- Catherine Black
The Gospel in Four Minutes
How often do you share the gospel? Ever feel like you should, but you just can’t find the right words? Ever wondered how to share the gospel? It’s hard to sum up all that God has done in a few paragraphs or a few minutes of someone’s time. I mean, how can we summarize the Bible so that it makes sense and makes a difference?
Sharing the gospel isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard. We think it's hard because we've never done it or we aren't sure what's the best way to share the gospel. Or we tell ourselves it’s hard because we really just prefer our own comfort over the salvation of someone else’s soul. Yep. That’s how selfish we are.
I’ve been that person more times than I care to admit.
As Ray Comfort says in his Way of the Master training, we wouldn’t not tell someone their house was burning if they were sitting inside it. We’d shout at them just to make sure they got to safety. We’d break their door down just to make sure they got out.
But sharing the gospel? Nope. We’ll let them burn.
I’m cringing over here myself, so don’t think I’m pointing fingers at any of you. I’m talking to myself here (and anyone who cares about the souls of others). We can’t sit back and stay silent on the one thing that will save people’s souls from eternal fire.
And yet, we freeze up when it comes to sharing the most important thing we’ve ever heard. We somehow forget what to say or we fear what we’ll say will offend someone or cause weird eye-rolls. Worst of all, it could create rifts between people we once loved and spent time with. It’s happened in my life. The gospel came between us and some friends, as heartbreaking as that is. But at least we know now that we’ve told them the truth and that they know (or should know) that their house is on fire and they’re choosing to sit in it, eternally.
As a young person, I don’t think I could have summarized the gospel well. It’s not because I didn’t know the gospel (I’d been transformed by it!), but I’d never forced myself to actually put into words what the Lord has done for sinners.
Knowing the truth is one thing. Telling that truth is often trickier than just knowing it in our heads. To explain the gospel requires knowing the Bible. But it also involves cutting down what we say to the barest necessities. Hear me out. We’re not skipping anything or abbreviating the truth, but when we share the gospel, we’ve got to do it in a succinct way. A way that ensures we communicate the entire message quickly. In many circumstances, we don’t have an hour to explain the gospel. It would be awesome to have an hour, or two or three or ten, to explain everything we know about the gospel. In reality, we might have five minutes.
Today, I'll give you the gospel in less than five minutes. Because, well, you might not even get five minutes of someone's time!
Part of my church membership process included summarizing the gospel in a few sentences. As Christians, we need to be able to do this, first to see if we really do understand it, and second so that we can share it with others. Our entire aim as Christ followers is to exalt Him. One of the best ways we can do that, aside from worship, is by telling others who He is and what He’s done.
I pray this gospel presentation is clear and can help those of you who need an example to follow when it comes to sharing the truth that will change someone’s life. Just remember that our words are not what changes a person’s heart. Only God can do that. But He’s equipped us with a sword that can pierce even the toughest hearts, and that sword is His Word. Thus, every gospel presentation should include scripture.
The Gospel in Four Minutes
Would you consider yourself a good person? Have you ever lied? Ever stolen something? Ever dishonored your parents? Then you’ve broken the law of God (and that’s only three of the ten commandments!). What is the result of breaking God’s law? How will that affect you?
The one effect we can’t escape is this: we will all die. None of us knows the day or the hour, but we all know it will come. The reason we all die is because “the wages of sin is death” and “all have sinned” (Rom. 6:23 and 3:23). Every single person has sinned because we’ve all broken the law of God.
God is “holy,” which means He is perfectly pure (Is. 6:3). Because He is holy, He cannot tolerate sin. His purity is so pure that He actually destroys anything that is impure if it comes into His presence (Rom. 1:18, Col. 3:6). If He could tolerate sin, He would no longer be holy, and God never changes (Mal. 3:6). God is also perfectly good and perfectly just (Ps. 18:30, 89:14, 145:17; Is. 61:8).
This means that as sinners we cannot enter God’s presence. This, more than our physical death, is the real problem we all face.
But God has made a way for sinners to come to Himself! This is the most beautiful news in all of history. The holy God of the universe, who is good and righteous and pure, allows those who have broken His law and sinned against Him to come to Him and live forever with Him in His presence, free of sin and hurt and pain and fear. But there is only one way this can work.
God loved us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to provide a way for us to enter God’s holy presence and live with Him forever (Jn. 3:16).
Jesus Himself is God (see Jn 1:1) and one part of the trinity that is composed of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God sent Jesus to earth to live the life we could never live: a life of perfect obedience to God’s law, completely free of sin (Jn. 1:14, Heb. 4:15, 1 Jn. 3:5). Jesus was the only man who never once broke God’s law (1 Pet. 2:22). He alone is worthy to enter God’s holy presence.
But get this, God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus came so that He could become our sin and take our punishment from a holy God, and we could become His righteousness! He freely gives us His own perfect, sinless record (see 1 Pet. 2:24). He did this “to bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18). Now, we can have “confident access” to God through faith in Jesus (Eph. 3:12). This is wonderful news!
Jesus Himself said “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (Jn. 14:6). He doesn’t say He is one of many ways. He is the only way. This was something God planned before the world began, and it is the only way to enter into eternal life (Jn. 3:16-18, 36; Eph. 3:11). God is merciful and gracious to us in that He offers us this way to come to Him, even though we are sinful and can never earn our way to Him or do enough good to be counted worthy of His acceptance (Rom. 5:8, Eph. 2:1-10). If we could do that, then Jesus died needlessly (Gal. 2:21).
And one important point that you may not have heard before: accepting this truth is not something you can do and then forget about it. If you truly believe this, you will be transformed into a person who wants to live for God and strives to honor Him (Rom. 12:1-2). You won’t be automatically perfect, but you will seek the Lord and love His Word and find a church and forsake your lifestyle of sin. Jesus was very clear when He said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24). Following Him is an ongoing endeavor!
On the cross, Jesus took our punishment for breaking God’s law, but in return He commands us to give our entire lives to Him, including repenting (or turning away) from our sin with His help. This is not a once and done thing. This is a lifelong thing.
Now you have to decide if Jesus really is who He says He is and really did what He says He did. Do you believe Jesus lived a perfect life so that He could make a way for sinners to live forever, joyfully worshipping God? Do you believe that the only way to enter heaven is by claiming Christ’s righteousness, which He freely offers you as a gift through faith?
If you do believe this, then praise God for opening your eyes to the truth! Praise God for making a way for you to come to Him. Praise God for saving you through what Jesus Christ did for you. And beg God for the help of His Spirit to live a life that honors Him.
Okay, there you have it. The gospel in under five minutes. There are all sorts of ways to share the gospel, and as long as the truth is there, one way isn’t better than another. God even uses fumbling, awkward attempts. He just tells us to open our mouths and try.
Now, go try! Try sharing the gospel this week. Try it on a Christian friend, just for practice! This will help tremendously when it comes time to share the gospel with a stranger (or, scariest of all, a family member!).
Rely on God’s Spirit and His Word and just try. Remember what the Lord has done for you and then it won’t feel so scary to try to do this, for His glory. You can even try sharing the gospel on social media. If you do, share your post with me! Send me an email or tag me @truth.readers on Instagram. We’ve been given the internet; we may as well use it as an avenue for sharing the gospel! I pray you get the chance—and take the chance—to share the gospel this week.