The message of the Gospel is often seen as very hopeful and exhilarating, in a good way. But, what many may not realize is that several non-Christians find it VERY offensive. Here’s why.
The idea that we are all sinful. The Bible clearly states that all humans are sinners, and fall much short of the glory of the Most High God. So if some random person told you that you were a sinner, wouldn’t you be offended?
Sin leads to death. After being told that everyone is a sinner under God’s eyes, you most likely will be told that this sin you can’t control causes death. Wow, well that sounds hopeful right? The sin that I can’t control leads to death I must endure.
Not only is there physical death, but sin leads us to hell. This sin that is in every man causes physical death, but to make matters worse, there is also a spiritual death. In this spiritual death that sin causes, your soul goes to hell for eternity because God cannot be in the presence of your sin.
“You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.”
How does someone get to heaven? What is the requirement for admission into the Streets of Gold? What has to happen in order to bridge the gap between a human and God? Many religions claim to know. Many religions (particularly Islam, Judaism, and Christianity) claim that the relationship between humanity and God has been severed and needs to be reset, but what do they say must take place in order for that to be completed?
See, almost all religion can be summed up in one sentence: humans, through grit, inner-strength, and self-righteousness attempt to earn their way or prove themselves to god (or to gods). This statement, however, stands in shady contrast to the method of salvation found within the Christian Scriptures. Shown numerous times throughout both the Old and New Testament, the way someone goes about mending their relationship with God isn’t by stirring their inner-good-person to follow the rules. The situation described by the Bible is one where all people, everywhere, are absolutely incapable of “earning” anything in the sight of God. Hence, “When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). There are many calls to obey and submit, yes, but is submission and obedience the same as “following the rules” and “sticking to the books”? Not according to the text. The Word describes all people as in a helpless position, in the sense that, no matter how hard someone tries, they cannot do anything to make God love them more or do anything that makes God indebted to them.
This past summer I had an amazing opportunity to travel across the world and share my faith with those who have never heard the name of Jesus. I gradually learned how to effectively share my testimony so that others would see the forgiveness of sins that is in Jesus Christ. I learned a method that I shared with many believers in remote areas who needed to be discipled.
This method is simply called the 2, 3, 4 method. There are 2 parts to the Gospel: Your story and the story of Jesus. Remember that your story is only a part to the whole, much like a slice out of an apple. While your story is important, keep it in the context of Christ. Your story includes 3 parts.
Telling Your Story
Your life before you met/accepted Jesus into your life. Tell the people you are talking to about who you were and how you acted before you accepted Jesus into your heart. In Acts 26:4-11 you can see Paul’s life before Christ.
Next you share about how you met Christ and your transformation. Paul talks about his encounter with God on the road to Damascus in Acts 26:12-18. Many of us probably don’t have a story like Paul’s where God appeared to us on a road and blinded us, but some of us do. The way you met Jesus is just as important for Paul as it is you and I.
Finally, the life you live after you accepted Jesus in your heart is what you share. Compare it to your previous life before Christ. Tell how you were once dead in sin, but now have assurance of eternal life. This part of Paul’s testimony is in Acts 26:19-23.
Sharing your testimony is crucial when you are trying to share the gospel with a neighbor or friend. Your story may be similar to theirs. They may be able to relate to your life before Christ, which may spur them on to learn more about this Jesus you are telling them about. Constantly practice sharing your story with friends and family so that you will be ready when God presents you with an opportunity to share your testimony.
Now, the second part to the Gospel is Jesus’ story. There are 4 parts to the story of Jesus.
Four Parts about Jesus
Judgement- We all face judgement for the sins in our lives. Romans 3:23 states that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are all born with a sin nature and can do nothing on our own to fix this issue. Hebrews 9:27 says that “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” We will all be judged.
Repent– Jesus taught us that we must repent- turn away from the sin in our lives. We must realize that we are all sinners and chose to run from that sin. In Matthew 4:17 Jesus said “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Without repentance, their cannot be turning away from sins, and therefore no forgiveness.
Death– Through judgement and the knowledge that we have all sinned, it is then evident that this will lead to death. We all deserve death, both spiritual and physical. Romans 6:23 says that “The wages of sin is death.” The Bible tells us that Christ died for all; in Romans 5:8 it says that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Christ took death so that we don’t have to, he brings us hope!
Resurrection/ New Life- Christ did not stay dead. He rose from the grave, conquering death and sin, enduring the sin so that we don’t have to. If we chose him, he will stand for us on judgement day, taking our sin and shame so that we can spend eternity in heaven with him. John 3:16 says that “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life. We have an inheritance in heaven with Jesus.
It is always important to talk about the story of Jesus when sharing the Gospel and your testimony. Make sure who you are talking knows that your new life is only possible because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, taking our sin and our shame.
Pray that God would give you 3 people this week that you could share your testimony and the Gospel with. Practice sharing your testimony with your family to figure out what you will say. Take courage and remember that God’s word will never return void! Follow his voice and share your story with those around you. If you don’t tell them, who will?!
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
~ Romans 1:18-20
Would God really send those who have never heard the Gospel to hell? Let’s talk about it, because this a question that believers and non-believers share alike!
Let’s look at an example…
Hunter: “Do all people really go to hell if they don’t confess Jesus Christ as their Savior?”
Alice: “God makes it pretty clear throughout scripture that all have fallen short of glory and that the wages of sin is death. I would recommend taking a close look at the book of Romans.”
Hunter: “Yeah. I get that. I know all that stuff. But let’s just say, for example, there was a guy on a remote island, and no one knew he was there, so no one could share the Gospel with him. This guy, when he died, would he go to hell?”
Alice: “Sadly, yes. But let me explain why…”
“But let me explain why…”
I’m sure that our friend Alice would answer somewhat along these lines: The truth is yes, and God makes it clear through the apostle Paul why in Romans chapter 1.
From Romans, we are shown that these people, even though they have never heard about God, have already had the truth and knowledge of God revealed to them through creation by God himself. Because he has so obviously demonstrated himself through everything that exists, God tells us that these people are “without excuse”.
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This means everyone, no matter the circumstance, is separated from God, and without trusting in Christ to save us from our sins, we will spend eternity separated from him. This even includes the person on the island that has never had the opportunity to hear about Christ.
Some may think that this is simply a hypothetical situation, its normal, but it’s not, this is real life for 3.14 billion people. There are 3.14 billion people that haven’t even heard the name of Jesus, so you need to keep that in mind when answering this question. Most people, when they ask this question are waiting for you to say that they will go to hell, that way they can, essentially, roast you by saying “See! God is an angry, unjust God! How could he call himself good and loving when he does stuff like that!”
Be prepared to answer that response. My reply to that would then simply be that by God doing this, he is able to call himself just and holy. He is just because he puts in place consequences for sin. He is holy because sin cannot exist in his presence. Sin cannot exist in his presence because he is perfect and without fault. He is light, and in him and around him there can be no darkness. However, he has made a way for us to be made right with him. Based on this, you can say that he is both just and good.
Not only has he made a way for us to be restored back to him, but he has also made it abundantly clear through creation. Because he has made it clear through things such as creation, Paul says these people have no excuse for the sin in their hearts. These people are still guilty of sin, and God cannot be in the presence of sin. As Christians, this knowledge should break our hearts. This should motivate us in our walk to share the Gospel unconditionally with people in our nation and abroad. This is Christ’s grand design!
For those of you that don’t know, I work in the fast food industry. It’s awesome! I genuinely love where I work, and I love the people I get to work with; they’re just absolutely a blast, even when you’re having a bad day. But that has all together nothing to do with what I’m talking about! It is merely the setting for what I’m telling you today.
At my restaurant, there is a position called “window”. While you work the window, all you have to do is make sure the right person gets the right food and then pays for it. It’s quite simple, but it can be quite fast pace sometimes just like everything at the restaurant. Which is perfect, I love fast; however, you are constantly reaching out of the window and back in to the window. Needless to say, it’s not my most favorite position so I wasn’t thrilled when I found out that I was working 7 hours straight on window.
Little did I know, the Lord would wreck that mindset. I prayed before I began to work that the Lord would allow me to make an impact on those around me right where I am. When you pray for opportunities like that, he will deliver.
One of the cool things about “window” though is that you seriously get the opportunity to talk to hundreds of people in one shift! When I say hundreds, I mean hundreds.
When I work window, I generally get into a “rhythm” where I have people in-and-out as fast as possible; however, with the next car pulling up to the window, my rhythm was broken.
I looked to the driver’s seat and began repeating the guest’s order back to them. When I looked into the car window, I saw a woman, quiet, timid, and with puffy eyes; it was apparent that she had been crying recently. Instantly, my heart broke for this woman. Then I looked to the back seat since all the windows in the vehicle were down. In the back seat there was a young girl that gave the same appearance as the woman up front.
I didn’t know what had been going on in their lives, but I started speaking encouragement to them through the drive through window. I then asked the woman if I could pray for her and her daughter. She said yes, so I leaned out the window and prayed for her then she drove off.
The Lord then convicted me. I had been disappointed to be working the position I was that day because I forgot that God has a purpose for everything that happens. I forgot that I had been sent to work that day.
I say all this to you to remind you that we have a purpose everywhere we go, and unless we are focused on Christ and eternity through it all, we will miss an opportunity to share the light of Jesus. Take advantage of every opportunity that the Lord has graciously set before you!