Field Notes Guide #3 – What Is The Gospel?

Field Notes Guides are meant to equip you as you walk through the Foundations Workbook within the context of a discipleship relationship. See our blog post, Getting Started: How To Use The Foundations Workbook In Discipleship, for more about this. Discipleship is not a one-size-fits-all process. The context of each relationship is different, and everyone is in a unique place of his or her spiritual journey. However, the goal of these Field Notes is to provide prompts for conversation, and also help you grow as your conversation leads you! You may end up curious about other points we haven’t highlighted here, and that’s ok! We hope these Guides will help you “Invest and Invite” with someone else as you journey together.

Previous Field Notes:

– Field Notes Guide #1 – What is the Bible?

– Field Notes Guide #2 – Who is Jesus?

Let’s get started! Turn to page 13 of the Foundations Workbook. Foundation 3: “What Is The Gospel?”

INTRODUCTION: What Is The Gospel?

CONVERSATION STARTER: How comfortable do you feel explaining or answering, “What is the gospel?” if asked? Have you ever been asked what the gospel is? Have you ever shared and proclaimed the gospel of Jesus?

One of the goals of the Loved Bible process is for you to grow more familiar in navigating the Scriptures, and also grow in confidence in sharing the gospel. As you create a Loved Bible, it becomes a tool to help you share the gospel and what it means to be saved, sanctified (changed), and sustained by this gospel. By inserting notes alongside Scriptures, you are then able to use the Bible to explain the Bible (almost like an open book test!).

Take a few minutes with your disciple to read this blog: What is the Gospel?

The rest of the Foundations Workbook will explore what the gospel means for believers – how it saves, sanctifies, and sustains followers of Christ. See page 13 of the Foundations Workbook for a helpful graphic. However, for the purposes of this guide, we’ll focus on understanding the firm foundation of the gospel.

BIBLICAL OVERVIEW

Section 1:

Foundations Workbook pg 14

CONVERSATION STARTER: Read this paragraph out loud. This same content was covered when you discussed the blog post “What is the Gospel?”. However, take time again to review the key points of what Jesus did on our behalf through his life, death, resurrection, and ascension. Often, we’re very familiar with Jesus’ life and death, so spend some time with your disciple discussing the resurrection and ascension to ensure understanding.

  • In life, Jesus was perfect (Heb 4:15, 1 Peter 1:18-19, 1 John 3:5).
  • In death, Jesus shed his blood as the once-and-for-all payment for our sin (Eph 1:7, 1 Peter 2:24).
  • Through resurrection, Jesus conquered sin’s curse: death (Rom 6:8-11, 1 Cor 15:21-22).
  • Through ascension, Jesus now reigns and rules in authority over creation (Matt 28:18, Phil 2:9-11).

LOVE A BIBLE: Look up John 3:16-18 and highlight it. Then look up the following verses which also talk about the gospel in Scripture. You might want to write ‘Gospel’ beside each of them in your Bible.

  • Genesis 3:15.
  • Isaiah 53:4-6
  • Romans 3:23–24
  • Romans 4:4-5
  • 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
  • Galatians 3:13-14
  • Ephesians 2:4-5 
  • Philippians 2:5-8
  • Colossians 2:13-14
  • Titus 3:4-7 
  • Hebrews 2:14-17 
  • 1 Peter 2:22-25

Section 2:

Foundations Workbook pg 14

CONVERSATION STARTER: “We never outgrow our need for the gospel.” Did you grow up hearing that the gospel is only needed to save you, like a ticket to heaven? Or did you hear that the gospel applies to a Christian’s everyday, ongoing life?

Discuss this quote:

“Many of us were taught that the gospel is a doorway we step through to become Christians. But the Bible doesn’t talk about the gospel like that. [1 Corinthians 15:1-6] is saying the gospel is the whole house.”

– Matt Chandler

The gospel informs how we make decisions, how we view our body, how we parent, how to deal with suffering, how we work, etc.

LOVE A BIBLE: Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-2. JD Greear wrote a prayer that can be helpful to train your mind in the patterns of the gospel. Write these down on a note card and add to your Bible.

1. “In Christ, there is nothing I can do that would make You love me more, and nothing I have done that makes You love me less.”

2.  “Your presence and approval are all I need for everlasting joy.”

3. “As You have been to me, so I will be to others.”

4.  “As I pray, I’ll measure Your compassion by the cross and Your power by the resurrection.”

Parts 1 & 2 lead us inward, helping us ponder and renew our minds in God’s acceptance of us. Part 3 causes us to think about how we should respond to the grace of the gospel. Part 4 helps us to see the world through a gospel lens and moves us to faith.

Pray through the prayer and let these truths sink in.

CONVERSATION STARTER: How can you meditate on the gospel each and every day, throughout the day? How can you remind each other of these truths?

TRUTHS TO REMEMBER: THE GOSPEL

LOVE A BIBLE: Option 1: For each truth listed

  • Look up the referenced Scriptures and highlight
  • Write out the Key Truth (in the green box) and include next to one of the Scriptures
  • Write out the quote and include next to the referenced Scripture

LOVE A BIBLE: Option 2: Below, we’ve shared other ‘Love a Bible’ suggestions, notes, and quotes that you can use with each of the 5 Key Truths about the gospel.

Truth 1: The gospel was God’s plan all along.

LOVE A BIBLE: Read through and highlight Genesis 3:14-19. Write on a post-it or note card, “The gospel was God’s plan all along.” Add the note below in bold.

Take a 5 minutes and listen to this podcast by David Platt as he explains Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” This is known as the protoevangelium, which means the first gospel.

Put this note in the Loved Bible next to Genesis 3:15.

Truth 2: The gospel brings life!

CONVERSATION STARTER: Think about this quote for a minute, and look up the references.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). Becoming a Christian doesn’t just add something to the old you, it creates a new you. The risen Christ indwells you now, never to leave (Romans 8:10-11).

Ray Ortlund, The Gospel

Ask: Have you thought about how the gospel brings life? 

LOVE A BIBLE: Take a few minutes and look up the following references from Ephesians. Note how the Gospel brings new life. Write the corresponding notes next to the Scriptures.

  • (Eph 2:4) “We were dead in sin,” but now we are “alive with the Messiah.”
  • (Eph 2:13) We were separated from Christ, but now in Christ Jesus we “have been brought near.”
  • (Eph 2:19) We were “foreigners,” but now we are “fellow citizens.”
  • (Eph 4:20-24) We were darkened in understanding, but now we have “learned about the Messiah.” We have put off the “old self” and put on the “new self.”
  • (Eph 5:8) We were “darkness” but now we are “light in the Lord.” — Tony Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition of Ephesians

Truth 3: To receive the gospel, Christians repent and believe.

LOVE A BIBLE:

Define repent. (to change one’s mind, a call for a return to God and a change of a person’s whole course of life, — from Mary Wiley, Everyday Theology). Look up the following verses: Mark 1:14-15 & Acts 3:19. Then put in a note with the definition of repentance, and this note:

Reminder – repentance is not a one-time action. We repent as part of our salvation. After salvation, we will continue to sin. As a result, we will need to continually repent – not for our salvation but to seek God’s forgiveness.

Define belief. Look up the following verses related to belief: Acts 16:31, Acts 2:36, Romans 10:9.

CONVERSATION STARTER: Are you a believer in Jesus Christ? Discuss if and when you first believed. (If never, this is a great time to repent and believe!) Talk about how it doesn’t end there. What does it look like to not just have believed, but to be a believer. Share about what it looks like to live out your faith every day.

Truth 4: The gospel is about God’s love.

CONVERSATION STARTER: Read the Scripture passages listed for this section. How does the fact that God sent His own Son – not just someone else – demonstrate his love?

LOVE A BIBLE: Highlight each passage and write the key truth “The gospel is about God’s love.” Also write the quote and put it next to one of the passages.

Truth 5: The gospel is meant to transform us.

CONVERSATION STARTER: How does the gospel transform ALL of your life? Is it easy to think of life in compartments, as in ‘those things related to your faith’ and ‘everything else’? Yet, gospel applies to ALL of one’s life! Talk through the following question:

Does what we do in our free time matter? People tend to compartmentalize their lives. Work, play, time with God…all of these have a place, with time specifically dedicated to each. But, God’s Word rejects the sacred-secular divide that we often created. Through the gospel, our entire lives have been redeemed for God’s glory.

The Daily Grace Co., Preaching the Gospel to Yourself

Look up Matthew 22:35-39 and Colossians 3:17. Then, consider how even in our recreation (sports, hobbies, movies, etc.), we ought to examine our own hearts and and prayerfully ask ourselves three questions:

1. How can this activity serve to increase my delight in the Lord?

2. How can I glorify God through this activity?

3. How can I love my neighbor through this activity?

Doing everything in the name of Christ and for the glory of God requires actively orienting our minds and hearts towards God. To truly enjoy God’s gifts in their proper place, we must have a great affection for God Himself.

Look up the verses! Read the quote. How has your life changed from a self-focused way of life to a Jesus-focused way of life?

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