Imagine trying to communicate how something works to a friend when you’re not quite sure how it works yourself. I did this recently when a church member asked me about a ministry at our state convention. I shared my basic understanding of what the ministry was, but then she started asking me questions! I thought I was pretty conversant about this particular ministry until the questions started coming and before too long I realized I didn’t know much about it all. The poor lady asking me for help had to have been frustrated and I finally just gave her a phone number and told her to call the person in charge.
Last month a friend of mine who pastors a good church in Oklahoma gave the people attending his Sunday evening discipleship class an index card and asked them to write a definition of the “gospel”. Out of the 41 responses he received back, only a handful actually gave the correct answer!
One of my favorite Spurgeon quotes is, “A mist in the pulpit is a fog in the pew.” Applied to this situation, if our church members struggle at giving a quick index card definition of the Gospel, it is no wonder we struggle sharing the Gospel with our friends and neighbors!
Sunday School teachers – if you want to have an evangelistic class that is sharing the Gospel with their friends (and I hope you do), then your folks have got to understand the Gospel. I would encourage you to hand out index cards and ask your class to share their definition of the Gospel. Here is a simple definition:
God – God is holy and just and is the Creator of all things. Genesis 1:1, Isaiah 6:3
Man – Man has rebelled against God. Every person sins and has broken relationship with God. God set the rules, and all of us knowingly and unknowingly break the rules. Romans 3:23
God’s solution – Jesus was sent to us, lived a perfect life and died as a perfect sacrifice for our sin (1 Peter 3:18). God raised him from the dead and He is the only way anyone can have right relationship with God. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Our response – To receive forgiveness and be in right relationship with God, each person must confess and repent of their sin and make Christ Lord of their life. Romans 10:9-10
Or if you want a brief four word definition of the Gospel:
So in essence, the gospel is that God provided a way of salvation to rebellious mankind. Jesus was innocent, but suffered and died for our sin and overcame death. Through confession, repentance, and faith; we can experience eternal life with Him in Heaven. The reason the Gospel is good news is that it is a gift! We don’t earn it or pay for it, we just accept it! Ephesians 2:8-9.
It is imperative that we lead our classes to both understand and also articulate the Gospel in a clear, precise way. I want to encourage you as a teacher or small group leader to invest some time during your meeting to lead people to a clear understanding of the Gospel.
John MacArthur has an excellent 90 second video where he explains the work of Christ on the cross.