What do you mean when you say, “I am sharing the Gospel?” Most Christians, would respond with several things, which one must believe and do. Common examples of this understanding can be found in such Gospel presentations as the Four Spiritual Laws, Steps to Peace with God, The Bridge to Life, and The Roman Road. Those working cross-culturally will talk of using the Camel Method, or Evangelism Explosion or Disciple-making Movements (DMM) or Church Planting Movements (CPMs).
These are all good and helpful, but I have a problem. I would like to share the Gospel in the same way that Jesus did. I believe that He gave us a pattern to follow. It is my belief that one of the reasons we have four Gospels in order is so that we can look at the pattern of Jesus’ teaching and life from four different perspectives. So, what’s my problem? Just this: Jesus never shared the Gospel in a way that even remotely resembles any method I have been taught.
Jesus never presented a three-, five-, or seven-part plan to anyone. He never set any guidelines or rules to follow. Plus, neither He nor His disciples ever led anyone in a prayer to invite Him into their hearts. The contrast between our evangelistic methods and that of Christ and His apostles is striking. Because this contrast is so striking it may have never even occurred to us that we have no Biblical model to justify our evangelistic practices. Whether we have noticed it before or not, contemporary Evangelical evangelistic methods are not Biblically based but culturally based and consequently less effective than Christ’s own methods.
Biblically, the Gospel is a person, not a set of propositional truths. That is why Christ does not preach the Gospel as we preach it. He is the Gospel. Over and over again in the Bible, the good news is called “the good news of Christ” or “the good news about Christ,” not just “the good news of truths about Christ,” but the “good news of Christ Himself.”
Christ’s great work was to call men to Himself. Consider what Jesus said about Himself:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
If you want to be perfect…Then come, follow me. (Matthew 19:21)
If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink. (Mark 1:17)
If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. (John 4:10)
Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. (John 6:27)
The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent. (John 6:29)
I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)
Come, follow me. (John 7:37)
I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life. (John 8:12)
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9-10)
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. (John 11:25-26)
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3)
We can spend a large portion of our time confronting people with ideas about Christ or even the ideas of Christ without bringing them face to face with our Lord Jesus Himself. “He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel.” (Psalm 103:7) The Israelites knew about God – Moses knew God Himself. I am afraid we have too often been preaching about true things, things which may be important, but we have failed to present Christ Himself. Our work is often made complex because we are trying to proclaim and defend truth instead of introducing men to Him who is the truth.