Can you point back to the last time you spoke the words of the gospel to someone? What did that look like? In our current series called Everyday Rhythms – BLESS, we are on the final focus of S is for Speak. For the past 6 weeks, The Loved Bible Project has been focusing on ways to build relationships in our regular rhythms of life, based on the podcast series from Saturate. You can listen to the podcast here. Each letter in the acronym B.L.E.S.S. stands for a way we can be intentional for the sake of God’s kingdom, while we go about our everyday lives. Seeing ways to bless others with thoughtfulness and care, listening to others without an agenda, eating together as a way to grow in connection and trust, sabbath rest as a way to remember we are not God, and finally, speaking the Good News truths on which we stand! Go back and check out the blog series on our website. Each of these align with the mission and vision of TLBP, which is to make disciples who delight in God’s Word. We believe the best discipleship opportunities happen in relationships, and these everyday rhythms are ways to help you consider this work God has called you to do.
The Hope That Is In You
We have Good News to declare! As we live our lives under the Lordship of Christ, in the midst of a broken world, we’ll probably get some questions. As we trust God to bring these gospel moments to us, we must be prepared to speak the Good News of the hope that we have. Pray for God to open your eyes to the opportunities he’s put in front of you. As you grow relationships by blessing others, listening, and eating together, ask God to guide your conversation to the gospel. And here’s a little secret: Your friends probably already know that your life centers on Jesus and your faith — and it’s likely that they want to know how that plays out for you. Speaking the goodness of the gospel probably seems weirder to you than it does to them!
“But in your hearts, honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…”1 Peter 3:15
The Overflow Of Your Heart
Q: So how do you go from empty empathy like, “Aw man, that’s hard!” or the current cultural favorite, “You do you, girl! You’ve got this!” to actually speaking the truth of the gospel? Or how do you avoid the damaging effects of Christian platitudes like “Let go and let God,” or “It’s ok, God’s in control,” and instead, actually apply the refreshing Good News to encourage someone?
The way to speak boldly about the gospel without sounding trite is to enjoy it yourself!
A: Several places in Scripture, God tells us our words are the overflow of what’s in our heart. (Matthew 12:34, Proverbs 4:23, Luke 6:45) The way to speak boldly about the gospel without sounding trite is to enjoy it yourself! If religious jargon is in your heart, that’s what will come out. But as you delight in God’s word and quiet yourself in his presence, this Good News will fill you! As you listen to the Spirit, silently praying for his guidance, you can speak words of truth and grace into anyone’s situation. The Holy Spirit will give you words not just to say the ‘right thing,’ but to actually speak life because of your own enjoyment of the gospel.
The Gospel Is For All Of Life
At TLBP, we talk a lot about how the gospel is for all of life. (Check out the Foundations Workbook to take a deeper dive). Not only does the gospel save us from God’s punishment and death, sanctify us as God slowly changes us into the likeness of Christ, and sustain us until we will see him face to face, but it’s always good news for all of life’s circumstances. As we genuinely invest in relationships – both within the Church and with unbelievers – we must tell this amazing story of our great God in multiple ways.
The gospel is the Good News of what God has done and is doing to restore this broken world through Jesus Christ. As you think through the Scriptural lens of ~ Creation ~ Rebellion ~ Promise ~ Redemption ~ the Church ~ Restoration you can begin to see how the beauty of God’s powerful plan is so freeing!
Tim Chester breaks down 4 liberating truths of the gospel in his book Everyday Church.
- God is great, so we don’t have to be in control.
- God is glorious, so we don’t have to fear others.
- God is good, so we don’t have to look elsewhere.
- God is gracious, so we don’t have to prove ourselves.
When you have opportunities to speak the gospel to that friend who’s struggling, ask yourself which truth fits best. You don’t have to walk through the Creation-to-Restoration narrative every time, but as you orient your life around this story, it will just naturally come through you. It’s not a box to check, it’s meant to ebb and flow as you go. The more fluent you are with this story, the more you can apply it.
Putting It Together
So how can you use The Loved Bible Project to make disciples, and what does it have to do with B.L.E.S.S.? Blessing people you see on a regular basis, listening to them, and eating together are ways you can demonstrate God’s love in tangible ways. This builds a relationship of trust, opens doors to introduce others into Christian community, and opportunities to speak the gospel. It’s so much more than mentioning, “I went to church this weekend,” or smiling at a store clerk as you silently attempt to say, “Jesus loves you” with your eyes. Speaking the gospel into the circumstances of the people in your life isn’t just giving good advice. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what really is the Good News part of God’s plan that speaks comfort and hope to your friend’s specific situation.
When these opportunities come, you can give him or her a Loved Bible and walk through the gospel message together. The goal is to point your friend to Jesus, reassure them of his goodness, and spur them toward obedience and faithfulness as they grow in understanding God’s character. You can help them see themselves in God’s big story, to trust him as sovereign Creator, sacrificial Savior, and good King.
Who can you intentionally speak the Good News to this week? What ‘gospel opportunities’ has God put in your path recently, and how did you respond?
Everyday Church by Tim Chester, pages 111-130
Gospel Fluency by Jeff Vanderstelt
Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life by Jeff Vanderstelt
The Art of Neighboring by Dave Runyon and Jay Pathak
Life on Mission by Dustin Willis
Risen Motherhood by Laura Wifler and Emily Jensen (book and podcast)
The Gospel Comes With A House Key by Rosaria Butterfield
Ten simple ways to be missional