Applying the Gospel to different life situations
A recent revelation that God has been showing me is that the Bible is saturated from beginning to end in the Gospel presentation. Jesus is first promised after the Fall of Adam and Eve when God talks about an offspring of Eve bruising the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15, Romans 16:20).
In the story of Ruth, the Gospel is clearly shown as Boaz is Ruth’s redeemer. I love that Ruth simply had to come to Boaz’s feet and allow him to take care of her, as we must come to Jesus’ feet. At the same time, Ruth had to be patient for Boaz to bring justice to her and fulfill her redemption as we do with Christ (Ruth 3).
Nehemiah also presents a taste of the Gospel. Like the broken city that needed to be rebuilt, our lives are able to be rebuilt through Jesus. There are more stories throughout the Old Testament that reveal God’s plan to restore His people, but I want to focus on how Jesus taught about the restoration that was to come through Him.
I have heard parables described as Jesus using earthly teachings to relate heavenly realities to simple people. Each parable clearly reveals the Gospel to those who have the ears to hear and the eyes to see.
Parables such as the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), or the wise and foolish builders (Matthew 7:24-27, or the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), or the wedding feast (Matthew 22:1-14), or the two debtors (Luke 7:41-43) were used to reveal God’s ultimate plan for salvation through His Son. Even different events that are recorded in Scripture show us how Jesus spoke to everyday people to offer them salvation, such as the woman at the well.
Jesus spoke to tax collectors, sick people, Pharisees, rulers, prostitutes, beggars, widows and children. Each time He taught, He shared the same message of redemption, but He did not use the same “script” each time.
So why do we, as evangelical Christians, often times find ourselves reciting memorized scripts to reach out to the lost? How does a script about a builder relate to a mother or teacher or child who knows very little about construction? Likewise, how does a script about a tragic accident connect with someone of another religion?
When sharing your faith and the story found in the Gospel becomes a repetitive, non-relatable script, take time to re-evaluate how Christ interacted with the world around Him. Look over how He shared His purpose with people who were living in different life situations.
Here are a few tips:
1. People are relational and differentiate. Remember that each person is unique, and they have their own thoughts and experiences. Find a way to connect with those you are speaking with. Marketers do this in order to find common ground to build positive attitudes toward a product or brand. If you can find something that you have in common with whoever you are talking with, you will.
2. Listen to them. People like to know they are important enough to have someone listen to them. What are they telling you that they are going through? Are they alone and need a friend? Are they looking for something to satisfy an unending thirst? How did Jesus address similar issues through His teachings? What experiences have you experienced that relate to what they are going through and feeling?
3. Be Personal. Share your own experiences (you can discern how much or how little to reveal about your past). Share about how God has revealed Himself to you through those times. People may not believe you or listen when you quote Scripture, but they cannot doubt your personal, real-life experiences. Salt your story with the Gospel and feed them Truth.
4. Be Prepared. Do you know God’s Word? Be ready to use Truth to relate from earthly issues to heavenly realities as Jesus did in His teachings. Dig into Jesus’ life, the parables He told and the people He talked with to learn how He was able to relate to the lost world around Him.
Break away from a memorized script and allow your words to be Holy Spirit-led as you share the Gospel with those around you.