Where Should I Start When Sharing the Gospel?

At the beginning.

Posted by David Wyatt on September 14, 2021 · 6 mins read
As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. And he did not permit him but said to him, 'Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.' And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled. Mark 5:18-20

This past Sunday, my wife and I were having a great time of fellowship with two other couples from church. A casual dinner, talking about everyone’s kids, comparing streaming binge lists, etc. All the usual stuff married folk talk about.

As we always do, we eventually got around to discussing the Bible and the Gospel. One of our friends brought up a man he had been witnessing to. This man, though lost, knew a lot about the Bible because he had gone to a Christian school. But Christianity was just another bit of enlightenment on his “spiritual” journey. He saw Jesus as a prophet and good man, no different than Mohammad or Buddha.

After a few minutes of discussion, my friend asked me where I would start if I were sharing the Gospel with this man. Without giving it much thought, I immediately went to the love of God, the sin of man, and the death and resurrection of Christ. The Gospel message of “Christ crucified.” We continued down this path, discussing how Christianity was the only religion with a resurrected Savior. How it is the only religion that preaches salvation can’t be found “within.”

As I was studying the next day, I realized my answer had been wrong. It wasn’t that anything I had said was wrong. It just wasn’t the best answer to Vic’s question. He had asked where we should start. What I should have said was, “At the beginning.”

The Beginning of Our Gospel Testimony

I don’t mean starting at Genesis 1:1 and showing how the entirety of the Old Testament points to Christ. Or even starting at Matthew 1:1 and following the story of the Messiah’s birth, life, death, and resurrection through the Gospels. Those things are the Gospel and should always be a part of our testimony to the world. But they aren’t where we should start. The beginning of our Gospel testimony is much more personal. The beginning should always be what Jesus Christ has done for us. Not the collective us. What Jesus has done for me. What He has done for you. That is where the Gospel truly begins for us. When it becomes life-changing.

In Mark 5:1-20, we find the story of a man possessed by demons. He had no home. He was self-destructive, naked, and mentally tormented. In the eyes of man, he was unapproachable and unteachable. But then he met Jesus, the only One with the power to make him whole. And his life changed. The next time anyone who knew him saw him, he was clothed and at peace, sitting with Jesus. This was the beginning of his Gospel testimony.

As the story closes, Jesus says to the man, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.” And how did the man begin sharing the Gospel?

“And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.” John 4:20

John ends his account of the story there. But I can imagine how this man shared the Gospel from that point forward. I think it might start something like this.

“You wouldn’t know it by looking at me now, but I used to have demons inside me. I was an outcast and tormented.” Then he’d roll up his sleeves and say, “See these scars? I’d run naked through the graveyards and mountains, screaming and cutting myself. Everyone thought I was a lost cause. I had no hope. But then I met Jesus. When no one else could help me, He changed me. When I couldn’t save myself, He saved me. Let me tell you what He can do for you.”

A Personal Gospel, A Compelling Gospel

When we get saved, we become part of the Gospel story. Our personal encounter with Jesus and how he changed us from enemy of God to child of God becomes our testimony. He casts out our demons, but the scars they caused remain to attest to His mercy and grace. And to show others that we were once like them, lost without hope.

Jesus doesn’t overlook our sin. He points it out. When we repent and turn to Jesus as Lord and Savior, it becomes part of our witness. Look at the Samaritan woman at the well. Her testimony was, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” She wasn’t talking about cooking dinner and sweeping the floor. She was talking about her adultery. And everyone in Samaria knew it. Who was this man who offered living water and eternal life to someone who was an adulteress six times over?

We all weren’t literally entrapped by demonic possession before we were saved. We all weren’t shacking up after five failed marriages. But we all were dead in our sins with no hope before we met Jesus and have the scars to prove it.

So, where should we start when sharing the Gospel? At the beginning of our story, with our scars and how our life was changed because of His!

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