We continue talking about sharing the Gospel with others in our daily meditations. When I share the Gospel with anyone, I aim to go through six parts to my presentation:
1. Salvation is a Gift
2. All Have Sinned
3. The Wages of Sin
4. Substitutionary Death of Christ
5. Repent and Receive Christ
6. Assurance of Salvation
1) Salvation is a Gift
I often start a gospel presentation by talking about the concept of salvation being a gift. Many people are brought up throughout childhood thinking they have to earn their place in heaven through good works. The enemy suggests the idea of a set of weighing scales, urging them to believe that their good works must outweigh their sinful practices. These kinds of thoughts come from the pit of hell, for God's saving work comes to us as a gift from God:
8For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9, Emphasis added).
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10).
He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).
To illustrate the giving of a gift, I ask the person I am sharing with if they would still give a child a gift at Christmas if the child had done wrong the day before. (In the West, we traditionally give gifts to one another at Christmas). Most people answer yes. I remind people that when a gift is given, it is not because of anything the person has done to deserve or not deserve it; it is from the heart of the giver, who, in this instance, is God Himself. The gift of God is given to us when we receive it by faith; works have nothing to do with it.
2) All Have Sinned
Before they can receive the gift of God, we must bring up the problem of sin. What is sin? The concept of sin seems outdated to some who have grown up being educated primarily through media. If someone does not believe in God, the idea of sin is sometimes very foreign to them. I ensure they understand that I am not singling them out, commenting on their lifestyle, etc. All of humanity is in the same boat. We all need forgiveness. We all do things that we regret or with which we feel sorrow. The Greek word that the Scriptures use for sin is Hamartia. It is an archery term that means "to miss the mark." In the ancient Greek world, the word was used to describe one aiming for the center of a target and continually missing it. God's standard is perfection. Only One has ever met that standard, and His name is Jesus. The Lord said to His critics, "Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin?” (John 8:46). Sometimes when I bring these thoughts to people, they respond by saying that they have never sinned. I usually ask them if they know what the greatest commandment is. I remind them that Jesus said the greatest commandment was: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 27:37-40). I ask them if they have ever kept that commandment before telling them what James wrote:
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it (James 2:10).
It is paramount that the person sees him or herself as guilty before a holy God and that they need forgiveness of their sin if they have committed one sin. To confirm the situation to them, I often ask them how many murders it takes before a person becomes a murderer; the answer is simple—one! How many lies does it take before a person is guilty of being a liar; again, the answer is simple—one! How many sins does a person commit before they are a sinner—one! God knows our condition has affected all of the human race:
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6).
When the person admits his guilt before a holy God, we must tell them the actual state of the predicament we are all in. Sin is rebellion before a holy God and must be judged. Tell them, "Before I can tell you the wonderful news, I must first tell you about the justice of God toward sin."
Let's carry on with this thought in two days—tomorrow is Christmas Day, so we'll have a meditation on the Savior's birth into the world. Keith Thomas
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