Study Guide: Good News-ing

Sunday May 11, 2014 | Greg Boyd, Stephanie Danielson

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

Evangelism is important. However, there’s a lot of baggage that comes with the term and how we are to evangelize to others. In this sermon, Greg Boyd and Stephanie Danielson share with us how to spread the gospel by living a life that compels others towards Jesus.

Extended Summary:

Last week, we saw that prayer is important because things really do hang in the balance, especially when it comes to spreading the gospel. Today, we’re continuing in Colossians with Paul as he talks about people spreading the gospel. As Christians, we are a people who share the good news of Jesus. And while there can be a lot of red flags about evangelism, we believe that evangelism starts with the way we act before what we say.

In evangelism it is important to be Jesus before trying to evangelize. This means that our lives should reflect the beauty and grace of Jesus’ message long before we try to bring someone to Christ. And when we finally do speak with others about Jesus, we should do it in a non-confrontational way. In Acts Paul shows us that finding how God is already working in the group is a lot better than pointing out the things that group of people does wrong.

Prayer should always be the starting point when going out to spread the good news of Jesus. It’s only after we’ve sought God out in prayer and asked the Spirit to give us guidance that we can move forward into actually evangelizing to people. It’s important to pray about the way we act and seek more of God in our lives as a way to grow before we evangelize. The most effective way to announce that the Kingdom of God is near is not through words but actions.

We are all called to share the gospel when an opportunity arises. Sometimes people get stuck in thinking that evangelism is a gift some people have and some people don’t, and they use that as an excuse to say they don’t need to evangelize. While it is true that some people have a gift for it, that doesn’t mean the rest of us get a pass on evangelism. We are all called to be prepared to spread the gospel when an opportunity is given to us.

There is no correct formula for spreading the gospel. There is no right or wrong, a mandatory prayer, or appropriate pamphlet. This is why Paul said our actions come before words. Living a life that intentionally demonstrates the Kingdom will compel those around us. There is nothing that intrigues more people, raises more questions, or softens a heart than outrageous love and grace.

Our words in evangelism are important and should be seasoned with salt and grace. This means that we should listen as much or more than we speak. It also means that we should be patient, compassionate, kind, understanding and non-judgmental when we listen to others. Finally, our words in evangelism should be set up by us making intentional space in our lives to interact with those who are non-believers. We should constantly be looking for ways in our lives to cross paths with those who need to hear about Jesus.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What additional questions and comments did you have about the sermon and supporting texts?
  2. How have you viewed evangelism before this sermon?
  3. Did anything change in your thinking? Why or why not?
  4. Do you intentionally cross paths with non-believers in order to spread the gospel? Why or why not?
  5. Who in your life do you think God is calling you to speak to about the gospel? How might you go about showing them Jesus before talking to them about Jesus?