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The Three Circles

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

“The Three Circles”

Series: Gospel Tools for Gospel People [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

February 20, 2022

Introductory Comments:

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

We use tools to make things easier for us, right? 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. 

These are a pair of wire stripping pliers. They’re great for doing electrical work. Before I had these, I’d use a pocket knife, needle-nosed pliers, and my teeth to prep wire for electrical work. Now, I use these and they work so much better. Tools make things easier. Tools help us do things!

Over the next three weeks, we’re going to discover three “Gospel Tools for Gospel People.” The first tool that we will look at is “The Three Circles.”

Before we go any further, let’s pray together and ask God to teach us as we press into the Gospel and how to share it with others. 


Now, some of you are familiar with the Three Circles because I taught on this in December of 2018. However, many of you are were not here then. In fact, raise your hand if you were not attending church here in December 2018. 

So, for those who haven’t heard about this tool and for those of us who need to brush up, let’s discuss this Gospel Tool for Gospel People.

The three circles is a tool to help explain the Gospel message to someone and it uses three . . . circles to do that. 

So, let’s look at the first circle:

I. God’s Design [on screen]

We have scraps of paper in the pews that you can use to draw this outline on. When you’re out and about, you can use a napkin, a scrap of paper, or whatever. 

On your scrap of paper, you can start drawing the three circles by writing the first circle with the words, “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. 

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. In fact, He has a design for every part of our lives! 

God talks to us about the things that bring us joy!

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

God talks to us about marriage, family, sexuality, and relationships!

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

God talks to us about worship, 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. 

People with whom you share the Gospel need to know that it all starts with God and His perfect design. 

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 us 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 circle:

II. Brokenness [on screen]

Fill out the second point on your notes, and then draw the second circle on your scrap sheet of paper and write “Brokenness” in the circle.  [on screen]

Well, what causes this brokenness? Most of you know the answer to that. Draw an arrow that connects the circles and write, “sin.”  [on screen]

Sin is what causes brokenness in our lives. 

When we share the Gospel, we need to explain what sin is. To sin is to depart from 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. 

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, broken homes, you name it. Sin creates all kinds of brokenness. 

This is a big problem for humanity because all of us have departed from 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. When we share the Gospel with others, they need to know that they are sinners, just like the rest of us once were. 

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. 

Well, 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 drawing, you can draw some squiggly lines to indicate that our attempts to fix our brokenness will only lead 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 trying to fix an auto accident with zip ties and duct tape. It’s really not fixed; in fact, sometimes it looks worse. That’s what happens when we try to fix our sin and brokenness on our own. 

We need help, desperately. 

Because of our brokenness, we need to realize that we need help fixing things. However, we can’t fix things on our own. 

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

That takes us to the third circle: 

III. Gospel [on screen]

Fill in the point on your notes and then draw the third circle on your paper and write “Gospel” in the 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. 


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

Draw an arrow from the second circle to the third and write “repent” and “believe” below the second arrow. [on screen]

To repent means to change directions.

When we repent, we start going in 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. 

Draw an arrow pointing back to the first circle and write “recover” and “pursue” below the 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 theological language, 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 what 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: The Gospel is our only hope to fix our brokenness and restore God’s design[on screen]


Sin is real, brokenness is real, and the Gospel is real! The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes!

So, be prepared to share the Gospel with a lost and dying world!

Challenge yourself this week in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

1. Practice learning the Three Circles. [on screen]

Keep practicing. Start by learning that there are three circles first. Then, learn what is written in the circles. Then, practice remembering the arrows and what goes with them. Then practice saying it over and over. 

2. Practice sharing the Three Circles. [on screen]

Take some time this week and practice sharing the Three Circles. Perhaps you have a family member or coworker who will let you share with them. If that doesn’t work, practice sharing with someone at the church, even one of our pastors. 

Perhaps you really want to step out in faith and share with someone who you know is not a follower of Jesus.

Take some time this week and challenge yourself to be obedient to the Lord’s call for us to share His love and His Gospel.


Remember, tools help us do important tasks. Sharing the Gospel is an important task and Gospel sharing tools can help us. We are Gospel people and we can use Gospel tools to help us. 

Listen, church, if you need follow-up help with any of this, or if you have a question, let your pastors know. We want to help you with this. 

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

(Gospel presentation)

(closing prayer)

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: The text contained in this sermon is solely owned by its author. The reproduction, or distribution of this message, or any portion of it, should include the author’s name. The author intends to provide free resources in order to inspire believers and to assist preachers and teachers in Kingdom work.