Bridge Illustration adequately shows that God created man and that God had a plan for humanity. It goes on to illustrate that sin has separated man from God and that Christ is the remedy for this separation. In conclusion it shows that humanity can respond to Christ and be restored into relationship with Christ. This tool is helpful in explaining the Gospel to those who are not yet believers BUT make sure you share the heartbeat of God. Lead with the heartbeat of reconciliation and love.
The Big Story takes the approach that society and culture has changed significantly over the past decades and that a more holistic approach to the Gospel can be helpful in reaching the current generations. This new approach seeks to reflect some major shifts; decision to discipleship, individual to communal and after-life to mission-life.
3. Which Tool or Method is Best?
People are different everywhere; they change from country to country and generation to generation. Choosing a diagram that suits your particular audience is the best approach to take. Always remember that Gospel Sharing Tools & God’s Heartbeat go together. In presenting the Gospel it is good to remind ourselves that God is calling people into relationship with Himself and that He desires to bring blessing to the world through us. The Gospel is not just about knowing God but about living in Christ and bringing blessing to the world we live in.
4. Not A Sales Pitch
There is a mission beyond meeting Christ. With this in mind, we must not reduce our presentation of the Gospel to a “sales pitch”. Often, we can hear, “Come to Jesus and all your problems will be solved”, or to “Give your life to Christ and your marriage will be fixed”, or “Come to Christ and life will somehow be better”. All these are possible with Christ however they are benefits of the Gospel not the Gospel itself. This type of sales pitch Gospel lacks the power to produce disciples for Christ.
5. TWO Gospel Tools or Presentations
A. The Bridge Illustration
This illustration using what we often refer to as the 4 spiritual laws in a set of 4 diagrams.
The Diagram Explained
1. God’s Purpose
God desires that we experience an abundant life. This would include such things as love, peace, purpose, and fulfilment. He also desires that we experience both abundant life now and eternal life with Him.
2. Our Problem
But we have a problem. God did not create us to act like robots that would automatically love and have fellowship with Him in return. He gave us a will and the freedom of choice. Therefore, not only do we have the ability to make good choices, but we also have the ability to make evil choices and sin. Each of us will die physically, and after we die physically, we will face judgement.
So we see that when we look at the condition of a person apart from God, it isn’t very encouraging. We have all sinned at one time or another, and the penalty of sin is eternal death (separation from God). Also we see that as a consequence of our sin we will face God’s judgement.
3. God’s Remedy
In spite of the fact that we have turned our backs on God and have disobeyed Him, He has provided a remedy so that we can know Him personally. He wants to give us both abundant life and eternal life. Only one bridge can cross the gulf that exists between a person and God, and that bridge is Jesus Christ, through His death on the cross. God sacrificed His Son to pay the price for all of our sins. Jesus conquered death.
4. Our Response
Christ has made it possible for us to cross over to God’s side and experience the full life that He wants us to have. But we are not automatically on God’s side. Real belief in Christ results in a response on our part. The instruction in John 1:12 is that we must believe in Him and receive Him. Often this is expressed through prayer and accompanied by a growing sense of God’s love and forgiveness. Those who believe in Jesus will not be condemned and are assured of eternal life.
REMEMBER: If you use this tool or somehow explain this to someone, make sure God’s heartbeat, His love for the person is conveyed. You are presenting Jesus, he’s not a formula but a person.
B. The Big Story
Here is the basic explanation to this gospel presentation:
1. Designed for Good
God created a good, wonderful world. Creation was designed to take care of us and us care of it. Humanity was designed to care for each other and to be in relationship with God.
2. Damaged by Evil
Humanity wanted to be in charge rather than God and that is when things went wrong. Everything became about us and not God. Creation became damaged, people started hurting others and our relationship with God also became damaged as we did our own thing rather than live out God’s plans.
3. Restored for Better
God in His love did not leave the planet in this state. He sent His son Christ who took on all the damage and died on the cross letting all damage die with Him. In receiving Christ into our lives we in effect die also and now live as Christ lived and intended. Restoration through faith comes to us.
Christ also restored creation, now the environment, governments, economies, schools, etc can be used to bring forth God’s plans. Injustice can cease. Our relationships with each other can be healthy as we love and forgive and our friendship with God is restored as he forgives us for the damage we have bought to the world.
4. Sent Together to Heal
In submitting our lives to Christ, we ourselves become whole and healed. From here we are sent to heal relationships, help and heal the environment, and to fight injustice all with the power of God’s Spirit.
REMEMBER: If you use this tool or somehow explain this to someone, make sure God’s heartbeat, His love for the person is conveyed. You are presenting Jesus, he’s not a formula but a person. Gospel Sharing Tools & God’s Heartbeat must go together.
We pray that this can be helpful for you in sharing the gospel with others. Remember, Gospel Sharing Tools & God’s Heartbeat must go together.
We would love to have you take our FLAGSHIP Course, On Mission with God @ Home that will equip you further to share your faith,
For the sake of the gospel,
The EIA team.