As Christians, it is our wonderful, joyful responsibility to share the good news of salvation with others. But how, exactly, do you preach the gospel? What should you include in your gospel presentation? What scriptures should you reference? In this simple guide, we'll walk you through how to preach the gospel, step-by-step.
In the Bible, we are commanded to preach the gospel. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you."
As Christians, it is our wonderful, joyful responsibility to share the good news of salvation with others. But how, exactly, do you preach the gospel? What should you include in your gospel presentation? What scriptures should you reference?
In this simple guide, we'll walk you through how to preach the gospel, step-by-step.
First, let's make sure that we're 100% clear on what the gospel is. After all, you can't preach the gospel effectively if you don't know what you're supposed to preach!
Put simply, the gospel is the good news of Jesus' birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension.
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, the apostle Paul defines the gospel this way: "Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you...For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures."
Notice that the following key elements are in Paul's delivery of the gospel:
When we preach the gospel we need to make it clear that there is a God who is holy and loves us very much, we have sinned against that God and need salvation, and Jesus is the answer to the problem.
Now that we understand what the gospel is, let's dive into how to preach it effectively.
The reality is that only God can save people. Only God can work on a person's heart to the point where they want to respond to the gospel and believe in Jesus for salvation. In the Bible, it says, "So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." (1 Corinthians 3:7)
Therefore, before we even begin to preach the gospel, we need to pray for God's guidance and to work in people's hearts. We need to ask Him to soften the hearts of those who are about to hear what we say. To give us the right words at the right time. To empower our speaking by the Holy Spirit.
When preaching the gospel, it's important to know who you are speaking to. You don't need to know everything about them, but you should have at least a sense of who they are, how they think, and what they care about. This will help you preach the gospel in ways that make sense to them and resonate with them.
In Acts 17:22-23, we see Paul speaking to his audience in terms that made sense to them. He didn't change his fundamental message, but he did address things that were very important to his audience. He said:
“People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you."
Paul used the fact that the Athenians were very religious as an entry point to share the gospel with them. He also acknowledged their belief in an unknown god and used it as a way to introduce them to the one true God.
Before you preach the gospel, ask yourself:
Knowing these things will help you tailor your message to your audience and make it more relatable to them.
The Bible is the living Word of God and is one of the most important tools we have when preaching the gospel. It's not just a book of stories or moral teachings. Rather, it contains the story of God redeeming His people through Jesus.
In the Bible, we learn the bad news that we've sinned against God. We also learn the incredibly good news that God has dealt with our sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
As 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
When you preach the gospel, you should include scripture verses that prove what you're saying is true. If you're not sure what scriptures to use when you share the gospel, the well-known "Romans Road" may be helpful. It is simply a number of verses from Romans that lead people through the gospel.
These verses clearly explain our need for salvation, as well as the fact that salvation can be found in Jesus Christ. It also articulates the need for belief in Christ.
When you preach the gospel, you might be tempted to shy away from sharing the "bad" news that we have sinned against God and that our sins must be dealt with by God. After all, it's not a popular message to deliver. But without understanding the bad news, people cannot fully understand and appreciate the good news of the gospel.
Romans 6:23 makes it clear that "the wages of sin is death." This means that because of our sins, we are deserving of eternal separation from God. And Romans 3:23 tells us that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." This includes every single person, no matter how good they may seem in comparison to others.
It's important to share this truth with unbelievers because it helps them understand why they need a Savior. Without acknowledging our sinfulness and our need for forgiveness, we cannot fully accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
As difficult as it may be, it's important to share the bad news in order to fully convey the good news and help others understand their need for a Savior. So do not shy away from sharing this truth, but rather approach it with grace and love, understanding that we are all sinners in need of God's forgiveness.
Of course, the bad news should always be immediately followed by the good news!
What is the good news? That Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth as a human, lived a perfect and sinless life, and willingly took upon Himself the punishment for our sins by dying on the cross.
But that's not where the good news ends. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead, conquering sin and death once and for all. And through His death and resurrection, we can have eternal life and be reconciled with God.
As it says in perhaps the most well-known Bible verse, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Ephesians 2:8-9 says "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." This means our salvation is a free gift from God. It cannot be earned. No amount of good works qualifies us for salvation. It can only and always be received by faith in Jesus Christ.
This truly is good news, isn't it? When we preach the gospel, we have the incredible privilege of telling people this good news. And not only that, but we have the opportunity to see lives transformed by this good news.
Finally, when you preach the gospel you should call people to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. This isn't the gospel itself. The gospel is all about what God has done for us. This is about the proper response to the gospel.
In Mark 1:15, Jesus Himself says "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." To repent means to turn away from our sins and turn towards God. And to believe in the gospel means to have faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Romans 10:9 says "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Faith in Jesus Christ is essential for salvation.
So when we preach the gospel, we must call people to put their faith in Jesus Christ. This doesn't mean just acknowledging His existence or even believing certain facts about Him. It means believing that He truly is the Son of God who died for our sins and will save us if we call on Him.
When you preach the gospel, some people will reject what you are saying. This happened to Jesus Himself, so we should certainly expect it to happen to us. When that happens, we must remember that it is not our job to make people believe. Our job is simply to share the good news and let the Holy Spirit work in their hearts.
And the good news is that God will lead some people to believe in the gospel based on your preaching! You can be absolutely sure of that fact. Why? Because it says in Romans 10:17 "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." God's Word is powerful and will not return void.
So even if someone seems resistant to the gospel at first, trust that God can still use your preaching to bring them to salvation. Continually pray for their hearts to be softened and for the Holy Spirit to work in them.
Preaching the gospel is a vital part of fulfilling the Great Commission given to us by Jesus Himself (Matthew 28:19-20). It is our duty as believers to share the good news with those who have not yet accepted Christ.
And while it may seem intimidating at first, remember that the power to save resides in God's Word, not in our own abilities. As long as we faithfully share the gospel and pray for hearts to be opened, God will work through us to bring people to salvation.
So go forth boldly and confidently, armed with the truth of God's Word and the knowledge that He is working through you to bring others into His kingdom. Preach the gospel without fear or hesitation.