Explaining the four topics and how they relate
Look at the salvation message:
PROBLEM: separation from God, due to sin, shown by LAW.
ANSWER: Jesus, who He is and what He did, shown by GOSPEL (1 Cor 15:1-4)
(“gospel” means “good news;” not what you must do, but what Jesus has done.)
Jesus healed the gap between us and God by taking our punishment
INVITATION: Includes faith and repentance, “effects” which God brings about.
(“repentance means looking at our sins as God does – hating them)
RESULTS: The “benefits” that solve the “problems.”
To grow in our ability to share the gospel, we grow in our understanding of the four parts of the salvation message. We will then be able to share these four parts in the words that the listener can understand. We can organize our thoughts by placing new insights about one of these topics into the corresponding categories.
Why the four parts must be shared:
No one can know these four parts unless someone tells him.
Without the Bible, we would not have known that our root problem is separation from God due to sin. (we would have know our felt needs, but not our root problem).
Without out the Bible, we would not have known that God solved our root problem by sending Jesus. Jesus died to pay for our sins, and rose to show that he was successful.
Without out the Bible, we would not have known that we receive the benefits of Jesus’ death simply by trusting in Jesus.
Without out the Bible, we would not have known that the benefits are ours immediately: there are no further conditions.
Why the burden is on God, but not on us
No one can accept these four parts except through a miracle of the Holy Spirit:
Without the Spirit, we would not have known our sin or the fact that it separates us from God.
Without the Spirit, we would not have realized that Jesus is our Lord and savior.
Without the Spirit, we would not have trusted in Jesus, and we would not have expressed repentance for sin.
Without the Spirit, we would not have received new life and the other benefits.
The second area, ANSWER, is the heart of the gospel. When the apostles shared the gospel, they did it within a larger framework, preceding it with the reason the gospel is needed (PROBLEM) and following it by explaining the appropriate response (INVITATION).
On these web pages, this larger framework — the entire set of four concepts — will be called “the salvation message.” The third concept is called INVITATION because Peter or Paul only told people how to respond — everyone did not necessarily respond at that moment. Following this model, we can explain about faith and repentance even though the person may not be responsive. It is part of the salvation message.
All people know they have problems, because they have “felt needs,” but they can not know the root problem unless God reveals it. God has revealed it and our function then is to tell this truth to others.
By the death and resurrection of Jesus, God has solved the root problem. But God has not only solved the root problem. The promises listed as BENEFIT show that God also cares about the felt needs. For example, a felt need might be “anxiety;” a corresponding benefit is “peace.” but we cannot go directly from felt need to benefit. We must pass through the middle two concepts — Jesus’ work and faith in him.
Each of the concepts depends on the preceding concept. The benefits are promised to those who believe. The belief is in a person, Jesus. Jesus would not have needed to die for us were it not for our separation due to sin.