In our recent sermon series entitled Praying into the Mission, Pastor Joel started by preaching on “A Prayer for Clarity.” The main point: Pray for opportunities to speak the gospel with clarity and character.
The gospel must be spoken. But good news can’t be understood apart from words. The gospel is a message. So, the old quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi – preach the gospel if necessary, use words – is dead wrong. Though we can prepare people to hear the gospel without words, and though we can adorn the gospel with good works; until we have used words, we haven’t yet preached the gospel.
God can use our anxious fumbled words when sharing the gospel. Yet we should not excuse ourselves from seeking clarity. We should steward well our proclamation of the gospel that we hold as true and transformative. We steward the gospel well when we speak it clearly. Here is one simple way to clearly declare the gospel:
God – Man – Christ – Response
- God – God is God. He made us to live for Him and experience joy and full life doing so.
- Man – But we all have failed to live for Him. This is what the Bible calls “sin.” We’ve broken God’s laws; we’ve lived for ourselves; and we’ve tried to find joy and life apart from Him. And because God is holy and just, He must deal with us. We could say this is the bad news. We are under His judgment. We’re in trouble.
- Christ – But God, in His love, resolved to do something about this problem. We can’t fix it on our own, but He can. The Son of God took upon Himself our humanity. Jesus lived a perfect life. Where we sinned, He did not. And He laid down his life for us on the cross, and by doing so He took the judgement that we deserve. This is why God can both judge our sins and forgive our sins, because of what Christ has done. And through His resurrection, Jesus offers eternal life to all who will believe on Him.
- Response – We can have right standing with God, if we will confess that we are sinners; believe that Jesus is the Savior we need; and trust in Him alone, turning from our sin and following Him. If the gospel is good news, we need to tell people how exactly they “get in” on it. We invite people to respond.
Use this outline so you can share the gospel with clarity. And pray that God would use the speaking of the gospel to save souls.
Recommended resources (click links below):
The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever