The Bible is the main entree, the "steak," and our testimonies are like side dishes. If we lead people to the Word, we'll be leading people to the Lord!
What exactly is the gospel of Jesus Christ? Paul defined it to the church this way:
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
Jesus gave himself for our sins. His death means that we can escape the judgment of God and have life more abundantly now and forever. That is good news!
So, how did the apostles preach that death, burial and resurrection message? For that, let's go to where the gospel was preached.
The New Testament is made up of 27 Books. The first 4 books tell of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. The next book, Acts of the Apostles, is the book of church history and records the actions and preaching of the apostles. The remaining 22 books (Romans through The Revelation) are letters of instruction and encouragement to individual believers and churches who've already heard the gospel.
Acts is the only book that records how the gospel was preached to the lost telling them how to be saved. It's our blueprint for preaching the same repentance and remission of sins message Christ commanded his disciples to preach.
The study of The Gospel is available for download now. It highlights the words of Christ to the apostles, the verses in Acts where the gospel was preached and even how people responded. Please print it out and go through it with a KJV Bible. It's worth your time!
I've always found it important and comforting to go to the Word and show people why I believe what I believe. I'm amazed to see that no matter who preached (Peter, Philip, Paul, or Aquila and Priscilla), where it was preached (Jerusalem, Samaria, Caesura, Philipi, or Rome) or when it was preached, the message was always the same.
In Acts 16, a suicidal man asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Many of us know the short answer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved...” But that's not the whole story. What does it mean to “believe”? Have a look at this verse:
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (James 2:19)
Believing is more than acknowledgment. Even Satan knows God exists. Belief is shown by our actions. James puts it this way, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:18)
That man in Acts took Paul and Silas back to his house where they spake the word of Lord to him and his whole house. Then everyone was baptized in the name of the Lord (Acts 16:23-34) They heard the word, believed the word and were baptized according to the word. That is how we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Using simple Bible studies, I've preached the gospel to dozens of people over the years. People who are hungry for truth will respond accordingly.
A friend asked me once, “How important is baptism?”
Instead of trying to explain it, I simply replied, “Let's see what the Bible says.”
We read a few scriptures together in a Bible study and he saw the answer for himself. Then he asked, “I've got a pool in back. Can I get baptized in there?”
I baptized him in the name of the Lord Jesus just like we read in the Book of Acts. I didn't have to rely on my intellect or gift of gab. I preached the word.
In the final part of this series, let's look at the many ways we can share the gospel with relaxed confidence. You might come to see preaching in a whole new way!
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