Lessons in Discipleship (6) دروس في التلمذة

Table of Contents

LID#6 – The Bridge Illustration

          This is Dr. Ed Hoskins, welcoming you to Lessons in Discipleship, a series designed to help new believers become established in their Christian faith.  Today’s session is Sharing the Gospel Part II – the Bridge Illustration.

First, let me tell you a little about myself. I’m a retired physician. I spent 34 years in family medicine and student health.  I became a Christian 50 years ago and was helped early in my Christian faith by a group called the Navigators, an international non-denominational Christian organization, whose stated goal is “To Know Christ and to Make Him Known.”  I have been on associate staff with that organization since 1980.  Lessons in Discipleship is a compilation of what I learned during that time.  What I learned then I now pass on to you.

Today’s session is Sharing the Gospel Part II – the Bridge Illustration.  Last week we looked at Jesus’ gospel of the kingdom from an informational standpoint. Here is a brief review of that session.  In that session we found that the gospel involves both verbal proclamation as well as demonstration of kingdom power.  The gospel is intended to go to the entire world.  The gospel undergoes demonic opposition and struggle. We saw that the gospel is not simply a sin management plan or a ticket to heaven.  The gospel is both spiritual and social in nature .  Also, we saw that Christ’s gospel of the kingdom as having four parts. These four parts are as follows.

The promised Messiah king has come in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Second, Jesus came to proclaim good news and to make everything new.  Third, Jesus came as God’s suffering servant to die on the cross and rise three days later from the grave.  Fourth, entrance into Jesus’ kingdom is an open invitation yet requires belief, obedience, and allegiance.

Now we examine a practical reaping tool – the Bridge Illustration.  It helps another person understand the gospel plan.  It also shows another person how to make the decision to follow Christ if they so desire.

I usually start with a question.  “Could I share with you a brief illustration of how you can have a relationship with God?”  If they are agreeable I then make a statement like,

“According to the Bible, God created mankind to have a perfect relationship with him.”  Sometimes I draw this out for someone on a napkin. Oftentimes we’re just sitting in a restaurant booth talking together.

I draw Mankind on one side and God on the other, separated by Sin.  “However, every person who has ever lived, starting with Adam, has sinned and has chosen to live a life separate from God.”  Sin is disobedience to God’s laws.  I ask, “How about you?”  Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

“This choice of sin includes me and every human on earth.  It made a permanent gulf between us and a holy God.  Unfortunately, this sin also had another effect, our physical and spiritual death.” Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  You can see the progression as I draw on the napkin.

“But that’s not all the bad news.  After we die because of our separation from God, we must now face God’s judgment.”  Hebrews 9:27 says, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment…” “Now we’re not only separated from God. We have sin, death and judgment facing us.”

“Many people, myself included for the first 18 years of my life, try to bridge this gap to God on their own.  They think they can do this by being a good person or doing good works. Will they be successful?  Let’s look at what the Bible says.”  Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Usually the person will tell me that good works do not allow someone to be good enough to get to God.  I draw a big X through my attempt at good works.

“Only God could intervene and bridge this infinite gap.  Jesus died on the cross.  His death paid for my sins.”  Jesus said, “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  I Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.  He was put to death in the body but made alive by the spirit.” I think this really sums it up very nicely.

Well, this is really good news. Jesus, as God in the flesh, died on the cross in payment for my sins. “The big question is, where are you on this drawing right now?  Are you still on mankind’s side in sin and rebellion, separated from God, hoping and trying to get to him?  Or are you on God’s side having accepted the gift God gave to you when his son Jesus died on the cross in payment for your sins, living in peace and forgiveness, having abundant life?”

Maybe this person in uncertain.  Possibly they think they are in the middle.  “Would you like to know, without a doubt, that you are on God’s side?  You can pray right now and ask God using a simple prayer.” Your prayer can go something like this, “Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and I ask you to forgive me.  I know that you died on the cross so that I could be washed clean from my sins.  Thank you.  I want to make you the Lord of my life and I will trust and follow you.  Everything that I have is now yours.  I ask this in your name, Lord Jesus.  Amen.”

“If you were sincere in your prayer, you are now permanently on God’s side based on the assurance of God’s word, which will never change.”  In I John 5:11-12 it is written, “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He who has the Son has life.  He who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

Let’s summarize what we’ve learned in this brief session.  The Bridge Illustration is simply a reaping tool to keep in your discipleship toolbox.  It’s most helpful when someone has already had an opportunity to read the Bible somewhat and interact with another believer about details of the gospel.

On an additional note, if time is limited, this Bridge Illustration may be shared with another person using a single verse, Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  I’ve used that single verse Bridge Illustration with people a number of times over the years while drawing out the rest of the illustration.

Well, we will see you next time for Lessons in Discipleship when we cover Sharing the Gospel Part III – Asking Questions and Telling Stories.

That wraps up today’s session of Lessons in Discipleship.  Thanks for being a part.  Until next time, keep following Jesus.  He’s worth it.

Leave a Comment