In our daily meditations, we have said that the Lord Jesus expects His people to take and make opportunities to share the good news of Christ's salvation with others. The question before many is, how does one do that? And what are the elements of a gospel presentation? When I get an opportunity, depending on how open the person is, I try to go through six different topics:
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
We have already covered the first two: salvation cannot be bought or earned; it is a gift. Then we talked about communicating that all of us have fallen short of God's standard—we have all sinned and by ourselves can never be good enough for a place in eternal life with God. In the third stage, we must make clear to the person that there is a wage that God, in His justice, must deal out to all who have sinned—the just penalty of separation from God because of sin. I usually preface this part by telling the person that before I can share with them some great news, I must explain something essential for them to understand:
3) The Wages of Sin
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).
The concept of wages needs to be explained. Whatever job or labor we do in our daily lives, we deserve a wage for our work, so in the same way, our life of sin deserves payment for what we have earned, death. This death is not just physical death, that is obvious, but the death we are talking about is separation from the author of all life—God! Spiritual death is a place of separation at the end of our lives from all that is good and holy, a place called hell. If you would like to explore the topic of hell, I would encourage you to read the study called The Truth about Hell. At the point of physical death, we face judgment before God:
Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
This judgment is a terrible prospect for those who do not obey the gospel of Christ. When Jesus returns, and this age is over, there will be an accounting for those who do not obey the gospel:
8dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).
You may be reluctant to talk to a person about hell, but if you were standing on the banks beside Niagara Falls and you saw a person in a canoe slowly meandering down the river toward the Falls, wouldn’t you shout a warning? There are more instances in the Scriptures of Jesus speaking about hell than heaven. If someone seems to have something in their way preventing them from responding to the gospel, perhaps they are convicted of a particular sin. You may be able to pray with them right there about whatever it is that is holding them back if they are willing. Be open to the Holy Spirit and ask them if it is ok to pray for them. Sometimes people will come up with reasons why they cannot accept Christ, usually due to guilt. The enemy does not want to see people set free from their guilt and condemnation. You may also find that the person wants to talk about the thing holding them back. Be a listener. You cannot decide for them, but you can only lead them to where they hear the truth and decide for themselves. If you have come this far in the conversation, then you can rest assured that God will continue to speak to their hearts by His Holy Spirit. Tomorrow we’ll talk about sharing the good news. Keith Thomas
If you want to explore these thoughts now, the link to the full study follows: What is the Gospel?