Three Gospel-driven Conversations: going deeper with the gospel
There are three gospel-driven conversations in which each follower of Jesus should become proficient. These three gospel-driven conversations involve three different directions: upward between ourselves and God, inward between ourselves and other believers, and outward between ourselves and those who do not yet believe in God.
The first of these gospel-driven conversations is upward – our relationship with God is deepened as we rehearse the gospel personally and privately on a daily basis. We “preach” the gospel to ourselves every day as we humbly come before the Lord seeking his wisdom, rule, and blessing for the day. Set apart time each morning to spend in God’s word and in prayer. When you first rise out of bed, remind yourself of your position before God in Christ, “God has lavished me with his love and called me his child.” Or, “This is how much God loves me: while I was still a sinner Christ died for me.” Or, “Though I may face many trials today nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus.”
The second gospel-driven conversation is directed inward – the body of Christ is edified as we rehearse the gospel with other followers of Jesus. We share the gospel with other believers, starting with those closest to us. This means developing the habit of daily family worship or devotions. While dinner is cooking or after the evening meal is finished, spend time reading God’s word together as a couple or family. Leave time for questions and perhaps a brief time of instruction. Use a devotional book if desired. If you know your family will not be together for the evening meal, as often happens when your children are in high school, plan time around the breakfast table for a brief devotional and prayer time. Don’t overdo it or overthink it. Keep it simple and keep it gospel-driven.
Rehearsing the gospel with other believers is not limited to your family. There will be multiple opportunities throughout the week to share with other believers the truths you are learning from God’s word or the things he has been teaching you and showing you in life. One morning I encountered a member of the church on the sidewalk outside a local business, and I asked him what we all ask when we see each other, “How are you doing?” Instead of the pat answers of “Great” or “Good,” he said, “I don’t know how I could be doing any better.” I responded with “Praise God” and a high five, and he proceeded to tell me how God had been good to him that day. It’s as simple as that. Or it might be, upon hearing that someone is not having such a great day, that you stop and ask them if you can pray for them—right there in whatever place you happen to meet.
The third gospel-driven conversation we should all be expected to have is the outward conversation. This happens on the plane of horizontal relationships as well, but is probably what most of us think about when we talk about ‘sharing the gospel’ or evangelism. The gospel may not be hoarded among those who already believe. It is meant to be shared. We must share the gospel with those who, like us, have spent their entire lives in rebellion toward God in either religiosity or as the very irreligious. They need to find the better way: reconciled rebels in relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. The kingdom of God expands as we rehearse the gospel with those who do not yet follow Jesus.
While we might call those who don’t follow Jesus ‘unbelievers,’ they are really not unbelievers: they believe in something or someone; they just do not believe in God yet. They are worshippers; they are just not worshipping God yet. We are privileged to be used by God to move them from believers of the wrong things to believers of the truth. We are used by God to move them from worshipping themselves and other idols to worshipping God alone.
Rehearsing or ‘preaching’ the gospel is something that is not just for pastors to do on Sunday morning. We all get to preach the gospel to ourselves, to other believers, and to those who do not yet believe. The more frequently we rehearse the gospel in these three gospel-driven directions, the more we deepen our faith and the more we glorify God, grow saints, and gather the lost to Jesus.