Declaring the Gospel
How to declare the Gospel scripturally:
Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 10:9-10 – If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
The Hand Method
Pinky Finger – The pinky finger represents “I” in sign language. God created you. Possible verses to use are Psalm 139:13-16, Jeremiah 1:5, or Genesis 1:27.
Ring Finger – What does a person wear on this finger? A ring. A ring represents relationship. God created you for relationship with Him. Possible verses to use are Genesis 2:18, Genesis chapters 1 and 2 show that we were created for relationship with God and with others, Jeremiah 24:7, or 1 John 1:3.
Middle Finger – In American culture the middle finger is extremely rude. For this conversation it represents sin. Sin separates us from God and it keeps us from fulfilling our purpose which is to be in a healthy relationship with God and others. That’s a problem. We can’t do what we were made to do as long as sin is a part of who we are. Possible verses to use are Isaiah 59:2, Genesis 3:22-24, Romans 5:12, Romans 6:23a, or Galatians 5:19-21.
Pointer Finger – This finger points towards things. It also represents the number 1 in American culture. There is only one thing that can bring us back into a relationship with God and that is Jesus Christ, through His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection. Possible verses to use are Romans 5:8, Romans 6:23, John 3:16, or John 14:6.
Thumb – The thumb allows us to grip things. At this point in the presentation, place something in the palm of your hand. Then grip it and say, “Once God has you in His hand He will never let you go.” Possible verses to use are 1 Corinthians 1:8-9, Colossians 3:3-4, or Philippians 1:6.
ABCs of Salvation
The ABCs of Salvation are not as useful as some other methods for explaining the Good News to someone who has no church background. They are very useful though for helping a person know how to respond to the Good News that they have heard.
A – ADMIT you have sinned against God.
Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
B – BELIEVE that Jesus alone can save you from sin.
John 6:40 says, “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
John 14:6 says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
C – COMMIT to following Jesus in every part of your life.
Romans 10:9 says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”
How to declare the Gospel personally:
Your oikos is unique to you. Your story is unique to you. Trust that God has placed you with your oikos for a reason and that part of that reason is to share your unique story to those unique people.
3 Minute Testimony
3 Basic Kinds of Testimonies
There are endless ways to shape your story, but here are some ways that we’ve seen work well:
- A Simple Statement – You can share a simple statement about why you chose to follow Jesus. This works well for a brand new believer.
- Before and After – You can share your “before” and “after” story – what your life was like before you knew Jesus and what your life your life is like now. Simple and powerful.
- With and Without – You can share your “with” and “without” story – what your life is like “with Jesus” and what it would be like “without Him”. This version of your story works well if you came to faith at a young age.
3 Parts to Sharing Your Testimony
When sharing your story, it’s helpful to think of it as part of a three-part process:
- Their story – Ask the person you are talking with to share about their spiritual journey.
- Your story – Then share your Testimony shaped around their experience.
- God’s story – Finally share God’s story in a way that connects with their world-view, values, and priorities.
Your testimony doesn’t have to be lengthy or share too many details to be impactful. In fact, keeping your story to around 3-minutes will leave time for questions and deeper conversation.
If you’re worried about how to get started, just keep it simple. God can use your story to change lives, but remember—you’re the one who gets to tell it.
For more details on this method, click here.
Your Story is God’s Story
“If someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way” (1 Peter 3:15-16, NLT).
Take a few minutes now to work through these questions so you can be ready for the next open door God gives you to tell your story.
My Life Before Christ
- What about my life before Christ will relate most to the non-Christians I know?
- What did my life revolve around? Where did I get my security, identity or happiness from?
- How did those things begin to let me down?
How I Came to Christ
- When was the first time I heard the gospel? What were my initial reactions?
- When and why did my perspective of Christ begin to change?
- What were the final struggles that went through my mind just before I accepted Him? Why did I finally decide to accept Christ (or give Him complete control of my life)?
My Life After Coming to Christ
- How is my life different now? List some specific changes in your character, attitude and perspective on life.
- What motivates me now? What do I live for?
- Even though my life still isn’t perfect, how does knowing Christ help me deal with that fact?
Now that you’ve answered these questions, take a few minutes to write out your story as if you were telling it to someone.
- Pray before you write out and share your story. Ask God for wisdom and the words to say.
- Write the way you speak.
- Be honest.
- Aim to keep your story to three to five minutes. At that length, it’s easily something you can share in a conversation without it becoming a monologue.
- Practice your testimony out loud several times until you feel comfortable with it.
Congratulations! You’ve created your personal testimony.
For more info on telling your story, click here.
Defending the Gospel
Defending the Gospel is not something that can be easily covered in a document like this. Instead, we will provide a series of books, podcasts, and websites that you can study on your own with your friends and family’s specific questions in mind.
One note though on Defending the Gospel, always do it with love and sincere care. Remember that you will be discussing these things with people in your relational world. These are people that you care about deeply. Don’t win the battle, but lose the war. Also, remember that it’s ok to say, “I don’t know, but I can find out.” or “I don’t know, but would you like to study that topic with me?”
Books and Resources to Consider
- Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion by Rebecca McLaughlin
- Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
- Corner Conversations by Randy Newman
- Tactics and The Story of Reality, both by Greg Koukl
- I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist by Frank Turek
- Stand to Reason with Greg Koukl
- Thinking Out Loud with Alan Shlemon
Dialoguing the Gospel
One of the best things you can do when having honest and open Gospel centered conversations with your oikos is to answer questions with questions. An immediate, declarative answer to an honest spiritual question from your friends or family can actually sometimes push them away and shut down real dialogue and eventual life change. Answering a question with a question makes the questioner think beyond their original hang up. Answering a question with a question brings to the surface the questioners assumptions. It also takes the pressure off of you, which is nice, in what can feel like a high pressure situation.
If you want to learn more about dialoguing the Gospel, check out the video below.