Sharing the gospel can feel scary, especially if you are not in the habit of doing it. Our current cultural moment doesn’t help the matter. Because people are self-oriented and opposed to anything remotely religious, sharing a message that involves denying self is downright daunting.
Hopefully you understand the importance of sharing the gospel, however. We would all be dead in sin if it weren’t for hearing and responding to the gospel. There are many who haven’t heard it. There are many who remain in bondage. The gospel message is needed in our day as much as ever.
In what follows, I want to share three things I believe you should consider before sharing the gospel.
Know the Gospel
First, you must know the gospel. Perhaps knowing the gospel goes without saying. Many pastors and lay people, however, share gospel messages regularly that are not the gospel at all. At best, their message contains half-truth; at worst, no truth at all.
For instance, it is not the gospel to tell someone God loves them. Such a claim is true, but it’s not the gospel. Furthermore, telling someone God wants them to experience happiness and give them the desires of their heart is not the gospel, either. God will certainly fill a new believer with joy and give them many good things, but he may also allow them to suffer or tell them to go somewhere or seek someone they don’t particularly like.
Worse still, some pastors teach God will bless people financially if they only believe. God is not interested in making people rich. We cannot force his hand to do anything. He is not required to bless anyone. He is in the business of transforming sinners into saints. He loves blessing people who have repented of sin and turned to him for life, breath, and everything, which gets to the heart of the true gospel message.
The gospel says all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. Apart from Christ, we are headed for eternal punishment. We can’t expect to pursue selfish desires our whole life and receive anything good from the Lord upon death. On the other hand, the gospel says that, on the cross, Jesus absorbed the wrath of God on sin. Because he died in our place and for our sin, all who place faith in Jesus will be forgiven and reconciled to God.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”– Romans 1:16 (ESV)
You must know the gospel. You must proclaim all of it. To share only the palatable parts is to disable the entire message. It is fruitless to promote a gospel of sin without a gospel of grace. It is erroneous to promote a God of love without sharing the God of wrath. Both sin and grace must be held in balance.
Live the Gospel
Second, you must live the gospel. It’s not enough to simply know it. If your life has not been changed by the gospel, you will continue to pursue sin and have zero desire to share God’s grace with others. You will lack power. You will be unable to kill sin in your life. Furthermore, the people you are trying to reach will pick up on the hypocrisy. They’ll see your life and recognize the inconsistency in your message.
Living the gospel means preaching the gospel to yourself regularly. When Satan attacks your character, your motives, your knowledge or lack thereof, you must counterattack with the good news. You are free because of the price Christ paid on the cross. As Paul said, “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
Live the gospel so that you can share the gospel. You can’t give people what you don’t possess.
Leave Outcomes to God
Lastly, you must leave outcomes to God. You cannot, in your own strength, concoct a gospel message powerful enough or eloquent enough to soften hard hearts. Only the Spirit of God can turn hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.
Yes, know your message and proclaim it often. Go deeper and deeper into the wonder of the gospel. Know it and live it. Yet, leave the outcome of your message to God.
Understanding God’s sovereignty in saving sinners will free you up to preach the message boldly and unapologetically. You don’t have to know everything about the Bible to faithfully share the gospel. In fact, there are plenty of people who know the Bible better than you but may not know the God of the Bible as well as you do. Therefore, your testimony can work. You could simply say, “I was dead in sin and God made me alive.” God can use it. Don’t doubt his ability to raise dead things to life.
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”– John 6:37 (ESV)
Know the gospel. Live the gospel. Leave outcomes to God.