Pop Quiz! Get a partner. number yourself either one or two. Number 2: you have forty-five seconds to share the gospel with your neighbor. Go. Ok number 1 - your turn. Go.

Sometimes we get scared of sharing our faith because we are worried, what if I get it mixed up? What if I miss something? Again, start here and keep sharing your faith until it become natural and comfortable. And don’t worry about critics. I live the story that one day a lady criticized D. L. Moody for his methods of evangelism in attempting to win people to the Lord. Moody's reply was "I agree with you. I don't like the way I do it either. Tell me, how do you do it?" The lady replied, "I don't do it." Moody retorted, "Then I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it."

Most modern evangelical presentations of the gospel centre on four points. We’ll go into them a little deeper later, but they are roughly, 1) something of God and his original plan for humanity 2) how every one of us messed it up by turning away from God to death and condemnation 3) what God has done for us in Jesus 4) how to respond to what God has done for us in Jesus. For example, today we’re working off of pastor Bill Hybel’s four points to ponder, the four point outline is not unique to him. Not at all. Tim Keller speaks `of the gospel as having four chapters - roughly the same four points as Hybels. Mark Dever, in his book, “The Gospel and Personal Evangelism”, shares the gospel using four questions and answers. Billy Graham’s famous tract “Steps to Peace With God” has four steps, and of course, who could overlook Power to Change’s Four Spiritual Laws! 

One criticism of the “Four Step” approach is that you don’t ever clearly see the gospel shared this way in the Bible itself. I went back through most of the presentations of the gospel in the book of Acts and nearly all of the gospel presentations were a two-step approach - basically, here’s what God has done in Jesus, and here is the appropriate response. Tim Keller helps us here by clarifying that technically, the gospel is only the third point - the joyful proclamation of what God has done for us in Jesus, but that the other points set a context for the gospel that is so vital in understanding the gospel that we may share them all and call the whole thing the gospel. In Acts, the mostly Jewish audience already understood much of who God is and the consequences of sin, so they only needed to hear the good news about Jesus. As Paul took the gospel to the Romans however, he spoke to them more about the nature of God and the reality of sin, and so, in our context, a four-point gospel makes sense. 

So four points, easy to memorize, easy to share. Like I said, we’re going to follow Hybel’s outline, but you’re going to get a bunch of my personality as well. I’ll also share with you some of my favorite illustrations to use. You may have your own. Here’s the point - start here and keep sharing your faith until it become natural and comfortable. So here we go - the four points. Take fingers and make guns - gospel guns. cross pointers. There you have it, God, Us, Jesus, Me.

Hybel’s outline is very easy to remember. Four words. God, Us, Jesus, You. Expanded: God loves us, We blew it, Jesus paid for it, You must Receive Him. Now remember, the first two points just set the context for the gospel, so I think they are fairly interchangeable. Sometimes, you might want to lead with God - what’s God’s like, why did he make us, what does he expect from us, and then lead to how we’ve sinned and rebelled against him. Other times, it might be more natural to start with point two - why is this world so messed up? Do you think you’re a good person? How do you know? What if you’re not? and then move into speaking of God and his holiness and love. The popular method of gospel sharing called Way of the Master starts with challenging people’s supposed goodness before moving on to God.  So start with either. 

  1. God. God Loves Us. 
    1. God is Loving: The unique revelation of God in the Bible is that God is Love. This is not assumed in many other world religions. Hybel’s starts with this, though I find that most people in our culture assume this, yet misunderstand it because we are narcissists. Of course God loves me, I’m me! Yet there are two times I stress this one - I’m talking to someone who is broken and hurting, and needs to know that God loves them, or I’m talking to someone from an Islamic background, because it knid of freaks them out in a good way when we speak of God as loving.
    2. God is Holy: A harder pill to swallow is that God is holy - perfect, cannot look on or be in the presence of sin. Absolutely pure and separate from anything impure. He is perfect light, in whom there is no darkness or even shadow of turning. 
    3. God is Just: This is perhaps the most important thing that we need to set up in our cultural context - that God is not only loving and holy, but that he is just and rightly must punish and separate from himself any evil that violates the moral fabric He has built into the universe. 
    4. Ill: Our longing for justice. This brings us to our first illustration - our longing for justice. When someone does wrong to us, we want justice. You can see it in children, give one a bigger slice of cake, and the others scream, “That’s not fair!” We see it in ourselves when we are wronged, we want sue or have some recompense and for the person to be punished. When someone violates us, our relativistic notions of morality that we keep for ourselves get pushed out of the window. Among this younger generation there is a profound contradiction - this generation is marked for a zeal for social justice, and a relativistic morality that would insinuate that their is no such thing. Every time you complain or protest about something - check yourself, isn’t your complaint a cry out for justice? We want justice, we just don’t want it for ourselves.
  2. Us. We Blew It
    1. We sinned and become evil. We separated ourselves from God and are to be condemned to hell. We are enslaved to sin: helpless to initiate any action to change or save ourselves. The basic idea is that we have to have a sense of the bad news before we can understand and appreciate the good news. Now this may need a great deal of explanation in our culture because we don’t have a good working understanding of sin and consequences in our culture. Last week that’s where I shared that telling your story can put flesh and blood on weighty terms like sin and guilt. One vital idea is that they must understand not only that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” but that they have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Obviously it is a work of the Holy Spirit to convict the heart, but one helpful way to reveal the heart is from Ray Comfort’s Way of the Master. He uses the acronym WDJD - what did Jesus do - referring to the fact that Jesus was masterful at revealing the sinful condition of the hearts of the people he spoke to.
      1. W - Would you consider yourself a good person?
      2. D - Do you know any of the 10 commandments? Have you ever broken any of them?
      3. J - If God were to judge you on the basis of His moral law, would you be innocent or guilty?
      4. D - Destiny. Where do you think you’d end up?
    2. Illustration: Parking tickets. Our inability to save ourselves. Let’s say you accumulated many parking tickets over the years a couple of hundreds of dollars in fines, and you just never bothered to pay them. You didn’t think they were a big deal. Finally you are brought in to court and you still don’t think it is a big deal, I’ll just pay back the tickets now, you say. But now, because of your neglect, the problem is that the charges have become criminal and instead of a couple of hundred dollars in fines, you are fined 45,000 dollars. You can’t pay it back. So you plead, I’m sorry judge. Here, I’ll make a deal with you. I’m actually a good person. If you wave the fine, I’ll just try harder not to park illegally again. The judge says, that’s great, but you still have to pay the fine.
    3. The more religious a person is, the more self-assured, the more you need to press this point. Some are not ready, and you can tell and telling them the gospel at this part might do more harm than good, because if God’s not breaking their heart over their sin, then of what use it it to share with them that Jesus saves. That can lead to false conversions because Jesus just becomes a badge to justify their self-righteousness. On the other hand the more broken, the more despairing over sin, people are, the less you may have to emphasize this point, because they know that their sin brings death. Give grace to the humble, chop down the proud.
  3. Christ: Christ paid for it. easy way to remember: Christmas, Good Friday and Easter.
    1. Christmas: Christ was God and man and therefore uniquely able to solve our dilemma.
    2. Good Friday: Christ died in our place as a substitute; expressed the love of God, upheld the holiness of God and satisfied the judgement of God.
      1. Ill: Forgiveness Costs: You break my car. If I am to forgive you, I must pay instead of forcing you to pay.
    3. Easter: The Spirit Gives Life Again. God raised Jesus from the dead to show that he holds the keys to life. He ascended into heaven and will return for those who await his coming. The Bible says that the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is now at work in all who believe.
      1. Ill: The Judges Dilemma. A judge sees his own son. He must pronounce his son guilty, yet as a father he can pay the fine himself.
  4. You: I must receive Him
    1. Each must receive the forgiveness and leadership of Christ personally. Now here is where we tend to lose it. How do the five-points of Calvinism fit in? Can I press them to believe if I don’t know if they are elect? Should I tell them to receive the Lord, or repent, or believe?
      1. It is biblical to press for response. In the book of Acts, every time the gospel was presented the hearers were pressed for response.
      2. Receive, believe and repent are all biblical words.
      3. Don’t press for superficial response. Use discernment to wait for the heart to cry out, what must I do to be saved?
        1. Repent (turn from sinful life), Return (to God), Receive (Jesus’s new life)
        2. ABC: Admit you are a sinner, Believe in the Lord Jesus, Confess Him as Lord.
        3. I can’t, You can, Please do.
    2. Ill: Two religions: Do verses Done:

Illustration: The Bridge