How to Speak the Gospel in Community
The Gospel is good news for sinners. If you are a Christian, you know this to be true. The only hope of a sinner being forgiven by a holy God is through the cross and resurrection of Jesus, our Savior.
The sad truth about the church today is that we have somehow started believing that we should move on past the gospel. The gospel is good news for unbelievers but, for us believers, we need to move past the gospel. We just need to read good theology, or to try hard to good works, or to be good people by our own power. We no longer need the gospel for ourselves. This is dangerous and destructive for God's people.
As Tim Keller says, "The gospel is not just the A B C's of Christianity, it's the A to Z of Christianity." For all eternity, we will never get past the gospel. We will never get over Jesus. If you think you can get past Jesus, you have probably never got to him in the first place.
Listen to the apostle Paul in Romans 1. He tells the believers in Rome, "So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome." He wants to come quickly to Rome not to start a new program. Not to implement a church growth strategy. But to preach Jesus to the church there in Rome.
Again, to the church in Corinth, "Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you - unless you believed in vain." The church didn't just receive the gospel and now they are good. They received it, remembered it, stood in it, and they were being saved by it to this day.
So this leaves us with an important question, "How do we share the gospel with other Christians?" Well, I am glad you asked. . .
1. Ask One Another, "What is the Gospel?"
Spend time rehearsing the gospel with one another. Make it common to hear the truths of the gospel from one another's lips. One of the greatest joys I have as a pastor is to ask people joining our church family, "What is the Gospel?" Hearing the good news never gets old and it will never get less life-giving for believers.
2. Share Your Testimony
Maybe you have been a member of the church for years now, but if you have never asked someone their testimony it's not too late. Ask someone, "How did the Lord save you?" We all believe in the one true gospel but God is his glorious power rescues his children in so many beautiful ways. Hearing one another's testimonies will leave us in awe once again that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15).
3. Confess Your Sins
Gospel Community is the place where you don't have to hide anymore. James 5:16 commands the church to "Confess our sins to one another and pray." We can do that freely in gospel community because we are no longer going to be complacent. We are not going to be comparing ourselves to one another. We are not going to be condemned any more. We are going to show up to be reminded that "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1)
4. Marvel at the Multi-Faceted Diamond
The gospel of Jesus Christ is a multi-faceted diamond that God's people will marvel at for all eternity. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:7 "so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." The gospel is a bottomless treasure of glory and grace in Jesus. We will never get to the end of the awe and wonder of this gospel diamond.
So talk about it. Talk about the treasure we have in Jesus. Talk about adoption. Talk about justification. Talk about Christ's righteousness. Talk about eternal life. Talk about mercy and grace. Talk about his unending love. Talk about how we forgets your sins. We will never run out of treasure in Jesus.
5. Talk about Your "So-What Testimony"
I heard this term from Randy Newman's book Questioning Evangelism this week- your "so-what testimony." He says it's good for Christians not to talk only about our lives before Jesus and how Jesus saves us from our sins. We should also talk about the difference Jesus has made in your life. Share testimonies about how the power of Jesus Christ is being displayed in your marriage, in your job, in your fight for holiness, in your enjoyment of life's many blessings or in your unwavering hope in today's suffering.
6. Go On Mission Together
I am going to keep saying this truth until our church has it tatooed on our hearts. God did not create the Great Commission with a "pause" button. Too long I have been silent and not shared the gospel intentionally with friends and family who need Jesus. One way we can treasure Christ together is by going to share Christ together. Spend time with people who need Jesus with other brothers and sisters of your church. And as you share your testimonies with these unbelievers and the good news of Jesus, you will rejoice in the good news together like never before.
What a joy it is to go deeper into the gospel with one another! Let's not shrink back from all the blessings of having gospel intentionality in our gospel community!