Over the last few days I've been speaking with some students who have been in church for years.
As we begin to talk about God and the gospel it becomes clear they don't fully understand the story of God redeeming his people. Sure, many students cannot as clearly articulate the gospel as preachers or seminary professors, (well to be honest, some students can share it more effectively) but that's not the issue here. They truly don't seem to understand faith, sacrifice, repentance and the basic pieces of the gospel story.
So I'm curious. If you work with students when and how often to you talk about the gospel?
When sharing the gospel here are the major points I want students (or adults) to hear.
God created us for himself - Col 1:16
Often students see God as a cosmic Santa Clause. They treat him as if He exist for us to give us what we want. The truth is all things were created by God for God. The gospel must begin with God.
We don't live for him we live for ourselves - Is 53:6
God created us to live for him but we're like sheep, we go our own way and rebel against God. That's called sin.
There is a penalty for sin, death - Rom 6:23
Students seem to understand and long for justice. They also understand death, however this is a difficult truth to swallow; that the penalty for their sin is death, physical death and spiritual death.
At this point it's good to talk about how all this is bad news. To be separate from God and face the penalty for our sins is not a good thing, but there's good news.
Jesus paid our penalty - 1 Peter 3:18
This is when it gets exciting. Students light up when they think about Jesus taking the punishment we deserve. Sometimes it's good to give a corny illustration like "if you were caught robbing a bank and received a 25 year sentence and someone came and went to jail in your place, that's a microscopic picture of what Jesus did."
Our response, belief and repentance - John 3:16
At this point it's all about responding to the gospel. If a person believes and embraces the story of the gospel then they enter into relationship with God and their sins will be forgiven, not based on anything they have done but only based on the grace of God.
So I'm going to more often talk about Jesus doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. The gospel not only brings us into relationship with God but also gives the power we need to live for him but I suppose that's a entirely different blog post.
So, what am I leaving out of the gospel story? How often and how do you share the gospel?