Thursday, August 28, 2008

why should i prepare and how do i prepare to share the gospel?

Romans 1:15 says, “So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also” (NKJ). Paul states he was ready to share the good news. We too should be ready at any time to share the hope of Jesus Christ in us. For many people, presenting the gospel it can be a very daunting task. However, this does not have to be. There are many different ways of sharing the Good News and this section includes one method of sharing the Gospel. We should ask ourselves the following questions: What makes a good gospel presentation? What must be included? We need a specific goal so we are able to share the gospel in as little as 30 seconds or for as long as the Holy Spirit guides.

Practical Help in Sharing the Gospel. The biggest obstacle for many believers is not knowing what to say. Some of us may have the opinion that we can just let the Holy Spirit guide us as to what to say. But without a plan, we might find ourselves talking about church, God and the Bible, but not sharing the good news of the gospel. The apostle Paul said he was ready to share the gospel. He had a plan for sharing the gospel with the Jews (utilizing the Old Testament) and a different plan for the Gentiles who did not know the Old Testament. Like Paul, we need to have a plan, one that shows God we are willing, able and prepared. God will use the talents and abilities we have, but we need to prepare ourselves as well. Then, as we share with others with our plan in mind, we may find ourselves adding or taking away points based on the conversation. This is the Holy Spirit prompting us. To develop an effective plan, it will take time, study, energy and practice. A plan should include an outline, Scriptures, and illustrations. .

Developing an Outline A plan needs to include an outline of our major objectives. This outline provides the skeleton of the gospel presentation. In addition, it helps us stay on track with what God has called us to do. Too many people chase rabbits simply because they forget their main objective. An outline allows us to stay on track.

What points should a gospel message cover? First, the message reveals that man is a sinner and cannot save himself. Second, God loves us but He is holy and cannot stand sin. Third, Jesus died on a cross to pay the penalty for our sin. Finally, eternal life is a gift of grace received through faith. No matter which outline we use, these points need to be covered.

Utilizing Scripture. God's Word gives strength and power to our presentation. It helps if we have Scripture verses memorized. Sharing without scripture lacks the power and the tools that God has given us. I was once sharing the gospel with a young lady named Michelle. She listened politely and I could tell she was interested, but she did not take the step of commitment to Jesus Christ. I was discouraged. The next day I was sharing with a friend of mine named David Clarke the events of the night before. He asked me an unusual question I believe was from God. He asked, “Did you use any verses from the Bible with her?” I had to ashamedly say, ‘No.’ I knew she did not know much about the Bible and I did not want to overwhelm her or offend her with Scripture. David then told me some words I never forgot. He said, “The Bible is where you have power in your presentation. Do not be afraid of using it.” Those words hit me hard. Since then, I have always used Scripture and it has made a tremendous difference in my presentation. There is no easy way around this component. We need to spend time memorizing the verses associated with our sharing.

Giving Illustrations. Personal stories and illustrations bring clarity to the truth being shared as well as make the presentation personal, effective and interesting. I have shared my faith many times when a principle is not clicking with a prospect. But when I share a story, I can see the truth of what I am sharing being understood.

One of the difficult concepts for people to grasp is faith. A useful illustration to help people understand this concept is a marriage ceremony. I remember when I was dating my wife, how crazy I was about her. During the engagement, I could not imagine loving her any more than I did at that point. I wanted her to be my wife. Yet we were not married because I had not made the commitment in a wedding ceremony. When I said, “I do” and the minister performing the ceremony said, “I now pronounce you man and wife” could we say we were married. We were not married because we felt in love or because we knew each. We were married when we took the step of commitment in a marriage ceremony. Faith is similar to the marriage ceremony in that we must take a step of commitment where we say I commit my life to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Another illustration I use deals with our sinful nature. In high school and college, I loved math and so I will use a math illustration. Say a person was to sin only three times a day: once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once in the evening. There are 365 days a year. In math 3 times 365 is greater than 1000. Say a person lives to be 40 years of age and only sinned three times a day. Do you realize this person has sinned over 40,000 times in their life? The Bible says one sin is enough to separate us from a holy God. Can you realistically expect God to let you in based on your good works if you had over 40,000 sins when one is enough to separate us?[i]

These illustrations drive home the point of our Gospel presentation. Be creative and ask God to give you an outline, Scriptures and illustrations to help make the Gospel clear. We like the apostle Paul need to be ready to share the hope of our salvation.

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