One day I received a call inviting me to be the keynote speaker at the leadership convention of a large, national Christian organization. When I asked why I was being invited to do this, the man on the other end of the telephone line said, “Because we know you have a heart for the Gospel.”
As I hung up the phone, I wondered to myself how the man could have made that assumption. Then I realized, of course, that it was because I was Billy Graham’s daughter. But I began soul-searching for a few days, asking God not only to enlarge my heart for the Gospel but also to help me understand more clearly just what the Gospel is.
How would you answer if someone asked you, “What is the Gospel?” The following verses helped me to define it more clearly, to declare it more boldly and to defend it more firmly. I pray that they will help you in the same way.
DEFINING THE GOSPEL
- Use one or more phrases from each of the following verses to define the Gospel: Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10; Romans 1:18; Romans 6:23; John 3:16; 1 John 1:9; Revelation 3:20; John 1:12; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:17.
- Read Peter’s sermon at Pentecost in Acts 2:14-36, at the temple in Acts 3:12-26 and to the religious leaders in Acts 4:8-12. Give the main points, with verses, that are the same in each sermon. How do these main points define the Gospel?
- List the phrases from Luke 24:1-7 that contain these same points.
- Write in your own words a definition of the Gospel for someone who has never heard it.
DECLARING THE GOSPEL
- Why was Paul obligated to declare the Gospel? Compare Romans 1:14 to 1 Timothy 1:12-16. To whom did he declare it in Romans 1:16? Is anyone excluded from it? Support your answer with phrases from John 3:16 and Acts 4:12.
- Judging from Romans 1:15-16 and 2 Timothy 1:8-12, what was Paul’s attitude about declaring the Gospel?
- What was Peter’s attitude about declaring the Gospel in Acts 4:20?
- What was the attitude of the early Christians toward declaring the Gospel, in Acts 4:18-31 and Acts 5:40-42.
- How does Paul describe you and me in 2 Corinthians 5:20?
- What is your attitude toward declaring the Gospel?
- Pinpoint the time, the place and the person with whom you last shared the Gospel. Pray now and ask God to give you the opportunity this week to define and to declare the Gospel to someone who doesn’t know it.
- As you pray and look for opportunities to share the Gospel, what encouragement do you receive from the promises in Luke 21:15 and 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17?
DEFENDING THE GOSPEL
- How does Jude 3 challenge us to defend the Gospel?
- Why is this defense necessary, according to Jude 4 and 18?
- How does Paul challenge us in 2 Timothy 1:13-14 to defend the Gospel?
- What warning do we need to heed in Galatians 1:3-9?
- What are some “other gospels” being preached today?
- How do we defend the Gospel, according to Ephesians 6:10-18?
- Why is sharing the Gospel so difficult? See 1 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Timothy 4:3-5; Ephesians 6:12; and 1 Peter 5:8.
- What is our Lord’s command in Mark 16:15? Is obedience optional?
- Read 1 John 4:4-6 and 1 John 5:3-5. From these passages, what promises does God give to those who are obedient? What insights? What encouragement?
In an increasingly secular, woke culture, what will you do to define, to declare and to defend the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Anne Graham Lotz has proclaimed God’s Word worldwide for more than 40 years. Her newest book, which she co-authored with her daughter Rachel-Ruth Wright, is “Jesus Followers: Real-Life Lessons for Igniting Faith in the Next Generation.” It is available from major booksellers online.