Several years ago I made the statement to my dear friend and sister in Christ, Stephanie, “we need to love them with the Gospel.” She replied, “What does that mean anyway?” Her question stumped me because I thought I knew what it meant but could I explain it to her?
About a month ago I was in another conversation about caring for others with the Gospel, basically the same conversation as I had with Stephanie. The idea was running around in my brain for days when I was walking one day and it was clarified in my mind.
When we are loving/caring for someone with the Gospel it may take 3 basic forms.
1. If the person does not know Jesus Christ as their Savior, we love them best by sharing the Gospel and their need for a Savior, Jesus, encouraging them to repent and believe. Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:14-15; Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Mark 3:3; …if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9-10
2. If the person knows Christ as Savior but is not walking in faith and obedience (they are walking in sin), we love them with the Gospel by speaking the truth in love admonishing and exhorting them to encourage confession and repentance. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2; Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:12-13
3. If the person knows Christ as Savior, is not walking in sin but is in a season of suffering, we love them with the Gospel by encouraging them with the hope of the Gospel. For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4; Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13; Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
As we talk to people throughout the day, let’s HUMBLY listen with sensitive ears to know who and how the Lord would have us love with the Gospel. It takes careful attention to best minister truth to their hearts. We want to HUMBLY love them with the Gospel in the most meaningful way to their personal situation. God is not a cookie-cutter God. We should not be a cookie-cutter Gospel-sharer.
I want to love others with the Gospel in a way that, first, glorifies God and second, is genuinely helpful to that person, realizing that the first person to hear the truth and to be helped is ME.
The Gospel is so deep and rich and yet so simple and personal. It offers hope and truth in absolutely every situation. Let us love well with the Gospel.
After serving 16 years full-time on the staff of America’s Keswick, Diane Hunt and her husband moved to North Carolina where she continues to serve part-time as a contributing writer and Partner Care Consultant. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.