by Chris Repp
In my sermon on being salt and light in the world, I mentioned that one practical tool for helping us to share the gospel with our friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and classmates is the Multi-Faceted Gospel chart. This blog post will attempt to explain why it is so helpful and how to use it as a devotional and relational tool for sharing about Jesus.
In a sermon series and blog post Tim introduced the Multi-faceted Gospel. In summary, beyond being a one-dimensional message, the gospel has many facets that all teach us more deeply about Christ’s work. For example, someone might say the gospel is just about Jesus forgiving my sins. Which is gloriously true! Yet there is so much more. The Bible also teaches that the gospel is about our justification, regeneration, reconciliation, adoption, redemption, and sanctification. It is a deep fount of insight for us to explore the gospel more.
So, what I hope to give you in this blog is three practical steps to going deeper into the gospel personally, so you feel more confident to share the gospel with others. Here’s how:
- Understanding the gospel- Pick one of the six gospel concepts in the chart as your devotional focus for a week.
- Translating the gospel- Study the chart that goes along with the sermon series and blog post; read the related scriptures all week with a goal of writing your own vernacular definition of the theological concept.
- Sharing the gospel- Pray, watch and listen for the opportunity to share that gospel concept with a friend, family member, neighbor, co-worker, or classmate.
Let’s get more specific with each of these steps.
Step 1: Develop a devotional understanding of one of the Multifaceted Gospel concepts
The first step toward being salt and light for others is having the gospel deep in our own hearts. So, let’s start by picking one of the six theological concepts as the focus for a week or even two weeks of your devotional time. Read the three biblical references. Meditate on them throughout the day. Use the information in the other columns to deepen your reflection.
For example, the “Identity of God” column helps us connect the theological concept with a part of God’s character. Specifically, justification helps us see that God is both merciful and judge. How has his mercy shaped your life? How does knowing he is our judge, and the judge of all the world, affect your life?
See why I say spend a week or two on each concept? There is a wealth of theological and personal reflection available to take you deeper in each aspect of the gospel. And as you go deeper in what Christ’s work on the cross has done for you, you will be more open and prepared to share that insight with others!
Step 2: Translate that theological concept into your own words and story
C.S. Lewis says that the best way to know a gospel truth is to translate it from “Christianese” into the vernacular, or common language. So, the second step in this process, and the goal of your devotional time with each theological concept is to translate each one into the language and story of your own life. I suggest by the end of your devotional week (or two), you actually write out a definition and personal story about each concept.
For example, the gospel concept of Justification. As I read the scriptures and reflected on the gospel in justification, I’m reminded of the weight I carried as a 19-year-old kid in college. How I sought happiness in all kinds of stuff outside of God; how I was aimless and lost; how I simultaneously tried to carry the burdens of my sin and ignore them. Then, God opened my eyes… first to my guilt and disobedience but then to the fact that God, my judge, could take my sins and nail them to the cross with Jesus. In that little church in New Freedom in the spring of 1995, God justified me, canceling the record of my debt with its legal demands (Col. 2:14). Overwhelmed by grace, I wept; I felt forgiven and deeply loved like never before. God’s justifying love changed everything for me.
That kind of personalizing of all the theological truths of the Multifaceted Gospel prepares us to genuinely and effectively take the gospel to others.
Step 3: Pray and look for an opportunity to share that gospel concept with someone else!
As God is deepening and reminding you how personal and powerful each of these concepts, He is also preparing you to share them with others. So be praying and thinking of friends and family members, neighbors, co-workers and classmates with whom you can share these life changing truths.
One way to ‘practice’ for the opportunity to share is to imagine a conversation with one of these specific people in your life. Knowing them, the way they talk and think and what is important to them, how would you translate one of the specific Multifaceted gospel concepts specifically to them?
For example, sanctification is a powerful, yet often misunderstood gospel concept. I was talking with someone I love recently, who is not following Jesus. They want to live a good life, become a better person, strive to be the best they can be. So, their specific concern is that grace seems too easy. Just get your sins forgiven and you don’t have to try anymore? It feels like a free pass to them. I was able to point to the book of James. How faith without works is dead. God helped me to explain to them that far from being a free pass, when Christ freely saves us, we MUST show a changed life over time. Not change as the root of our salvation, but change as its fruit.
I don’t know that my loved one will be saved from that one conversation. But it was a piece in the puzzle of the glorious work of Christ for them. Now the faith/works dynamic is a little more clear, and when God does open their eyes, as I have been praying, he will have used that part of the Multi-faceted gospel to prepare the soil. Praise God!
So, as you study and pray and deepen your own understanding of the gospel, also be thinking of how God will use you to share some specific aspect of that gospel with someone else. Because you have been using these concepts for personal devotions and practicing translating the concepts, you are prepared… It’s still scary sharing, but also deeply rewarding. God blesses our efforts, NOT the results, and as you share him, you will feel his pleasure.
In conclusion, this is not a formula. It’s first a path to devotional intimacy with Christ, and then a way to be relationally genuine and specific with people, sharing the truth of the gospel as their best and only hope. We would love to hear how God uses this for you and pray together for a harvest. So please reach out to us with thoughts or questions or stories of how God uses it in your life!
Chris Repp is an elder at Living Hope Church. He and his wife, Becky, have three children.