Starting conversations about God and the gospel begin with conversations about meaning, purpose, and answers to life. Next, discuss views of God. In Acts 17, Paul revealed the true God who was unknown to ancient classical world by negating absurd views about God that most people could see and so they could see general revelation of God in creation (cf. Rom 1:18–23). Furthermore, Paul lead his discourse toward the gospel by revealing that God will judge the world by one man giving assurance by resurrecting Him from the dead (Acts 17:30–31).
1. Tell the gospel of Jesus’s death, burial, & resurrection.
On Pentecost following Jesus’s death and resurrection, Peter received the Holy Spirit and proclaimed Jesus’s resurrection with evidences of predictive prophecy, the empty tombs, and eyewitnesses (Acts 2:22–38).
The apostle Paul confirmed the gospel that he was preaching with the first disciples of Christ (1 Cor 15:1–4; Gal 1:11–24). The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for which he built upon this teaching the eternal life that comes by bodily resurrection from the dead (1 Cor 15:1–23). Critical scholars recognize the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1–4 as the original gospel that started the Christian movement — the church. The church began because various eyewitnesses saw, heard, ate, drank, and touched Jesus after He resurrected from the dead.
Those sharing the gospel should also be familiar with basic historical facts about Jesus’s resurrection including Jesus’s honorable burial by Joseph of Arimathea and the women finding the tomb empty (Mark 15:42–16:8). One should also know that the first believers experienced Jesus resurrected from the dead (cf. 1 Cor 15:1–4; Gal 1:11–24). Most notably the lives changed as Peter doubted and believer, James (Jesus’s brother) became a believer, and Paul converted from persecuting the church when they experienced Jesus bodily risen from the dead.
2. Reveal how Jesus’s death and resurrection is the power for resurrection to eternal life.
Jesus revealed that all in the tombs will come forth to either resurrection of life or resurrection of judgment (John 5:28–29). Jesus promised eternal life for those who believe and look on the Son of God, and God will resurrect them on the last day (John 6:39–40, 53–58). The resurrection of the dead is an elementary teaching of Christ (Heb 6:1). The apostles preached the resurrection of the dead because Jesus resurrected (Acts 4:2). Paul preached “Jesus and the resurrection,” so that he gained the attention of the philosophers in Athens (Acts 17:18, 32). When Paul gave his defense before the Jewish council, Paul declared that for the respect of “the hope and the resurrection of the dead” that he was on trial (Acts 23:6). Later, Paul identified himself as a part of “the Way,” and that he had a hope in the resurrection of the just and the unjust (Acts 24:14–15, 21).
Jesus rose from the dead to conquer death so that the faithful will also rise from the dead like Him (Rom 6:5). Because God raised Jesus, He will raise the dead through Jesus (1 Thess 4:14). Resurrection of the body is the hope of eternal life upon Jesus’s return (1 Thess 4:15–16). The dead in Christ will resurrect first (1 Thess 4:16). Paul revealed that Christians will rise as Christ rose by the power of the Holy Spirit who raised Christ (Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 6:14). Jesus is the beginning of the resurrection, the first to resurrect with glory, and the firstfruits of the coming resurrection (1 Cor 15:20, 23–25). Those who resurrect will rise with mortal flesh-and-bone bodies like Christ and put on immortality (1 Cor 15:50–53; 2 Cor 5:4).
3. Share how the gospel changes one’s life by dying to sin, burial in baptism, and rising to new life.
Jesus taught that one must lose one’s life to save it. One must deny oneself and take up one’s cross daily (Luke 9:23–26). When Jesus rose from the dead, He commanded baptism to be saved and become His disciples (Matt 28:19–20; Mark 16:16).
On Pentecost, Peter commanded repentance and baptism for those who believed to receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Act 2:38). Other scriptures attest to the same. Forgiveness is in Jesus’s name, and baptism is in Jesus’s name (Acts 10:43, 47–48). Furthermore, Peter taught that baptism now saves through the resurrection of Jesus Christ for which each believer is born again (1 Pet 3:21; cf. 1:3).
Paul added that those who are baptized are buried with Christ in His death to rise to newness of life and will be united in a resurrection like Christ’s resurrection (Rom 6:4–5). Those who have died with Christ have been freed from sin (Rom 6:6–7). Paul also revealed that those buried with Christ in baptism are raised by God, made alive with Christ, and forgiven of all trespasses (Col 2:12–13).
4. After baptism, lead the new Christians to follow Christ within the church that He built.
Peter preached proofs of Jesus’s resurrection that started the church. The context of teaching the gospel revealed the beginning of the church (Acts 2:14–38). The Lord added those baptized and saved to the church (Acts 2:41, 47; 1 Cor 12:13).
Some people try to start evangelism by teaching things other than the gospel including the nature of Christ’s church. However, Jesus commanded His disciples to make disciples by going, baptizing them, and then teaching them to observe all things that Jesus commanded (Matt 28:19–20). To become a Christian is to become a disciple committed to the community of Christ.
The first Christians were devoted to the doctrine of the apostles and continued in fellowship together. They prayed and partook of the communion together. They shared their belongings and lives together (Acts 2:42–47). Christ expects the same of Christians today (Heb 10:24–25).