Many of my readers are believers, so why should I present the gospel? We need to be reminded of the gospel every single day! Don’t lose sight of Jesus and why you need him.
Also…Often when it comes to evangelism, different programs or methods present a rote way or template for sharing the gospel. But every person we come in contact with is a unique individual, and we should be adaptable to them. I don’t mean we alter the gospel!
But each person has a different background and level of understanding or misunderstanding, and they may need a different aspect of the gospel emphasized or explained. The Bible uses a variety of terms and approaches to present our need of salvation and describe our salvation. Jesus was gifted at meeting people “where they were” – getting to the heart of what that individual needed to hear in order to realize their need of Christ. The apostle Paul too. Sometimes Paul was speaking to Jews, Judaizers, or pagans – and took a different approach.
As Christians, we need to be so immersed in the gospel ourselves, that we can easily adapt to the person we have been given an opportunity to share Christ with. One person may fully realize they are a messed up sinner, and need an emphasis on the forgiveness of God through Christ. Another person may have a hard time seeing their need, perceiving his or her self as a good person that God should accept – after all, they have tried hard, so God could not reject them.
[Not to mention that in today’s world we are much more likely to encounter people with little to no familiarity with Christianity, and we will need to back up to more basic issues. Great apologetic/evangelistic/worldview book I reviewed here: The Story of Reality.]
Of course, we can’t know someone’s internal thoughts like Christ, but we do have the Holy Spirit to guide us and we can engage people in conversation. Through conversation, and doing more listening than talking, we can better understand where an individual is coming from, and share the gospel appropriately.
But now I want to present the idea of reconciliation…
The basic human need, of every human being, is to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.
God does not need to be reconciled to us. God never hated us or despised us. God loves us. But we need to be reconciled to him.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 says:
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Note the apostle Paul’s language:
He implores them to be reconciled to God! This is important!
God is holy, perfect, sinless. We are not, and our sin forms a barrier between us and God. In Colossians 1:21-22, Paul words it this way:
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation…
Some people think that they can tear down the barrier, and be reconciled to God, through their own self-efforts or attempts at goodness. But we can never be good enough. Think about it: if we could reconcile our self to God through our own efforts, then it was not necessary for Jesus to come into this world! We have a need, and we can not meet the need on our own.
Note how we are reconciled in those verses:
“God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.”
“But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight.”
How is our sin not counted against us? Is it because our good has outweighed our bad? No! Our sin is not counted against us because of Christ’s work for us!
How are we made holy or righteous? Is it by working hard to be a good person? No! Christ presents us as holy through his work on the cross. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
While God reconciled the world to himself through Christ, that does not mean everyone in this world is automatically in a right relationship with God. Remember that Paul implores them to be reconciled to God.
The Bible paraphrase The Message words “be reconciled to God” this way:
Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.
We can accept or reject what God did for us through Christ on the cross. In Luke, when Jesus was hanging on the cross between two criminals, we observe both of those responses. One believed, and the other did not. The one found forgiveness and salvation, and the other did not. [Related thoughts HERE.]
But rejection does not have to be so outright or blatant. We can ride the fence, not rejecting Christ but not accepting Christ either. However, there is no such thing as being partly reconciled to God. You are either reconciled to God, or you are not. If you are on the fence, you have rejected Christ.
If you are not sure where you stand with God, if you are not sure if you are a friend of God, if you are not sure you have peace with God… I implore you: Be reconciled to God! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
My Christian friends, who are you sharing your faith with? Who are you praying for, that they will come to a saving knowledge of Christ? Is there anyone whose salvation you are burdened for? If you have somehow drifted away from concern for the eternal destiny of others, pray for a renewed sensitivity. Remind yourself of the gospel, and what God did for you in Christ.
It is ultimately God that saves people, drawing them to himself, but we have a role to play. God has committed to us the message of reconciliation!
Pray to be that messenger.