Four Things You Need To Know When Sharing Your Faith
This past weekend, Pastor Jeff encouraged us on how to share our faith. One of his points was to learn how to speak the Gospel in a succinct, simple way using the gap illustration. Below is a brief summary of that illustration so you can succinctly share God’s story of salvation…the Good News!
#1 GOD LOVES US
God’s story starts at the beginning of the Bible, with the creation of the world. In Genesis, we see that God created the world to be perfect. At the center of His creation, God made human beings – the crown of His creation. God loves us and His plan was for humans to live in perfect harmony with Him, with each other, and with the earth. He also originally designed people to have harmony within themselves. God wired each of us to experience peace, joy, and purpose. The Hebrew word for this perfect state is shalom, which means harmony, completeness, and peace. In the Garden of Eden, shalom was present in all relationships: with God, with creation, and with people.
#2 WE BLEW IT
Trouble came to paradise. Instead of experiencing shalom in the perfect garden God established, Adam and Eve decided to break the one boundary God had given them. God wanted Adam and Eve to have a choice in their obedience. They could freely choose to follow or disobey, so He told them they could eat from every tree but one. Adam and Eve chose to disobey. This first act of sin had lasting and dire consequences.
While there are still redeeming qualities about us (we are, after all, made in God’s image), the Bible tells us sin is embedded in our very nature. If our trouble with it is not resolved, we will forever be separated from God and the life He has for us. The Bible says this is eternal death.
#3 CHRIST PAID FOR IT
Despite all our efforts and best intentions, the world, our relationships, and our souls are still a mess. Why? It’s because the root problem is inside us. We are infected by sin. Religions in general focus on how people try to DO enough to please God. The problem is we don't know how much is "good enough" to please Him, and in fact, the Bible tells us that we will never be able to do enough on our own (Romans 3:23). According to the Bible, we need a solution that only God can give.
The story of the Bible pivots when Jesus Christ enters the world. Jesus was both 100% human and 100% God at the same time. Jesus died on a cross as a sacrifice for our sin. Jesus’ death, and subsequent resurrection, is the historic hinge upon which our relationship with God is based. When we understand, believe in, and receive what Jesus did for us on the cross, everything changes.
So instead of being about what we have to DO to be right with God, Christianity is about what was DONE for us. Jesus has DONE for us what we could never do on our own. He lived a perfect life and died a horrible death on the cross to pay for all the wrong things we do. Jesus’ death for our sins means we can be pardoned and be in good standing with God. Our relationship with Him has been restored. Shalom has returned!
#4 WE MUST RECEIVE HIM
Following Jesus involves a change in three areas: our mind, our heart, and our will. In our mind, there needs to be the intellectual understanding that Jesus died for our sins. However, intellectual agreement isn’t enough. James 2:19 says that even demons believe this truth and tremble about it. We must also receive Jesus with our whole heart by asking Him to forgive us and be our leader. We surrender our desires, dreams and agenda to His plan for our life.
That, in short, is God’s story of salvation – His Good News and it is an open invitation to everyone because it's not about anything we can DO; it's about what Jesus has already DONE for us!