Evangelism by J. Mack Stiles includes my favorite definition of evangelism. It's the title of this post. Also in the book he includes an appendix that unpacks the gospel, gives definitions, and lists Scripture to equip you in actually proclaiming the gospel. I've put it here for us:
A GOSPEL EXPLANATION
Our Creator God is holy, just, and loving. We are his people, made in his image. Though we were once in fellowship with God and loved by him, we are now cut off from him. That separation of God and his people started with a rebellion by our ancestors. At root, the rebellion was our choice not to believe God and to attempt to make ourselves God instead. That treasonous rebellion failed, and the judgment was eternal death. Horribly, the sin of rebellion is passed on from generation to generation as a curse: all people inherit both the sin and the judgment. Our sin nature makes it impossible for anyone to earn his way back to God.
But even though we are unable to buy or earn our way out of the curse, God in his love provided a way of escape back to a loving, forgiven relationship with him. The entire Bible prophesies, records, and explains the coming of a Savior to do that: God’s Son, Jesus.
Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, lived on earth as a miracle worker and teacher of God’s ways. He lived a perfect life and became the perfect sacrifice to ransom us from the curse of sin and death. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins through his death on the cross. He rose from the grave, conquering death and proving that what he said was true. Through his death, he purchased the right to offer us forgiveness from sin and the right for any who would turn to him to become children of God.
Anyone who hears this message of good news and responds to Jesus will not be turned away. Jesus calls us to turn from an unbelieving lifestyle and the accompanying sin that ensnares us, and to put our full trust and faith in him alone to rescue us from the curse. So to become a follower of Jesus, we offer our life to him in faith and commit to follow him as Lord for all our days.
Evangelism—Teaching or preaching the gospel with the aim, or intent, to persuade or convert
Gospel—The joyful message from God that leads us to salvation The message from God—The explanation of who God is, the human predicament of sin and lostness, the work of Christ for our salvation, and the response people must make to gain a restored relationship with God; encapsulated in the four parts of the gospel outline: God, Man, Christ, and Response
Sin—A state of rebellion against God characterized by self-centeredness, unbelief
Sins—The symptoms and expressions of (the state of) rebellion and unbelief
Repentance—Turning from a life of unbelief
Conversion—Moving from death to life, guilt to pardon
Belief—Complete trust in and reliance upon God and his saving grace through Christ
SCRIPTURE PASSAGES FOR THE GOSPEL OUTLINE
There are many Scripture verses you should know about. The following verses provide basic facts about God, Man, Christ, and Response, as well as the cost of following Jesus:
- Isaiah 6:1–3. God is holy.
- Colossians 1:16–17; Psalm 8:1–4. God is the Creator.
- John 3:16. God is loving.
- Romans 1:18. God is wrathful toward sin.
- Genesis 1:26–27. We are made in God’s image.
- Romans 3:9–12. We all are sinners.
- Ephesians 2:1–3. We are dead in our transgressions.
- Isaiah 53:6. We are in rebellion against God.
- Isaiah 59:2. We are separated from God.
- Romans 6:23. Death is the penalty for our rebellion.
- John 3:16. Jesus is the way to God.
- Romans 5:6–8. Jesus died for us.
- Romans 6:23. God’s gift of eternal life is through Christ.
- Ephesians 2:4–9. God gives grace to us in Christ.
- Colossians 1:19–23. God reconciles us to himself in Christ.
- 1 Peter 2:22. Christ lived a perfect life.
- 1 Corinthians 15:3–4. Christ rose from the dead.
- John 10:10. Christ came to give life.
- Romans 10:9–11. We must confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts.
- Matthew 4:17; Acts 2:38. We must repent.
- John 8:12. We must follow Jesus.
- John 5:24–25. We must hear Jesus’s word.
- John 1:12. We must believe in Jesus’s name.
- 1 Peter 1:18–19. Christ redeemed us by his blood.
- Ephesians 2:8–9. God saved us by his grace.
- Luke 9:23–24. We must deny ourselves and take up the cross.
Who in your life needs to hear this glorious good news (gospel)?