Last summer our pastor said something random in the middle of a sermon. It was an afterthought, but it grabbed my attention and I found myself scribbling notes on the first piece of paper I pulled out of my purse. What I heard was that we Christians so often focus on our freedom in Christ that the gospel gets glossed over. We need to remember how we received this freedom, and we need to be living our lives in a way that constantly announces the gospel to the world around us, whether our personal sphere is very large or very small.
The Greek word evangelion (gospel) means “good news.” Before the NT was written, the term often referred to news such as the announcement of an emperor’s military victory. In the NT the term refers to the good news of the message proclaimed by Jesus.”Introduction to Biblical Interpretation, 2019.
What came of those scribbles is a little acronym to remind me of the aim of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and how it is that we are to deliver it to those in need. In every way, our lives have been set apart by God to lovingly teach and model this gospel. PES (Peace) stands for Proclaim, Explain, and Sustain.
The first way we share the gospel with others is to proclaim it to those God brings into our path. It may be the only time we meet them, and we are scattering seeds. As the Holy Spirit provides the opportunity and prompts our hearts, we can ask people, “Hey, do you know Jesus?” (or whatever question may be suitable at the time) and then announce the good news. Sometimes strangers will ask questions you never expect. This happened to me recently when I was shopping at Costco.
If you look at religions around the world, there is a central belief that we have to “be good” in order to avoid some type of punishment (hell) and be able to enter heaven. The difference is, the gospel of Jesus is the only message that explains that forgiveness is possible only through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, who loves them more than they can imagine. All of the other religions of the world teach that people have to earn their way to heaven (which isn’t possible). We need to proclaim the gospel to all. If we do not take the opportunities we are given, they may never hear the good news.
“for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!‘” Romans 10:13-15, NIV
The second way we share the gospel with others on an ongoing basis is to explain it. There are those in our lives who are more than a passing encounter where we proclaim the gospel. Some people, like our children, we live with, work with and have relationships with. Many people need to hear the gospel multiple times before they understand it and believe it to be true. I have heard that 7 times is average. I have heard that 13 times is common.
If you are a parent, just remember how many times a child has to sample a new food before they like and accept it on a regular basis, and then you will get an idea of how many times people may need to hear in order for the truth to take root in their hearts. We plant and the Holy Spirit brings it to life. We need to clearly understand how Jesus came to live, die, and be resurrected for us, and be willing to explain it to others. It doesn’t have to be hard. Use the Bible to show them where you are coming from, and if you don’t have the answers to their questions don’t worry. Just tell them you will find out and share with them again. There is time to read, pray or talk with trusted friends who can help us pin down the answers in scripture.
“But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” Luke 21:14, 15 NIV
Sustain means to support, prop up, and confirm. We proclaim the gospel when God opens doors of opportunity with those we meet, we further explain the gospel to those we know and do life with, and we sustain the gospel, proving it through our own changed lives and testimonies. As we are continuously changed by the power of the Holy Spirit, becoming more like Jesus in attitudes and character, people around us are impacted. How we pursue God, respond to challenges, exude God’s joy, and love others freely speaks loudly about the reliability of the message we are announcing. So actively do these things! Pursue God and love Him with all of your heart. Love those around you, bearing with them with patience (Ephesians 4:2). Learn to be able to give thanks in the hard things, believing that they will result in the maturity that grows out of perseverance (James 1). Be full of joy, remembering always the salvation which is yours (1 Peter 1:5,6). All of these things and more are evidence of Jesus in our lives and invite others to know Him for themselves, knowing that He can and will transform their lives as well. This Gospel is the real deal. Someday, someone will tell you how just knowing you or watching you has drawn, blessed, or convicted them. Really!
“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:3-7
Can you explain the Gospel to someone else?
Everyone has sinned. As it is written:“There is no one righteous, not even one;“ Romans 3:10 & verse tells us, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,“
We cannot compare ourselves to others to determine if we are good. Everyone else has sinned too. “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:6
Only God is the perfect measuring stick to compare ourselves too. He is perfect and Holy. “As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30
The consequences of sin is death–separation from God. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
But because of God’s great mercy, and his love for us, He prepared a perfect sacrifice to pay our penalty so that we can be forgiven. He sent his son, Jesus, who was born to a virgin and he lived a sinless life. This is important because if one has sin they cannot become the stand-in to take the penalty for someone else’s sin. They have their own penalty to pay. Only someone who was sinless could do this for us. Jesus was sinless. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
We receive forgiveness and eternal life with God through faith in what Jesus did for us. Trust Jesus for your salvation. He paid the price for our sin with his own blood. Then He was buried, and three days later he was raised back to life. “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:9-9-10 & 13
Through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, we are reconciled to God. Forgiven and brought into peace with Him. This is God’s peace method. “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.“ Romans 10:11 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1
Paul wrote to the Corinthian church:
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” 1 Corinthians 15:4-81 Corinthians 15:4-8
Jesus returned to heaven, but He is coming back soon! He gave his disciples the command to share the good news of salvation to the ends of the world because God does not want anyone to be lost, but desires for them to be saved.
How can you Proclaim, Explain and Sustain the gospel?
It has been shown that music can help our memory. This Newsboys song, We Believe, walks us through the apostle’s creed: what we believe.