When it comes to presenting the gospel, there are certainly helpful and unhelpful ways to use tracts. Passing out an extremely condensed version of the gospel message through a tiny pamphlet shouldn’t be our only evangelistic strategy, nor should we be content with someone simply nodding their approval when we tell them about Christ’s death and resurrection. Even if they seem to be receptive, it’s not easy to discern much in a matter of minutes.
Ideally, presenting the gospel would be followed up by asking and answering questions, clarifying concepts, providing more explanation, assessing understanding, and helping the person see why they need to respond to what they’ve heard. The tract, in other words, would help start an ongoing—and eternally significant—conversation.
How to Present the Gospel
If a longer conversation is not possible—for example, when we interact briefly with someone we’ve just met—a tract may simply plant a gospel seed. So long as we don’t distort or water down what it means to be a Christian, a tract can (at the very least) introduce the person to the message of the gospel and motivate them to find out more.
Regardless of whether or not you use a gospel tract to present the gospel, there is great benefit in being able to present the gospel clearly and concisely. The presentation shouldn’t sound canned, but it does help to have some key points and probing questions ready at hand. With that in mind, see the presentation below from Radical and the questions used to introduce the foundational truths of the gospel. (This presentation is available for free download as a gospel tract.) Feel free to use it and adapt it as you seek to introduce others to Christ.
What are you living for?
Are you living to make money or to advance your career? Are you focused on serving your community? Maybe you’re just looking to have a good time. Or perhaps you’re still searching for greater meaning in life.
Regardless of what you’re living for, have you ever considered God’s purpose for your life? No one wants to come to the end of life only to find that they have been focused on the wrong things. Here are five questions to help you discover what’s really worth living for.
What is God like?
God is the creator of all things and all people, including you and me. He created us to know and love Him and to live under His wise and generous rule. It only makes sense, then, that we would want to know what God is like. Thankfully, He did not leave us in the dark.
God reveals Himself in the Bible as holy. To say that God is holy means that He is unique, set apart from all that He has made. God relates to us, but unlike us, He is morally pure.
God is also perfectly just. He punishes the guilty and lets the innocent go free. In fact, God himself is the standard for right and wrong.
Finally, God is also gracious. He blesses us and gives us good gifts, even though we don’t deserve them. But in order to receive God’s grace, we need to understand why we need it in the first place.
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)
What’s wrong with the world?
The world is not as it should be. Greed, selfishness, lying, injustice, murder—the list goes on and on. And these problems are not just out there in the world. We too have failed to respond rightly to God’s loving and just rule.
God created us to know and love Him and to take care of the world that he made. But instead of submitting to God, the first couple, Adam and Eve, failed to trust God and rebelled against him. This is what the Bible calls sin.
Sadly, we are just like Adam and Eve. We have the audacity to tell God “no” even though He has all authority. We fail to trust Him even though He is perfectly wise and good. Our sin separates us from God, and it results in death––eventual physical death and, ultimately, eternal death.
To make matters worse, we can’t do anything to change our situation. We need someone else to give us new life.
“ . . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God . . .” (Romans 3:23)
What hope is there for me?
If what we’ve seen so far is true, then our situation sounds bleak. After all, how can a God who is perfect and just treat sinners like us with love and kindness? Thankfully, God has made a way by sending us his Son.
Jesus claimed to be the only way to God, the Savior of the world. That’s an astounding claim! Jesus was (and is) the fully divine Son of God, which is good news, because only God could solve our sin problem.
Amazingly, this same Jesus came to earth as a man. He was like us in every way, except that he never sinned. Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to God, the kind of life God requires of us. And even though he was innocent, Jesus endured death on a cross in order to take the punishment we deserve.
Three days after he was buried, Jesus, the Son of God, showed His power over sin and death by rising from the grave. He opened the way for sinners to receive the forgiveness of sins and have eternal life.
But we must respond to this good news.
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God . . .” (1 Peter 3:18)
How do I get in on this?
Many people assume that God will overlook their sin if they love their neighbors, give to the poor, or even attend a church. But sin is too powerful to be overcome through our own efforts. God’s salvation is a gift. However, this gift won’t do you any good unless you receive it.
To receive God’s gift of salvation, we must do two things: repent of our sin and believe in Jesus. To repent of sin means to turn away from it. That doesn’t mean our struggle with sin ends, but it does mean we no longer love and pursue sin. We gladly submit to Jesus as our Lord and King.
To believe in Jesus means to rely on him. We rely on the fact that his life of perfect obedience was pleasing to God. We rely on his death as a sufficient payment for our sin. We rely on his resurrection as evidence that he is the Son of God who has defeated sin and death on our behalf. This is what the Bible calls the good news of the gospel.
What is holding you back from believing in Jesus?
“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)
What’s at stake?
Some people think that their response to Jesus can wait. They assume there will be a more convenient time to think about spiritual things. But we are not promised tomorrow. Our need for God is urgent––eternally urgent.
Those who reject God’s free offer of forgiveness will receive the punishment their sins deserve. This punishment, according to Jesus, happens in a place called hell. Hell is a place of eternal suffering, a sobering reality that highlights the seriousness of our rebellion against a holy God.
Thankfully, God has provided a way for us to be reconciled to him forever. When we submit to Jesus as Lord and rely on him to save us, God forgives us completely and adopts us into his family. Not even death will separate us from God.
As part of this gift of eternal life, God gives us His Spirit, who even now gives us an increasing desire and ability to obey God.
Let go of your sin, stop depending on yourself, and trust in Jesus today. Receive God’s gift of eternal life.
“Whoever believes in [Jesus] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:18)
What do I do next?
If you still have questions, follow up with a trusted Christian friend and attend a church in your area that believes the Bible and teaches the gospel.
If you’ve put your trust in Jesus as your Savior and Lord, present the gospel to a Christian friend and find a church in your area to commit to. God did not intend for us to live the Christian life in isolation. He gives us His Spirit and other Christians to help us live as followers of Jesus.
The first step of obedience for a Christian is to be baptized by a local church and then to learn and obey the teachings of Jesus. And don’t forget to tell other people this good news that you’ve received.
This is the ultimate purpose of our lives––to live for God’s glory!