My neighbor, who I’ve been lightly acquainted with for a couple years, has been changing. As she’s walked past my house her gait has slowed. She’s lost weight. Her skin is different – less elastic, thicker, weathered looking. I’ve watched the change happen over the last couple of months and wondered what could be causing it. When she stopped to chat a few days ago the mystery was solved. My neighbor, not yet 40 years old, single mother of 6, has stage 4 lung cancer.
As she told me she’s dying, there was something in her eyes I couldn’t quite define. Excitement? Fear? Acceptance? She said she decided to take chemo because she wants to try to live. I offered to pray for her and she said she would like that. I made a promise to come and pray over her soon and she ambled off. After she left, Holy Spirit’s voice whispered (almost too quietly for me to hear), ‘when you go and pray, you might try sharing the gospel with her’.
That got me thinking about ‘sharing the gospel’. I realized that, even though I’m often in conversation about Jesus with other people, I don’t really have a clear and concise way to share the gospel. I mean, what is ‘the gospel’? And how do I share it with others?
It seems that ‘sharing the gospel’ is a task set apart, requiring knowledge, and methodical presentation. There is a focused intention behind it, and specifics that must be included. These next few weeks, I’ll be working on a clear, concise way to ‘share the gospel’. I’ll be putting together an order of events and crafting a presentation that will handily convey the ‘good news’.
In order to begin, we need to start at the beginning, and state, simply, that we are God’s creation. We are made to live in relationship with God and His intention is, and has always been, that our lives would be lived interconnected with His Life. God’s design is for us to live in partnership with His Life and Goodness. God loves us and wants us to hang out with Him, eternally, immortally, forever and beyond time.
27 So God created human beings[a] in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
But there’s a problem. Sin, the essence of which leads to and causes death, entered in to God’s picture through a bad decision man made. Humankind became sinful in nature, and therefore bound by the law of death. This separated us from God.
9 Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”
Because we have a sinful nature, we are ‘hidden’ from God. Though God wants very much to be with us, this ‘sin’ thing has created a rift in the relationship. Unfortunately, this rift is a very real and serious problem. It has made us vulnerable to our very worst enemy – true death, which means being permanently and irrevocably separated from God, who is Life.
Luckily, God came up with a way to solve this problem. We will begin to explore God’s way of bringing us back into ‘right relationship’ with Him next week.
The story I’m referring to can be found in Genesis, Chapters 1,2, & 3 of the Bible. I’ve extracted a couple verses that I think are good ones to help illustrate the essence of this story. I welcome any reference to other verses as we go along on this together. I know there is no perfect way to ‘share the gospel’. This is my humble attempt at putting something together (which will be much better than what I have presently!).
This week, read those chapters of Genesis with ‘sharing the gospel’ with others in mind. Memorize the verses I’ve highlighted if you so choose. Think about what these scriptures and this story mean in the context of our individual lives and the larger context of the behavior of human kind.