Do you speak gospel?
What, you mean like, do I speak French?
Well, yeah, kinda like that. Speaking the gospel does have some similarities to speaking a language.
Speaking the gospel has to do with communicating with others in terms of the good news of God’s work through Jesus on our behalf. It has to do with pushing everything you say through the grid of the gospel. It means the good news of Jesus is so pervasive and saturating in your life, that it infuses your normal daily conversation very naturally. Believers must become much more fluent in speaking the gospel to ourselves, one another, and to the world.
So, here are several ways that we can speak the gospel…
Laying out the complete message of salvation. Typically, this is what is referred to as sharing or presenting the gospel. It entails making the case of our sinfulness, our need for a savior, what God did through Jesus, and then inviting the person to respond. This is how many believers were trained to speak the gospel, or witness, win souls, evangelize, or other such related terminology. And, in some circles, this method is perceived as the only real way to share the gospel. A pitfall is that many believers experience guilt, because they feel inadequate to share the gospel this way, so they leave it to the “professionals.” Thankfully, this is not the only way to speak the gospel.
Giving counsel and correction to a fellow believer. Many are under the impression that the gospel is primarily or only for conversion of unbelievers to faith in Jesus. The gospel is for believers, too. For some reason, we think the gospel has more to do with our eternal destination than with our temporal situation. We never move past our need for the good news being applied to our lives on a daily basis. When a fellow believer is describing a problem they’re dealing with, you need to be able to apply the gospel, not give them advice or your opinion, concerning the issue. If a fellow believer is complaining or griping about something, you can lovingly confront them with the gospel, by reminding them that Jesus is sufficient to handle it, and that they need to look to Jesus rather than the source of their complaint for right belief and behavior.
Giving God credit. When people compliment you or applaud your behavior, it’s so easy to just take the credit. You say something like, “Well, that’s just how I was raised,” or “I just think people should be nice and do what’s right.” Instead, deflect the praise and applause and point to God and his grace as the sole reason you did what you did. If someone compliments you on your generous spirit in helping someone else, you could say something like, “Look, God has been so generous to me in giving me forgiveness and providing so amazingly for my every need, I just want to share that generosity with others.” Simple, no fuss, God gets the credit, and you’ve spoken gospel truth into an opportunity.
Giving an explanation for why you behave the way you do or respond the way you do. When people ask you how you can react the way you do to adverse or challenging circumstances, you need to instinctively point to Jesus. This is being ready with an answer when someone asks you for the reason for your hope. You speak the gospel by explaining how Jesus has changed your heart or mind about things. You speak the gospel by clarifying that your hope, trust, and dependence are centered in Jesus.
Preaching the gospel to yourself. You need to be able to remind yourself of the truth of the good news daily. When you hit an obstacle in your day and you react in the flesh, you must be able to stop and say to yourself, “Now hold on. What am I not believing about the gospel in this moment? What truth about God am I forgetting or refusing to acknowledge right now? What is true about me because of Jesus, and I’m failing to live up to that truth right now?” The Holy Spirit is so faithful to call you out when you react in a way that is not in line with the gospel. You have to be postured so you can readily hear the Spirit, repent of wrong responses, and then believe gospel truth afresh.
Every opportunity to speak the gospel is not going to be a full blown presentation leading to an invitation to follow Jesus. Because we’ve been programmed to present the gospel this way, we can easily overlook all the other opportunities to speak the gospel. The chance to fully present the gospel in a long conversation comes along only every once in awhile. But those other opportunities are popping up every single day!
So learn to speak the gospel into every situation. If you are faithful to do this, it can more easily lead to a longer conversation about the good news of Jesus.