How to Share the Gospel With Twenty Biblical Events

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Yesterday as part of a blog post on Telling the Gospel as a Story I referred to an evangelistic tool which I have found very useful in sharing Christ with individuals who don’t have a foundation of Biblical Truth.

This curriculum is called The Story of Hope, and published by Good Soil an evangelism and discipleship program of ABWE (Association of Baptists for World Evangelism). What makes this material unique is it’s centered on sharing the Gospel using forty major events of Scripture (twenty in Old and New Testament).

My favorite resource they offer is a set of cards that on the front has a picture of that specific event, and on the back gives information about how it fits into the Gospel Story.

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These same events (and pictures) are also offered in other formats such as a condensed version of the material that shares twenty events, Power Point Slides, or discipleship material for new Believers.

There is a huge need for material like The Story of Hope since in many cases we have to start with page one of the Bible when sharing Christ. Unfortunately we live in a culture were foundational truths are overlooked such as:

  1. God exists, and created everything include man
  2. Mankind lived in perfection and was given the choice between obeying God and rejecting Him
  3. All sin, suffering, and death came as a result of man refusing to obey God
  4. Along with that curse God promised to send a deliverer who would Redeem mankind from their sin
  5. The rest of Scripture is a cycle of man sinning against God, the Lord judging their sin, and then providing a way that would redeem them from that punishment (a picture of Christ)

When you link the Old Testament (particularly the promise of a Redeemer) to Christ’s incarnation and death, it becomes clear the Gospel was part of God’s plan from the very beginning.

There is always going to be a need for new material that can help Believers share the Gospel in a confident way, thankfully ABWE offers tools that help us do that without overlooking foundational truths.

The Gospel as a Story Part One

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One huge challenge to sharing the Gospel in todays culture is people lack a foundation of Biblical Truth. So instead of starting with the Book of Romans (their need of Christ) its necessary to start with page one of the Bible (there is a God).

One of the best ways to do this is telling the Gospel as a story because it allows us to focus on the major themes of Scripture which are

The Holiness of God (marked in Gold)
The Sinfulness of Man (marked in Blue)
And the coming Redeemer Jesus Christ (marked in red)

As a framework I use The Story of Hope evangelism material published by ABWE which uses major events in Scripture to explain the Gospel.

I particularly love the full color cards that they offer covering each event that can easily be used to share Christ, or small booklets that are easier to carry.

In part one of this series I will go from creation, to Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac. I pray it can encourage us all to tell the story of the Gospel beginning in Genesis 1:1.

1. God who existed in the beginning created the Heavens and the Earth

2. God Created Adam and Eve, and after putting them in the Garden of Eden, they are commanded not to eat the fruit from one tree.

3. An Angel of God rebelled against Him and tried to take His place. God responded by throwing him out of Heaven, and since that time Satan has tempted us to rebel.

4. Adam and Eve choose to eat the fruit and take the place of God instead of obeying Him

5. Because Adam and Eve sinned against God they felt shame and separation from Him for the first time

6. God promised a man would come and redeem all of us from our sins by crushing the head of Satan

7. Until the promised Redeemer arrived, Adam and Eve temporarily covered their sins with the blood of animal sacrifices.

8. They are forced to leave the Garden of Eden because of their sin. Since that time our sins have created a wall of separation between us and God

9. Instead of obeying God mankind became worse and worse so He warned them of a coming flood that would kill everyone

10. God called Noah to build an ark that would protect people from the flood, this is a picture of the coming Redeemer

11. God called a man named Abraham to leave his family and travel to a place were the Lord would make him a great nation.

12. God later asked Abraham to sacrifice his firstborn son Isaac, Abraham was about to do this when God provided a Ram to be sacrificed in his place

Come back on Saturday to read The Gospel as A Story Part Two.

The Road to Redemption Part Three: Redemption from Shame (Genesis 3:7-8)

ResurrectionLast month I started writing a series of posts entitled The Road To Redemption that look at the Gospels story (our sin and God sending Christ redeem us) through all of Scripture.  This is necessary since we live in a culture that  no longer has a foundation of Christian Truth, so instead of starting to share the Gospel with John 3:16, we must begin with Genesis 1:1.

Part One of of this series looked at the fact that Scripture doesn’t try to prove the existence of God while Part Two focused on the Rebellion of Satan, and our core problem (the desire to be God).  Today’s post is about the first sin Adam and Eve committed, and how it creates a cycle of sinful actions to this day.

 7 And the eyes of them both were opened , and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed figleaves together , and made themselves aprons, 

 8 And they heard the voice of the LORD Godwalking in the garden in the coollof the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from thepresence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

The moment Adam and Eve ate the fruit their sin nature took control, which resulted in Adam giving up the leadership role in the relationship (Genesis 3:9-10), their blaming one another and the snake instead of taking responsibility (3:11-13), being cursed by God (3:16-19), and separation from the Lord (3:21-24).  It is interesting  to notice the first thing Adam and Eve did after realizing their sinfulness was to hide themselves.

Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves (3:7)  and hid from God because for the first time in their lives they were ashamed of their nakedness.  One of Satan’s favorite weapons is shame because it almost always leads to our covering the problem ourselves instead of turning to God or others for help.  Of course the moment you or I decide to hide a humiliating or embarrassing part of our lives we take the place of God (controlling the situation) and that is sin.

It’s amazing the amount of sin that comes into our lives as we attempt to cover up a weakness or sin.  As a college student I developed the habit of lying to cover up embarrassing things like forgetting an appointment, or a bounced check.  As you can imagine telling a lie became a response to other things (I became very good at it) and eventually I became a compulsive liar.

Thankfully the Lord gave me the strength to break that habit, but other responses were embraced instead; such as never asking for help from anyone ever…..and I do mean EVER since that allows me to hide the shameful or embarrassing part of my life.  I jokingly tell people that I will ask for help only if someone is beating me to death with my own arm (after ripping it off my body).  Okay so there is a slight amount of sarcasm there 🙂 but most of us are unwilling to share that ugly part of our lives till it’s absolutely necessary.

Shame does bring us to sin which is why some individuals choose to share that embarrassing part of their lives openly.  There is a sense where vulnerability (a willingness to share our shame with others) is a good thing, but this doesn’t mean we should go around telling everyone our deep dark secrets in my opinion.  This may make us feel better but it isn’t really a Redemption from our shame, and can actually make things worse.  My favorite book of all time is When Man is Big and God is Small by Dr. Ed Welch.  In it he explains that we are addicted to the approval of others to the point where people MUST love us in order for our lives to feel fulfilled.  Over-sharing shame will lead to the sympathy and encouragement of others (definitely a good thing) but we can also create an addiction to the feeling that comes when others encourage us.

So how are we Redeemed from shame?  Simply understand how ridiculous it is to hide from a God who sees everything.  The Lord obviously saw Adam and Eve trying to hide behind a bush, but He asked where they where, and why they were hiding so they would have an opportunity to share their shame.  In this situation Adam and Eve should have confessed the sin of eating from the tree, and ask God for help with the emotions in their heart.  Unfortunately they used this an opportunity to blame one another, but the Lord still desires each one of us to confess our shame.

This involves taking away whatever we have covered that embarrassing experience, sin, or habit with and allowing God to see that in all it’s painful Glory.  The good news is God will take away that shame through the death of Christ but He still waits for us to confess it.  Shame unfortunately is a part of life but it can be used to display in a clear way the Gospel of Christ as we admit the fact we aren’t God, and turn to Him for healing.

The Road to Redemption Part Two: You Want To Be God

iStock_000004636989XSmallLast week I began writing devotionals on Biblical events that from Genesis to Revelation point to our need of a Savior, and the Redemption we have in Jesus Christ.  Part one focused on God’s being our creator and the fact that Scripture doesn’t try to explain or prove His existence, God’s being eternal is simply accepted as fact.   This morning I will look at the core problem that mankind struggles with since the beginning of creation.

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

The Bible doesn’t tell us a lot about Lucifer or the Devil before being thrown out of Heaven other than he was an Angel of God (II Corinthians 11:14) and eventually decided to rebel against God (Isaiah 14:12-15) with one-third of the Angels.  After being defeated Satan tempted Adam and Eve to sin (Genesis 3) and since that time has focused his energy on keeping Christians from growing spiritually (1 Peter 5:8).  Thankfully Christ broke the power of sin over us when he rose from the dead (Colossians 2:13-15), and we await the day when Satan and his demons will experience eternal judgment (Matthew 25:41).

Even though we don’t know a lot the specifics, this failed attempt of rebellion against God teaches us two very important truths that clearly show our need for Christ’s redemption

1.  You Want To Be God

Think for a moment about the fact that Satan was in Heaven where things are completely perfect.  There would be no pain, suffering, death, or sorrow as he lived every moment in the presence of God; yet he gave all that up for the opportunity to take control.  One reason for this is we are given free-will or the opportunity to make our own choices (whether they are good or bad) because the Lord want’s a true relationship with us.  But the deeper reason for this choice is deep down Satan just like all of us wanted to become God.

Now of course it’s impossible for us to literally become God because as created beings we aren’t eternal, the idea here is we desire to be the one in control.  Because God has always existed and created us this gives Him the place or authority in our lives, and from the time of birth we want to take that place of authority for ourselves.

The interesting thing is God allows us to rebel against Him and take control of our own lives just like He allowed Satan to lead a rebellion in Heaven.  But this brings us to the second truth.

2.  Your Rebellion Will Fail

There may be moments of happiness as we take the place of authority in our own lives.  But just like Satan was cast out of Heaven with his demons condemned to failure (Genesis 3:14-15) and punishment (Revelation 20:1-10) There will be consequences if we give into that desire in our hearts to become God.  The Devil will tell us that we can do a much better job at being God than the Lord Himself (more about that next Friday) but he always conveniently forgets to tell us about our certain failure and punishment.

So what does Satan’s failed rebellion and being expelled from Heaven teach us as Christians?  First we must remember there is a constant battle in our hearts between the Holy Spirit and our Sinful Nature that want’s to have control.  This fact should lead us to a closer relationship with God through prayer, Bible reading, and walking in submission to His Will daily.  It’s also helpful to remember though all of us feel we could do a great job at being God, we are actually a very poor substitute.

The Road to Redemption Part One: God Exists

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One of the greatest challenges with Missions and reaching the unsaved is we must find a new starting point.  In the past it was possible to begin with our need of Salvation (Romans 3:23) and Christ coming to earth in order to save us from our sins (John 3:16) but as the culture becomes less Christian, fewer individuals have a solid foundation of Biblical Truth.  This means Believers will need to begin with Genesis 1:1 (there is a God) and work their way from there.

This creates a challenge since it’s very hard to cover such a huge amount of information (Genesis to Revelation) in way that keeps the attention of others and is also faithful to God’s Truth.  A few months ago I took part in a workshop  introducing material that could be used to cover the entire Bible by focusing on fifty events in Scripture.  This material (which can be found at http://www.goodsoil.com) is ideal for not only sharing the Gospel using pictures that illustrate each event but also offers discipleship curriculum that digs deeper into the different events.

Last week at Merriwood Christian Camp I spoke nine times and gave a very quick overview of the major events found in the Good Soil material, but wanted to go over each event in a way that did it justice.  So starting today every Friday will be spent describing one event in our road to redemption…beginning with the fact that God Exists

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth

Here is how Good Soil describes this event “In its opening statement, the Bible addresses the most basic issue of human existence by declaring that something or someone has always existed as God.”  What’s interesting is the Bible does not give any arguments for the existence of God, or try to prove it.  Instead Scripture opens with the assumption that God simply exists because it’s reasonable to believe that something or someone always existed.

Everyone no matter what religion or cultural background would believe that something or someone has always existed, and created us.  Their idea of God may be very different from ours, but we all realize there is something or someone who is greater than we are.  That understanding of a higher power or creator is the reason why we can assume God exists instead of trying to prove it…the unsaved already know in their hearts.

I find myself many times trying to “prove” the existence of God when talking with unbelievers instead of just assuming it is true.  While giving some basic arguments to illustrate God’s existence is reasonable can be helpful, that’s also dangerous because it can become about ourselves (I in my human wisdom will prove to you that God’s real) instead of focusing on the Truth of Scripture.

I have a Christian friend who along with me loves to have a good-natured argument about things…we used to meet for coffee and have hour-long conversations about controversial subjects only to find at the end it had accomplished absolutely nothing.  Sure we had fun, but the hour had been wasted because the conversation just kept going in circles.  That’s what it’s like when we focus on proving the existence of God….you may have offered more proofs or torn down their arguments…but in the end it accomplished very little.

So how do we share the first step in God’s Road to Redemption?  Focus on just sharing what Scripture says; that God has truly existed for all time and will for all eternity (Psalm 90:2).  When tempted to prove He is real use Bible verses or the fact that creation itself points to God.  But don’t allow yourself to get pulled into the cycle of arguing back and forth, instead let the Holy Spirit do the convicting, He is a lot better at it anyways.