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Gospel Sharing Tools: The Three Circles

First Baptist Church http://fbcbartow.org

“Gospel Sharing Tools: The Three Circles”

Series: Sharing the Gospel [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

December 9, 2018

Introductory Comments:

Think about this question for a minute: Why do we use tools? 

We use tools to make things easier for us, do we not?

We use a hammer to make it easier to nail in a nail, rather than using our fist. 

We use a screwdriver to turn a screw into something. 

We use a lawnmower (or have our kids use lawnmowers) to mow the grass because it’s easier than using a pair of scissors to do so. 

A cordless power drill is my favorite tool. You can do all kinds of things with a drill. I’ve used one a lot to hang up pictures in our new home (I’m still doing that). 

Tools help us do things!

Well, we’re in the middle of a series on sharing the Gospel. 

Thus far, we’ve established the urgency of sharing the Gospel. 

We’ve also talked about how to share our Gospel story of how Jesus has changed us; how to share our testimony. 

This morning, we are going to learn about a specific tool that you can use to share the Gospel. 

Remember, your testimony is the story of your life before Jesus, how Jesus changed your life, and your life since Jesus changed you. Also, remember, your testimony is not the full Gospel story, but can serve as a launching pad for you to share the Gospel. 

So, this morning we’re going to learn about a tool called “The Three Circles.”

Just like any other important task which can be done easier with a tool, so also, sharing the Gospel is an utterly important task that can be done easier with a tool. 

Listen to what Paul says concerning the importance of sharing the gospel. 

Read Romans 8:11-15

11 For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame, 12 since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.14 How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him? And how can they hear without a preacher? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.

It’s vitally important that we share the good news. 

So, let’s look at the Three Circles. 

You’ll see on the front of your handout that you have the blanks as usual, and on the back of your handout you have a diagram to fill in as we go along, so you’ll need to do some flipping of your paper. Can y’all handle that?

OK! Let’s get to it. 

First, in sharing the Gospel we must point out that . . .

  1. God has a design for our lives. [on screen]

You can fill that in on your notes and on your diagram you can write, “God’s Design.”  [on screen]

God designed every person on the earth to be in a relationship with Him, to have complete joy, and to have complete peace. 

Remember, Genesis 1:25 tells us, “So God made the wildlife of the earth according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that crawl on the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.” [on screen]

God wanted everything to be perfect and God made everything perfect. He made everything good. 

Part of God’s goodness is that He has a design for our lives. He has a design for every part of our lives! 

God talks to us about joy!

God talks to us about what we listen to and watch!

God talks to us about marriage, and family, and sexual relationships, and friendships!

God talks to us about the law, and government, and authority!

God talks to us about us about worship, and work, and play. 

God talks to us about what we eat and what we drink. 

God is our Designer and He has a perfect design for our lives!

He knows better than anyone else how our lives should operate. 

Part of God’s good design is that we will be in a relationship with Him. He’s our Creator and our God and He wants to have a relationship with us. 

The thing is, most of us know things are not always perfect for us.

Our lives are sometimes messed up. Bad things happen to us and around us. We cannot look at the world around and say that it is always good. 

If God has a good and perfect design, why do we see that the world is messed up? Why don’t we always feel like we have a good relationship with Him? 

This takes us to our second point:

  1. We depart from God’s design and end up in brokenness. [on screen]

Fill out the second point on your notes, and then flip to the diagram and write “Brokenness” in the second circle.  [on screen]

Well, what causes this brokenness? Most of you know the answer to that. Above the first arrow, write, “sin.”  [on screen]

Sin is what causes brokenness in our lives. 

To sin is to depart God’s design and go our own way. We do this on purpose. We willingly choose our own way rather than God’s. 

When we go our own way rather than God’s, it messes up things for us. 

Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.”  [on screen]

You see, our own way is not that good. Our design is not as good as God’s design. In fact, our own way leads to brokenness in our lives. 

In fact, when we go our own way we see brokenness in so many different ways. 

We see broken lives, broken relationships, broken finances, broken futures, broken governments, you name it. Sin creates all kinds of brokenness. 

This is a big problem for humanity because all of us have departed God’s design. All of us have sinned. 

Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” [on screen]

All of us have sinned, and none of us are immune from its brokenness. 

The worst part of our brokenness is that it separates us from God, our Creator. His holiness cannot accept our sinfulness. Because of God’s justice and holiness, we are separated from God and must pay the penalty of our sins. This is the broken situation we are in because of our sin. 

(pause)

You know what we do with our brokenness? We try to fix it. 

We try to fix our brokenness ourselves, but it just doesn’t work. 

We try to fix brokenness with new relationships, exercise, power, drugs, alcohol, food, pornography, money, fast cars, acceptance, popularity, you name it. 

You know what happens when we do that? More brokenness!

On your diagram, you’ll see those squiggly lines. That represents our attempts to fix our brokenness, which leads to further brokenness. [on screen]

We know what it’s like to try and fix something and it only gets worse, don’t we? It’s like the kid who spills orange juice all over the floor, grabs the expensive tablecloth to wipe it up, and just spreads it all over the floor. It makes matters worse! That’s what happens when we try to fix our sin and brokenness on our own. 

We need help, desperately. 

(pause)

Because of our brokenness, we feel we need help fixing things, which is good because we do. However, we can’t fix things on our own. 

God is the only one who can truly fix our brokenness.

That takes us to our final point, and our final circle: 

  1. The Gospel allows us to recover and pursue God’s design. [on screen]

Fill in the point on your notes and then flip to the diagram and write “Gospel” in the third circle. [on screen]

Remember, the word gospel means “good news.” The good news of the Gospel is that even though our lives are broken, God can put them back together. 

The Bible says in John 3:16, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” [on screen]

The Gospel is this: Jesus lived a perfect life and never sinned, He died to pay the punishment for our sin, He rose from the dead, He lives again today, He offers us forgiveness from the punishment of our sin. 

(repeat) 

You see, God made a way to fix our brokenness. 

You might ask, “How can I be fixed by the Gospel? How can I receive the forgiveness of Jesus?”

The Bible says that we must repent and believe. 

Write “repent” and “believe” below the second arrow on your diagram. [on screen]

To repent means to change directions.

When we repent, we start going a new direction in life. Instead of living our own way, we start to live God’s way. We turn away from our way and we turn back to God’s design for our lives. 

To believe means that we trust that what the Bible says about Jesus is true. 

When we believe in Jesus, we put our faith in Him, that He really died and rose from the dead, and that He really can change our lives!

The Gospel can change our lives. The Gospel can fix our brokenness. 

I love this about the Three Circles tool: look what happens when we turn to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We start to recover and pursue God’s design again. 

Write “recover” and “pursue” below the last arrow. [on screen]

Recover means to get something back.

Pursue means to go towards or chase something. 

After God changes our lives, we can then start to live according to God’s design for us.

In the study of theology, we call this sanctification. This is the process of being made holy. 

After we’ve been changed by Jesus we can start to become like God created us to be once again. We can chase after God’s design again and get it back!

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 of those that have been changed by Jesus: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” [on screen]

Jesus makes us new and we can start to live the way God created us to live. 

This is the Gospel story!

The Three Circles is a tool that makes sharing the Gospel story easier. 

The great thing about this tool is that you can do it in two minutes or in thirty minutes. You can write it on your hand, on a napkin, or on a whiteboard. It’s simple and effective. 

How many of you think you could figure out how to use this tool?

The reason I’m taking time to teach you this on a Sunday morning is because it’s so vitally important that we share the Gospel. 

If we can use a tool to make that easier, then praise God!

Here’s our bottom line this week:

Bottom Line: Don’t be a fool, use a Gospel tool! [on screen]

(repeat)

We must not forget to share the Gospel. It is foolish for us to ignore the most important instruction that Jesus has given us: to tell others about Him. 

(pause)

You might say, “Well, I don’t like the Three Circles!” Fine! Use another tool. I can tell you about some others if you need them. 

Just start telling people about Jesus!

Challenge yourself this week in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge:

  1. Practice learning a Gospel tool. [on screen]

Remember, it doesn’t have to be the Three Circles. 

I think this tool has a good balance of simplicity and biblical basis.

However, choose something that you like and you can use to share the Gospel. 

  1. Practice using a Gospel tool. [on screen]

After you’ve chosen a tool, take some time and practice using the tool. 

Practice drawing the Three Circles until you can do it from memory.

Talk through your Gospel tool with a family member or friend. Share it with me!

Take some time this week to use the tool to share the Gospel with someone who may not know Jesus. 

This is all about being and developing disciples who love God, love the church, and love others. Take some time this week to do that. 

Concluding Thoughts:

Remember, tools help us do important tasks. Sharing the Gospel is an important task and Gospel sharing tools can help us. 

Listen, church, if you need follow-up help with any of this, or if you have a question, let me know. I’m your pastor and I want to help you with this. 

(pause)

Some of you even upon hearing this may not know Jesus. Well, now you’ve heard the Gospel story. 

(show final slide with Three Circles) [on screen]

Upon hearing it, you must decide what you will do. 

(Gospel Presentation)

(Closing Prayer)

Invitation Song – Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus 

Benediction:

If you have any sort of spiritual decision that you would like to make, you can contact me or Pastor Richard and we would be glad to talk to you anytime.

Join us tonight at 5:30 to hear about our journey to Israel. WE’ll tell you about our experienced and what God taught us along the way. 

Let’s dismiss by singing the Doxology. 

(Sing Doxology)

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