Four Basic Facts of the Gospel
by Gil Rugh
It is of utmost importance that every believer be able to clearly and concisely present the gospel to an unbeliever. I think we often assume that people who have been believers for a while can present the facts of salvation, but that is not always the case.
I am impressed that when Paul, who was in prison for his preaching of the gospel, asked other believers to pray for him, he asked that he might proclaim the gospel with clarity and boldness (see Ephesians 6:19). Paul was one of the greatest evangelists of all time, and yet he desired to present the gospel even more effectively. This should remind us that presenting the gospel is never easy. We can be deluded into thinking that because the basic facts of the gospel are simple it is easy to communicate them to the lost. That is not so. Otherwise, Paul, who suffered so much for the gospel, would not have had to ask for boldness and the ability to preach the gospel clearly.
Probably the single greatest help to me in my own personal witnessing has been to learn a particular pattern of presenting the gospel. After I mastered the basic presentation, I could vary it from time to time and still know where I wanted to pick up a conversation, where I wanted to take it, and how I was going to get there.
The gospel is simple. A little child could learn and present the facts of the gospel. But if you have been a believer for any length of time, you are undoubtedly aware that presenting the gospel with clarity and simplicity is a great struggle. We pray for open doors and for boldness to present the truth, but we have to be ready to take advantage of the opportunities when they arise.
There are many different types of gospel presentations, but four things must be included in any presentation. To be saved, a person must know and believe these four basic facts:
Man is a sinner.
“There is none righteous, not even one” (Rom. 3:10).
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
The penalty for sin is death.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12).
“For the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).
Christ came and paid the penalty for sin.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
It is by believing in Christ that we experience His forgiveness.
“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Rom. 10:9,10).
These are not the only verses you can use, of course, but it can be helpful to keep the references all in one section of the Bible. Remember, the goal in presenting the gospel is not to impress people with what a great Bible scholar you are or to wow them with all the verses you have memorized. It is to help them understand clearly what God says about their condition and His salvation.
You have the verses. You have the points. Challenge yourself to work on it this week. Every day, sit down and practice sharing the gospel. Try to get some time alone and go over it out loud. It might sound strange coming out of your mouth at first, but soon it will feel as normal as saying, “Oh, I see the sun is shining today.” Practice, practice, practice. Then you can pray for open doors and for boldness to share, because you have something to share.