How to Give a Gospel Invitation with Jon Burdette
Helping youth leaders empower
students to reach their world.
Helping youth leaders empower
students to reach their world.

The Greg Stier Youth ministry Podcast

episode 31 | December 2023

How to give a gospel invitation with jon burdette

Are your Gospel invitations clear?

In this podcast episode, Greg Stier and Jon Burdette discuss the significance of giving clear and consistent Gospel presentations. They urge pastors and youth leaders to share the Gospel every week for four key reasons:

  1. Avoiding Assumptions

  2. Promoting Evangelism

  3. Equipping for Evangelism

  4. Honoring Jesus

Greg also introduces the “CLEAR” acrostic for a precise Gospel:

  • C: Cross and Christ-centric
  • L: Lays out the whole Gospel story
  • E: Easy to understand
  • A: Always sounds too good to be true
  • R: Relentlessly focuses on faith alone in Christ alone

They both emphasize the centrality of the cross in presenting the Gospel and encourage a clear and unadulterated message of grace.

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

0:00:00.2 Greg Stier: In this episode, we’re gonna talk about how to give an effective invitation. How do you give an invitation where you give people an opportunity to respond to the gospel. In this specific episode, we’re gonna be talking about, how do you give the gospel clearly before you give an actual invitation, but I wanna give you a couple of reminders of why you should consider, if you’re a pastor, a youth leader, giving the gospel every single week as a part of your sermon, you want to talk given that gospel message on a consistent base. I was a pastor for 10 years, started to church March 12, 1989 with my good lifelong friend, Rick Lawn, and we started that church, we made a commitment, we’ll give the Gospel every single week, no matter what, and we did, and we saw as resolved over 60% of our congregation came to Christ as a result, many of as a result of coming to Christ on Sunday morning, people would invite their friends out, people would share the Gospel during the week, but they also invite their friends out because they knew the gospel would be given. So I wanted to just give it a quick summary, of four reasons why we should consider giving a Gospel every week, number one, and you don’t know how many on unsaved people are in your church services or youth group on any given Sunday.

 

0:01:20.1 GS: Romans 10:14 says, How can they call on the one whom they’ve not believed in, how can they believe in the one of whom they’ve not heard? How can they hear without someone preaching to them? Do not commit what I call the sin of assumption, assuming that just because they’re there in youth group, just because they’re there on Sunday morning, just because they’re there in your meeting that they’re automatically saved. As a matter of fact I believe there are most likely unsaved people in every Sunday morning gathering, in every youth group gathering that desperately need to hear the gospel of Christ. I remember once, years ago, I was invited to the University of Colorado, there was a campus ministry, and I was there to speak to them about evangelism. When I got up there, the lady who was leading it said, What are you gonna talk about it? I said, Well, I’ll share the Gospel. And then at the end, I’ll give the Gospel to make sure she goes, Well, everybody here is a Christian. I go well, you don’t actually know that. You hope that, I hope that, but at the end, I’ll give the gospel, give an invitation, she says, Well, I don’t want you to.

 

0:02:21.1 GS: And I’m like, Lady, you’re not giving me an honorarium anyway, but no matter what, everywhere I go, I give the gospel, I give an opportunity for people to respond. She goes, Well, I don’t want you to, I go, Well, I’m gonna do it anyway, she goes, but just know it’s under protest. I’m like, What does that even mean? And so I did my talk, I challenge every believer there, these college students at University of Colorado, give the gospel to your friend, share the good news of Jesus. And then at the end, I said, maybe you’re here today and you don’t know Christ. Let me just explain what that message is, and so I went through the gospel, I had everybody bow their heads and close their eyes, and when everybody bowed their head and closed their eyes, everybody did, except for one person, that leader, she was not gonna bow her head and close her eyes. She was gonna prove to me that everybody there was a Christian, she was just kind of looking around. I said, if that message made sense and you’re putting your faith in Jesus right now, raise your hand, and I’m not kidding you, the lady to her right, the girl to her right raised her hand, the girl to her left raised her hand. She looked both ways, she looked at me and I was like, told you, boom, she had committed the sin of assumption.

 

0:03:23.7 GS: I committed the sin of gloating. She committed the sin of assumption, she assumed that just because they were there in her campus ministry meeting that they were saved. Don’t commit the sin of assumption. Secondly, here’s the second reason to give the Gospel every single week. Your people will start inviting their lost, friends, neighbors, family members and co-workers, if they know you consistently give the Gospel. Your adults, your teenagers, they know every week the Gospel is gonna be given, I can invite my friends and they will hear the gospel, maybe those students, those adults don’t feel quite ready to share the Gospel personally, or maybe they’re sharing the Gospel, but they want something to put them over the edge and they know they invite him to church or youth group or that meeting with the, clearly hear the gospel. We see this in John 1:45 and 46, Philip found Nathaniel and said to him, We have found him Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. Nathaniel said to him, Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Phillip said to him, Come and see.

0:04:27.2 GS: The Philippine had heard the good news. And he’s inviting Nathaniel, hey, come and see. Come in, see the messiah, come in here. The good news. And we gotta be able to do that, we gotta be able to help our adults, our students know that any time they have a lost friend, if they invite them to church or youth group, they can hear the gospel clearly. I remember a couple of years ago, I was preaching in a large church, and the pastor who invited me in, I was in the congregation, sometimes they take the Sunday off when I come in and preach, but he was in congregation and he had actually, He and his wife had been working on a lost person to come to church, and it was happened to be that day that lost person came to church, and afterward, the pastor came up to me, he goes, You know what, we’ve been inviting this person out to church for years, and this was a Sunday that came, and he goes, Great, I know how people feel now, when they invite their lost friends out to church, hoping and praying that I give the Gospel clearly. I said, Man, exactly, so give the gospel clearly and give it every single week.

 

0:05:34.5 GS: The third reason you should, again, why you should give the gospel an invitation every week, the members of your congregation will learn how to give the Gospel by hearing you do it again and again, every week. When your people, when your teenagers hear, you give the gospel every week, they learn in the process how to give the Gospel themselves. Ephesians 4:11 to 12, so Christ himself gave the apostles the prophecy, the Angels, the pastors and the teachers to equip his people for works of service, so the body of Christ may be built up. One of your jobs as a pastor, as an evangelist, is to equip your people to do the works of service when they hear you give the gospel every week, you’re equipping them, to share the goals. But clearly, I’ll never forget, a guy named Rich Sullivan, came to the church I pastored. He told me he’d led someone to Christ. I said Rich, where did you go through our van from training? He goes No, I hear you give the Gospel every single week, so I learned how to give the Gospel consistently.

 

0:06:35.5 GS: And a fourth reason, not the final reason, but it’s a fourth reason to give the Gospel consistently is it honors Jesus. 2nd Timothy 2:8-9, remember Jesus Christ raised from the dead. To send it from David, this is my gospel for which I’m suffering to the point of being chained like a criminal, but God’s Word is not chained. Remember Jesus Christ raised from the dead. Remember Jesus Christ, Christ in him crucified. When you give the Gospel in your sermon, you are honoring Jesus Christ, so give the Gospel, give it every single week, and I challenge you also give an invitation on a consistent basis, there’s different ways to do that, but some sort of invitation. Okay, today I’m gonna talk to you and I wanna say this, I wanna help you make sure you’re giving the gospel, not just every single week, but you’re giving the gospel clearly, every single week.

 

0:07:33.2 GS: I’d venture to tell you this, that 90% of the gospel presentations I hear in conferences, evangelists that reaches and many churches across the nation are at best unclear, if not false. And I know that’s a big accusation, but I stand by it, and I’ll tell you this, I usually cringe when I hear the typical evangelist or typical pastor give the Gospel and give their invitation, Why do I cringe? I cringe for the last person who is not understanding what the preacher is saying. I cringe for the confusion in their soul and what they must do to be saved, I cringe for the integrity of the gospel message, which has been watered down, oftentimes are added to. I cringe for the Lord Jesus Christ who’s been dishonored by a message that distracts from his finished work on the cross and make salvation about saying a prayer or walk in an aisle or checking off a list. And I cringe for that preacher who will have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and give an account for the clarity of the message, they preach.

 

0:08:39.0 GS: This is a very serious issue. So before, in the next episode, we talk about how to give an actual invitation, I wanna talk to you about making sure that you give the clear Gospel. You know, there’s a whole book, the book of Galatians, that is written to the Galatians believers to warn them against accepting and preaching a false gospel, and that was a gospel that required one little act, the legalistic Judaizers, those who had professed faith in Christ, but also still we’re holding on to Judaism, say, Listen the Gentiles were coming to God. They must be required to be circumcised, faith is not enough. I want you to add one little act, circumcision. You know what, you know how strongly Paul reacted. Paul, who himself was most likely a member of the Sanhedrin, definitely a Pharisee, a Pharisee as regard to legalistic righteousness, he was right at the top of his class. He came to Christ, he came, he understood grace, grace overtook him like a flood, and he became very clear on the gospel that we’re saved by faith alone in Christ. He felt so strongly against those who were trying to add one little act of circumcision as a requirement to be safe in addition to faith, in Galatians 5:12, he gives this epic line, I wish they go the whole way and emasculate themselves.

 

0:10:07.3 GS: Okay, this is a pretty serious issue. Paul is saying, you had one thing. You ruin the whole thing. So we must give the gospel clearly. Paul wrote to the believers in Colossians 4:4, Pray that I may proclaim it clearly as I should. Now, at Dare 2 Share, we’ve explained the several different ways, but one of the most popular ways we explain it is with water, have three different glasses of water here, one is a clear glass of pure water, right? We’ll let this represent the clear Gospel of grace, we wanna offer our people, we wanna offer teenagers, we wanna offer everyone the clear Gospel of Grace, nothing added. Pure simple grace gospel. There are some gospels though, that are muddy, right? We call this the muddy presentation. Now, if you’re dying of thirst and you see a mud hole with a little water in it, you chances are 50-50, you may drink it and survive, you may drink it and get bacteria and die, right? So we don’t want a muddy presentation of the gospel. These are more like terms. We’re gonna talk about this a little bit, but terms that Christians often use that really make the gospel unclear is not a false gospel, but it’s an unclear Gospel, then there’s another Gospel presentation that looks clear, but you add those works, it’s added deeds.

 

0:11:47.1 GS: It could be baptism, it could be whatever that we think represent to clear gospel, but really it is poison, and we wanna make sure we are definitely not serving the poisonous message. So is your Gospel clear with nothing added? And that’s what we wanna be able to present to our students to everyone, the clear Gospel of grace. So of course, I’m not there to share, so I got an acrostic for a clear. How do you know what a clear gospel is? C-L-E-A-R. I almost forgot how to spell clear, but I remember. C, cross and Christ-centric. We’ll talk about that. I’m just gonna go over these real quick. L, lays out the whole story of the gospel. E, easy to understand. A, always sounds too good to be true. And R, relentlessly focuses on faith alone in Christ alone. So let’s break those down.

 

0:12:44.8 GS: Cross and Christ-centric. Paul writes to the Corinthians, he says these words in 1st Corinthians 15:3-4. For what I received, I passed on to you as a first importance. That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised under third day, according to the scripture. So basically he’s saying, listen, this is priority number one, I received that I was trained in this message, and I pass it on to you and its first importance. Priority number one, numero uno. Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, he was buried, he rose from the dead three days later. According to the scripture. So when we present the gospel, it must be Christ and cross-centric. I’m gonna remember the cross. We’re having acrostic that I’ll go over in a little bit. That that lays out the whole story of the gospel, but when I used to train students how to share the gospel, I said, Listen, if you forget everything else. Remember the cross. Take them to the cross of Christ. I just wanna say this, you would be shocked how many times I have heard evangelist, preachers, pastors, youth leaders give the Gospel without even mentioning the cross, or maybe just briefly mention it. That makes no sense to me. That’s like telling a joke but forgetting the punch line, you got to tell the story of Christ and in crucified, Paul put it this way, I determined to know nothing among you except for Christ and him crucified.

 

0:14:28.2 GS: When you forget everything else. Remember the cross. If you forget Christ and the cross, you are not preaching the gospel. The substitutionary atonement of Christ is gotta be right at the center of your gospel presentation, yesterday, I heard a sermon, I always pray for the pastors when they’re preaching, Lord, help them to give the gospel clearly. Well, this pastor preached the gospel. Preached the cross, talked about Jesus dying in our place for our sin, he said, You know, you don’t earn your salvation, it’s not a lay away program. Where you make payments on it? It is paid in full. You receive it simply by faith. And I’m like, Amen. Amen. Amen. I went up to that pastor afterward, I go. That was a clear, clear gospel, because it was focused on Christ and the cross. The church I attend in Arvada, Colorado. When you sit there in the audience, you see a light, a spotlight that goes over to the edge of the stage, and there’s a huge cross, and I thought how fitting that there’s a spotlight on the cross. Make sure when you give the Gospel, there’s a spotlight on Christ and him crucified.

 

0:15:47.0 GS: So C, it’s crossed and Christ centric. Secondly, L, lays out the whole story of the gospel. Acts 20:27, The Apostle Paul said, I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. So you gotta tell the whole story of the gospel, the whole story of the gospel, is the whole story of the Bible. As a matter of fact, at Dare 2 Share, we use a gospel acrostic, which I referred to, but it literally tells the whole story of the gospel from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, G-O-S-P-E-L. G is God created us to be with Him. We see this with Genesis 1 and 2, with the story of Adam and Eve in the garden. Perfect fellowship with each other. Perfect fellowship with God. God created us to be with him. Oh, our sins separate us from God. Genesis 3, when Adam and Eve eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And this is the passage we call the fall, because they fell spiritually away from God, they spiritually died and they rebelled against God.

 

0:16:53.6 GS: And let me just make this quick point, you’re sharing the gospel, you gotta talk about sin, because if people don’t know about sin, they don’t know that they are sinners, they won’t understand that they need a savior, if somebody doesn’t know they’re drowning, they’re not gonna need a rescuer right? So they need to know about sin, our sin separates us from God, Genesis 3, as his sins cannot be removed by good deeds, we see this from Genesis 4, from Malachi 4, all through the Old Testament, the blood, the sweat and the tears, the blood of the Old Testament sacrifices, the sweat of the Israelites trying to obey the 613 old testament commands, the tears of contrition when they fail to keep those commands, all of that was an endless cycle of desperation because there was no amount of blood from the sacrifices, no amount of obedience to those commands, no amount of contrition when they fail to keep those commands that would ever remove the stain of their sin, as I say often, our good deeds are like putting white frosting on a bird, cake, sins cannot be removed by good deeds.

 

0:18:03.0 GS: So, P, paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. We see this in Matthew, Mark and Luke, that Jesus died in our place, for our sins, he substituted his life for ours. He took our punishment upon himself. He took our sins upon himself, and He died in our place for our sins. Read in Isaiah 53, I just was in my devotions this morning, that the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of all other souls. Jesus died in our place for our sins and rose from the dead. Then E, everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. We see this in the Book of John. Believe, believe, believe, believe, believe, believe, believe, that means to trust in or rely upon what Jesus did for you. Rely on him based on his finished work on the cross, and you receive eternal life, and our life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever. And we see this from Acts through the book of Revelation, it’s not just the quality of life. It’s the quantity of life.

 

0:19:02.0 GS: It is an eternal life that is relational. We don’t get it after we die, we get as soon as we believe and we find our new identity, belonging and purpose in Christ and his cause, and that means we’ll be in heaven someday, but we have a purpose on earth today.

 

0:19:18.3 GS: So tell the whole story of the Gospel. A clear Gospel lays out the whole story. Is like when you go into a court as a witness and the bailiff makes you put your hand on the Bible and say. I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. As preachers, we need to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So tell the whole story, and the gospel of Christ is an easy way, almost like quality control to make sure you’re telling the whole story of the Gospel from the beginning to the end. The E, in the clear acrostic is easy to understand. Is your Gospel so easy to understand that a child could comprehend it? I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t come to Christ for a long time because I was confused by terms, the term let Jesus into your heart, that kept me from really understanding the Gospel, ’cause I did not understand what that meant. They say Jesus is standing at the door of your heart. Just not gonna let him in. And I would be like, come on Jesus. Are you there over. Are you actually in my heart? Not three times on my pancreas, if you made it, I thought if I cough too hard, There goes Jesus, I’ve got a heart transplant, I’m going straight to hell.

 

0:20:39.9 GS: Unless the guy I got the heart transplant from a Jesus in Israel, but maybe a Buddhist, I didn’t know I was so confused because that made no sense to me by the way, that term let Jesus in your heart is nowhere, nowhere in the New Testament. Somebody would say, what about Revelation 3:20, where Jesus writes to the church of Laodicea, behold I’m standing at the door and knocking, if you hear that knock, open it up, I’ll come fellowship with you, he’s talking to believers. Who closed him out and said, you open that door and I wanna have fellowship with you. I’m banging on the door as a believer, that’s not talking to unbelievers, so make sure we’re clear in our terms, 2 Corinthians 11:3, Paul writes, but I fear lest somehow as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. You wanna offer the clear Gospel, easy to understand. Not the money gospel. Definitely not the false gospel. Let me tell you some things that are unclear, phrases like, just say this prayer and you’ll be saved.

 

0:21:54.2 GS: No, I’m not against the sinner’s prayer, I will lead people through the sinner’s prayer, but I always say, saying a prayer, it doesn’t save you. Your faith in Christ, that saves you. Well, there’s other terms like, Hey, you gotta turn from your sin before you come to Jesus, think about how confusing that is, if I could turn from my sin before I came to Christ. Why would I need to come to Christ? And instead, we come to Christ as sinners, and he turns us from our sin, He begins a process, still turning me from my sin, it’s a lifelong process. We’re not fully turn from our sin until we’re in the presence of Christ and our glorified body, but that begins at the moment of salvation, flows from no salvation, so we wanna make sure that we’re giving the Gospel clearly, I’ll give you a quick little illustration, every Gospel presentation either focuses on a ladder or a cross… Actually, let me put it this way, every Gospel presentation either focuses on a ladder or a chair, so ladder has run, You gotta take the stairway, the ladder to heaven. Islam has got five runs, so five pillars of Islam. Buddhism, I think it’s got eight different runs, eight different things you have to do to make it to wherever.

 

0:23:14.9 GS: Hinduism has its run. Mormonism has its runs, every world religion has its runs, only Christianity is about a chair, not a ladder. What I mean by that is, what do you do with a chair like I’m doing with this couch, I am resting on the couch, I’m putting my full weight on this couch, in the same way you sit on a chair, you rest on a chair, you trust in a chair, whenever I hear the Gospel presentation. And it’s more than one thing, I think. Okay. They’re a ladder approach. If they’re not saying Put your faith alone in Christ alone, then they have a later approach to salvation, you gotta turn try, cry, Believe, receive, whatever, all those different things become a ladder approach as opposed to resting on Christ and Him crucified, putting our full weight on him. Okay, the A in the clear, acrostic is always, sounds too good to be true. Pirates 3:3-5, at one time, we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived, and slave by all kinds of passions and pleasures, we lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.

 

0:24:28.3 GS: But when the kindness and love of our God and Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy, not because of the ladder, but because of the chair, so to speak. We’re saved by His mercy through Christ worked for us on the cross, and we fully rest in Him. Let me just tell you, if your gospel doesn’t sound too good to be true, it’s not good, and it’s not true. Even the apostle Paul was accused of preaching this message, it said, Well, hey, some are saying in Romans, he says this in Romans 3, some say that, Hey, we’re preaching this message. Why not? Since so the grace may abound, their condemnation is just. He wasn’t saying grace was a license to sin, but he is saying that every time you preach grace, it’s gonna be falsely accused of being a license sent Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones, one of the Prince of Preachers, great preacher. Said this, If you’re a gospel, it’s not falsely accused of being a license to sin, it’s not the Gospel of Christ. So our gospel message sounds too good to be true.

 

0:25:36.9 GS: What did Jesus say? What was the illustration Jesus used with Nicodemus before John 3:16?

 

0:25:44.4 GS: ‘Cause Jesus gives a really specific Old Testament illustration to illustrate salvation. John 3: 14-16, just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son. Whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. What Jesus is referring to is the Old Testament story in Numbers 21:4-9, where the Israelites were judged for their incest and sin of complaining, so God unleashed venomous snakes in their midst to kill them off, but Moses once again interceded on their behalf. Here was God’s solution in Numbers 21:8-9, the Lord said to Moses, make a snake and put it up on a pole, anyone who is bitten can look at it and live, so Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. This is the illustration that Jesus gives of salvation, just like that snake was on a pole, people looked at it and lived Jesus Christ is gonna be hung up on a cross, those who looked to him, we’ll live.

 

0:26:57.6 GS: God’s solution was simple. Look at the fake snake and live. In the Old Testament. And this is the exact illustration Jesus use, look and live, believe and receive. That’s it. That is all. Now, I want you to imagine some of the religious leaders in Moses day saying, No, that’s way too easy, the Israelites must really look. They must look hard at that snake, they must look so hard that their eyes turn red because if they don’t bursa small blood vessel in the white of their eyes, then the look that they gave was not a genuine look. Afterward, they must produce fruit in keeping with that look, because if they did not produce that fruit, they fake looked, they never looked at the snake on the pole to begin with, they were fake looking. Absurd. What Moses tells, the Israelites is Look and live, what we tell the Lost is look and live, look at Jesus and him crucified, and live for God so love the world that he gave us one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life, but don’t they need to believe hard though, they need to believe so hard that they’re willing to blank, they are on the blank…

 

0:28:14.1 GS: No, they need to believe in Jesus to truly put their faith upon him, some people say, Well, that’s too easy. I say this, how easy is it to put my full weight and my eternal destiny in the hand, some nail-pierced hands of somebody I’ve never actually met physically, it’s so easy a child could do it. And it’s so challenging, a religious person could choke on it, and I encourage you to read Charles Swindoll classic book, Grace Awakening, especially the third chapter, entitled isn’t Grace risky. If your gospel doesn’t sound too good to be true, it’s not the Gospel. And finally, how do we give the clear Gospel. The R is relentlessly focuse on faith alone in Christ alone, Romans 3:22, This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, that Latin turned is a Latin term that fueled the reformation, sola fide faith alone. That was mind-blowing, because at the time, the Roman Catholic Church it was not by faith alone, they considered that message and aftermath, and they were like, You have faith plus repentance faith confession, faith plus whatever. So when when Martin Luther preached, not by faith alone and Christ alone, that was a revolutionary message, and it’s just as revolutionary today, we are saved by faith alone in Christ alone.

 

0:29:44.5 GS: Now, here’s the question I always get. What about repentance? Is repentance necessary for salvation? And he answers this, yes, it is absolutely necessary for salvation, but it is not a two-step process, repentance is not separate from faith. Now, when you look in scripture, sometimes you’ll see it commands us to repent, sometimes you’ll see it commands us to believe, sometimes it commands us to repent and believe, but I’m convinced that repentance and faith are synonymous, they’re not two sides of the same coin, they’re the same exact coin. When you repent, you believe when you believe, you repent. Because if that were not the case, then the Apostle John preached an incomplete gospel. The Book of John is the only book in the Bible written on unbelievers. John 20:31 says, These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life through his name. So here’s something interesting, 98 times the word believe is used as a sole requirement for salvation in the Book of John, in how many times the word repent is used? Zero. That means If repent was a separate step from faith, then John the Apostle, preached an incomplete gospel, I refuse to believe that the book of John is incomplete. Matter of fact that also means that Jesus preached an incomplete gospel.

 

0:31:17.0 GS: In John 3:16, the Nicodemus and I refused to believe Jesus preached an incomplete gospel. So what is the answer? The answer is really understanding the definition of the word repentance. The word repent comes from the Greek word “metanoia” it literally means a change of mind, that change the way that we’re thinking, and of course, a change of mind which should flow to that is a changed life. So when John the Baptist preaches repent for the kingdom God is at hand. He’s saying, he’s literally saying, Change your mind. For the kingdom of God is at hand, I want you to change the way that you’re thinking. Change your perspective. My buddy Doug Holiday, who’s the Executive Director of Sun Life North America, has a great definition of repentance. Repentance is a change of mind about sin, self and Savior, it’s a change of mind about sin, and that it’s a barrier between us and a holy God. Is a change of mind about self, and that there’s nothing we can do to remove that barrier. It’s a change of mind about the Savior, and that Jesus was the only one qualified to remove that barrier and that He did so at the cross.

 

0:32:26.9 GS: I love that definition. Changing her mind about sin, self and Savior, there’s nothing I can do to remove that sin in and of myself, matter of fact, the Savior is the only one qualified to remove that barrier between me and a holy God. You think about it, every world system is based on what we do, and Jesus is calling for us to repent. Change your mind about it being dependent on you, and put your faith in me and me alone, come to me as a sinner, totally unable to save yourself and trust in me alone, and I will save you. A Dan fanning, who’s the Associate Academic Dean and Assistant Professor at Word of Life Bible Institute, was teaching actually… My daughter goes to Word of Life Bible Institute, great, great program. But he was teaching in class and she sent me this picture of a sticky note that she had took and put it on our computer, repenting is changing your mind to move from a work space system to a faith-based system by believing in faith in Christ the man, I love that. Changing our perspective that we can save ourselves, and we’re changing our mind that only Christ can save us, we see this unique relationship between repentance and faith in Acts 11:17 and 18, after Gentile has received the Holy Spirit, Peter has kind of given an account and recounting the story of a gentiles miraculously received the Holy Spirit, he’s presenting this to the Apostles, and we see how the apostles and Peter equate faith and repentance as the same coin, as the same thing.

 

0:34:10.2 GS: Acts 11:17 and 18. They said, So if God gave them the Gentiles the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Who was I to think I could stand in God’s way? When they heard this, the apostles, they had no further objections and praised God saying, so then even to Gentiles, God is granted repentance, that leads to life. So right there, Peter is talking about, hey, he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostles say, God’s even granted to the Gentiles repentance, that leads to life, repentance and faith. When you believe in Christ and trust in Him, you repent and when you repent, you believe in Christ. What is a result of this repentance and faith? The new believer becomes a new creation, old things have passed away, all things have become new. But we must not inadvertently add to the Gospel by making repents of work, if you say repentance, you have to turn from your sin and then come to Christ, we’ve immediately moved to the ladder, and now we’re adding runs to the simple gospel of grace. Now, we change our mind, we repent, we put our faith in Christ alone, because we know we’re sinners who need a savior, and once we trust in Him, we rest in that chair, we rest on the cross fully in Him, He changes us, and that turning from sin flows out of a changed heart.

 

0:35:38.7 GS: Here’s how the Great Reformer Martin Luther put it, no one can be good and do good, unless God’s grace first makes him good, and no one becomes good by works, but good works are done only by him who is good, just so the fruits do not make the tree, but the tree bears the fruit, therefore all works, no matter how good they are and how pretty they look are in vain, if they do not flow from Grace, turning from sin. Serving Christ is making Jesus the king in every area of our life. Flows from our salvation, and our salvation comes from faith alone in Christ alone by grace. So when sharing the Gospel, you wanna take them back to faith alone, in Christ alone as a key to salvation. Again, it’s so simple, a child could do it, we wanna present the clear Gospel with nothing added. I wanna illustrate this by telling one story, and then I’m gonna invite my guest to interact with me about this, when I was 19 years old, I had the privilege of preaching at the Denver Rescue Mission. Now, the Denver Rescue Mission, like a lot of rescue missions, if you wanna stay the night there, if you’re homeless, if you wanna eat their food, you gotta sit through the sermon, so they are looking for preachers all the time.

 

0:37:03.9 GS: So they took this 19-year-old teenager and allowed me to preach to, I don’t know, 150 homeless people, many of them alcoholics, many of them on drugs. But I preached through the sermon, the Rescue Mission staff is just kind of sitting along the side of the room, I’m trying to keep everybody’s attention, so I thought, Man, I’m gonna say this, how many of you have heard, if you wanna get saved, you gotta give up your drinking, you’re smoking, your alcohol and all your sexual sins, they kinda raise their hands. A lot of them, again, just drunk or high, were in that. I said, I wanna tell you something a little bit different today. And the room got quiet. And the Rescue Mission staff got nervous. I said, I wanna tell you this, if you wanna go to Heaven, Keep all your alcohol, keep all your drug, keep all your cigarettes, keep all your sexual sins, and one guy yelled amen, this guy is good, he’s good, and the Rescue Mission staff, no kidding.

 

0:38:03.6 GS: They stood up and started whispering to each other, ’cause they’re trying to think how to get me off stage, and I say, you keep all your sins, and you come to Christ and His cross, totally unable to save yourself from those sins, and you kneel at the foot of the cross, recognizing you’re a sinner in need of a savior, and you put your faith in Christ alone and trust that He died in your place for all your sins, and He will forgive you for all your sins, and He will give you eternal life because He rose from the dead three days later, and He will transform you for the inside out, He’ll give you the power and desire to turn from those sins, but you can’t have the power, you can have the desire until you have Jesus, and you can’t have Jesus until you put your faith in Him and His finished work on the cross.

 

0:38:52.0 GS: The rescue mission staff sat back down and seven men that night indicated faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the power of the clear gospel of grace. So when you preach the gospel before you give the invitation, give the gospel clearly. All right. Kind of ranting and raving here, but I got my friend and fellow evangelist, Jon Burdette are on, and we’re going to talk a little bit about this. Jon, welcome to this episode.

 

0:39:26.1 Jon Burdette: Yeah, great to be on here with you, Greg. Man, you’re preaching. I’m getting excited over here. Grace is something to be excited about. Amen. It’s great.

 

0:39:34.1 GS: Yeah.

 

0:39:35.0 JB: It’s great.

 

0:39:35.2 GS: Well, I know these are given a clear gospel, something we’ve talked about again and again, just as we are going through these points, what are some things that pop to your mind, maybe questions or comments, thoughts, let’s go through.

 

0:39:46.3 JB: Yeah, I love it. I love just talking about the simple, clear, pure gospel message.

 

0:39:52.4 GS: While you’re doing that, I’m going to have some clear, clear wine.

 

0:39:52.5 JB: Yeah, drink the clear one. Make sure you drink the clear one. Right. But I think we talk about the pure message. It starts with pure motives too. And you’ve written some great articles about this because I know you have many others watching and listening probably have been in evangelistic meetings where it was very muddy. Speaking of the glasses, like I remember one in particular, I was at this meeting and it was like, “Hey, if you wanna get… And it was imitation time. If you wanna get closer to God, raise your hand.” I’m like, I’ll raise my hand. I think everybody in the building probably raised their hand. And then the next thing was, well look at all the people that’s come to know Christ as Savior. Like, wait a second, I didn’t get saved. And that’s just another example of, that’s confusing, that’s unclear and can start with impure motives of why are we doing this.

 

0:40:43.5 GS: Trying to bolster our numbers. And so it’s easy to make that invitation time for the believer and unbeliever.

 

0:40:51.0 JB: Yes.

 

0:40:52.4 GS: So we can see more hands go up or more people flood the aisle or have more cards turned in or get more text messages. You’re right. That’s an easy temptation.

 

0:41:00.6 JB: Well, and so a clear message has to start with a clear motive. Clear conscious, clear motive, pure motives about that. And I just love everything that you said and we’ve talked about before about the gospel of John used 98 times the word believe, by the way, only used 50 more times than all the other 26 books of the New Testament. But John uses it 98 times and the only book written to show how people can be eternally saved. So he made it simple. I know I’ve talked to friends sometimes and yeah, but the gospel, it’s deep and it’s so rich, and I get it. You never graduate from it as a believer, but there’s something to be said about salvation and discipleship. There’s a little different there. Believers are born again, but disciples are made. Right? And so as far as the gospel is concerned to lost people and we all were at one time, it had to be simple.

 

0:41:53.6 JB: It had to be clear for us to understand it and put our trust in Christ. And so I love that because the power is in the gospel and just us simply believing not… It’s not in our strong, how strong our faith is. When you’re talking about do I look hard enough? John uses that illustration as well as receiving like a gift. But it’s not in how strong our faith is, it’s the object of our faith. It’s about Jesus and so like a weak faith and a strong boat. I heard this said the other day, I can’t remember who said it, weak faith and a strong boat is better than strong faith in a boat with holes in it. It’s the object of your faith.

 

0:42:34.7 GS: Lee Strobel says, would you rather have great faith on thin ice or a little faith on thick ice?

 

0:42:40.8 JB: There you go. Same concept.

 

0:42:41.6 GS: Same idea.

 

0:42:42.9 JB: Same idea.

 

0:42:43.3 GS: Yeah.

 

0:42:43.6 JB: So it’s that simply that simple belief. But I think you already kind of answered this, but one question. We’ve talked about this offline before. One question I always talk with folks about wanted to ask this too, because I want everybody watching and listening. I think some of them like me at one point where some of this stuff, you just do it. You do it by mistake, unintentionally. It’s tradition that’s been passed down and you’re just the word repent. I’d like to get to that in just a moment, but why do you think it’s so hard for so many people to accept that salvation is free? I think you kind of already answered that, but just to kind of hit that directly. Why is it so hard?

 

0:43:23.8 GS: I think there’s two reasons. One is I think there’s something in us that wants to earn it. Even if it’s a little bit.

 

0:43:32.4 JB: Yes.

 

0:43:33.8 GS: If there’s one thread of works on your grace sweater, the lost person will go for that. And we will… We like to give them something to do. We wanna make sure grace is not abused. So I think sometimes we bolster it to make it like, well, if you really, some people say, well, grace is, salvation is free, but it’ll cost you everything you have. I was like, I don’t understand what that means. It’s like somebody that says, well, I’m the chief amongst equal. I go, no, you can’t be the chief amongst equals. You’re either chief or you’re equal. You can’t be both.

 

0:44:05.9 JB: Take your pick.

 

0:44:08.7 GS: But I do think there’s something in our flesh that wants to add something. I also think some of it is muscle memory. I don’t think the average pastor or evangelist gets up and says, I’m gonna pervert the gospel today. Right.

 

0:44:22.8 JB: Right, exactly.

 

0:44:24.1 GS: I think some of these are just terms that have been handed down to us, generation to generation, and nobody is stopping to say, well, hey, the emperor is naked here.

 

0:44:34.3 JB: Exactly.

 

0:44:36.2 GS: This is Not an accurate message here.

 

0:44:38.8 JB: Exactly.

 

0:44:39.0 GS: Where is let Jesus in your heart anywhere in the New Testament, or how could I actually turn from a sin before I come to Christ?

 

0:44:49.9 JB: Yeah.

 

0:44:50.2 GS: We gotta put it in the right order. We come to Christ and then he begins to turn us from our sin right away.

 

0:44:54.3 JB: Yes.

 

0:44:54.4 GS: He’s actively working to sanctify his children.

 

0:44:58.1 JB: Absolutely, absolutely.

 

0:44:58.9 GS: But we wanna make it almost like we maybe one rung on our ladder.

 

0:45:05.9 JB: Yes. I got to have something.

 

0:45:07.0 GS: Something.

 

0:45:07.3 JB: Something.

 

0:45:09.9 GS: It’s hard for us to believe it’s just a chair.

 

0:45:11.9 JB: Yeah. And I just think that’s great. That’s great. I think it goes back to our own sin nature. It’s that pride that goes back to the garden. When Adam and Eve were kicked out and well, they were about to be kicked out. They realized they were naked and then here come the fig leaves. First sign of work, salvation. I gotta do something. And we always think we gotta do something. And so that’s great. And the gospel acrostic is fantastic. Ever since I got introduced to Dare 2 Share and the acrostic years ago as a youth pastor, senior pastor, now an evangelist. I use it every time. I use it when I train, I use it when I preach. I’m coaching, as you know, I’m coaching a group of pastors in California, the Coachella Valley area right now. We just did a session through the acrostic a couple months ago and they’re like, you know what? We’re just gonna do this. Like every invitation. We’re just gonna use this. I’m like, amen. Because, and the reason why they say is this is clear that way they’re never going to worry about, did I not make it clear? Let’s memorize this, but then also like verbal like make it personal. Make it your own. I Just a robot reciting it, but then verbalizing that.

 

0:46:20.1 GS: It’s funny, ’cause I can always pick out pastors that went to Dare 2 share when they were teenagers or brought teenagers to Dare 2 share that they’ll make it their own words, but they hit all the points.

 

0:46:31.1 JB: Yeah.

 

0:46:32.8 GS: And really, I said earlier, it becomes a sort of quality control, making sure you’re telling the whole story and focusing on the cross of Christ. And I mean talking about sin.

 

0:46:42.8 JB: Absolutely.

 

0:46:43.8 GS: Just because we say we saved by faith alone doesn’t mean we don’t talk about sin. We need to talk about sin.

 

0:46:51.1 JB: Yeah.

 

0:46:51.7 GS: People need to be convicted. They need to sense the Holy Spirit conviction. Man, I’m a sinner. I’m in need of a savior.

 

0:46:54.0 JB: Yeah.

 

0:46:55.7 GS: We need to be that John the Baptist that made Herod nervous.

 

0:47:00.1 JB: That’s right.

 

0:47:00.3 GS: About that and be the apostle Paul who made was Agrippa or fest nervous.

 

0:47:05.6 JB: Yes.

 

0:47:06.4 GS: We preach in self-control, judgment Day.

 

0:47:07.0 JB: Exactly.

 

0:47:08.7 GS: Heaven, hell, all that stuff.

 

0:47:09.9 JB: Yeah. That’s right.

 

0:47:12.8 GS: To prepare them for the reception of God’s grace to faith alone in Christ.

 

0:47:14.2 JB: That’s exactly right. That’s so good. I just I think about even there’s a time, I’m wanna share too long of a story here, but just many times have I had to share the acrostic personally when I share the gospel, many times when I’ve done that, it tells the stories. You’re saying from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, that’s just become my personal way of sharing personally and one on one. And there was a lady named Emily once on an airplane, it’s a great time to share your faith. You’re 30,000 feet high. Nobody’s going anywhere. And so it was a wild situation though. She was a Muslim on her way to Austin, Texas to meet a man from Morocco who’s a Muslim that she’s gonna meet for the first time and marry that night. That don’t happen every day. But her name was Emily. And I got to asking questions and she was like, I was raised Catholic.

 

0:48:09.4 JB: That didn’t work out. I went to church with some Christian friends when I was a young adult that didn’t work out. Now I’m Muslim. And so what bothered me was I ended up sharing the gospel with her and she said, that’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. And unsolicited. She says, if I had heard this four years ago, I believe I’d be a Christian right now. She said that and I was like, it’s not too late. But she said she had never heard all those times that she was going to church with her Christian friends. They never told her, and she never heard a clear gospel message at the churches that she was attending. Like Heartbreaking.

 

0:48:45.5 GS: Grace obliterates the workspace approach. You know what the word Islam means?

 

0:48:52.6 JB: I’ve heard this before, but I’ve forgotten. What is it?

 

0:48:54.7 GS: It means submission.

 

0:48:55.8 JB: Submission. That’s right. Yeah. There you go.

 

0:48:58.9 GS: I think we have a lot of Christian Islam that we make it more about our submission to Christ, our efforts to please him, our do, stop, try cry than receiving grace.

 

0:49:13.1 JB: That’s right.

 

0:49:15.0 GS: That we’re saved simply by grace.

 

0:49:17.5 JB: Through faith.

 

0:49:18.7 GS: But that grace, I always wanted to say this, it’s not a license to sin.

 

0:49:21.6 JB: Yes.

 

0:49:22.1 GS: It’s a reason to serve.

 

0:49:23.4 JB: Exactly.

 

0:49:23.9 GS: So when I meet somebody that claims Christ, but they’re living like sin, I go, okay, one of two things is true. Either you never put your faith in Christ or you did put your faith in Christ and you’re absolutely miserable because you have the Holy Spirit inside. You convicting and you’re gonna stand before God, the judgment of Christ given account, and maybe all your deeds will burn up. You will be saved yet as one escaping through the flames like one Corinthians three, but you’re gonna enter into heaven with nothing.

 

0:49:51.0 JB: Exactly.

 

0:49:53.2 GS: To show for your life except for that foundation which is Christ. And so just because we’re saved by grace through faith, doesn’t mean we get away with sin.

 

0:50:00.9 JB: Right.

 

0:50:01.0 GS: And there is an accounting, it’s called the judgment seat.

 

0:50:05.8 JB: And we need to separate justification and sanctification. I think that’s where we Exactly. It’s the deal where, what about discipleship? So, and I love how dare 2 share, and you’ve always worded this, getting on team Jesus is free, but being a starter on the team that will cost you everything. And there’s a difference because John 13 through 17, it does spend time talking about discipleship, obeying, surrender, but that’s not salvation. God wants every believer to be a disciple, a fully devoted disciple, but first you got to believe and receive and so.

 

0:50:42.7 GS: Well, and you see it in Romans 12:1, “I beg therefore brothers in view of God’s mercy offer yourselves as living sacrifice.” He’s talking to brothers and sisters in Christ who had been saved, man. He’s like, now go all in, surrender.

 

0:50:54.9 JB: Surrender.

 

0:50:55.0 GS: And Fully surrender yourself as a believer in Christ to follow him in every area. And hopefully it’s my prayer desire that happens from day one.

 

0:51:02.9 JB: True.

 

0:51:03.5 GS: A person comes to Christ, they begin to grow in Christ, but they understand their service flows out of their salvation. It’s that separation. You know what? You don’t want to mix salvation and sanctification.

 

0:51:14.6 JB: That’s right.

 

0:51:14.7 GS: You get a heresy smoothie…

 

0:51:17.4 JB: And I think that’s a big problem that we see. Yeah. Heresy smoothie. Yeah. That’s another one that can be as bad as drinking something muddy. But the thing about repentance about, again, I said this a minute ago, I just anybody watching pastors, leaders eliciting, many are front loading the gospel by teaching repentance as a work, and it’s not what it is. And actually there were times in my ministry I was taught that, so what did I do? Well, I just passed it on. But getting to understand that that word metanoia, “Noia” means it change your mind. It’s a game changer when you realize that repentance and faith actually go hand in hand, and they better. Right? As you said, because we got issues in scripture otherwise with John and Acts and other places where it’s a combo or one or the other. So.

 

0:52:06.3 GS: Repentance is a great word. We just need to define it.

 

0:52:10.2 JB: That’s the key. And I think we have to be more intentional about that today more than ever because of the misuse of that word. Exactly.

 

0:52:18.1 GS: And because again, the lost audience, they’re going to look for the works thread in a gray sweater. They’re gonna go right to that. What I must do, I remember it once, John, I was at a festival and back when they were called Crusades Mile High Stadium, I mean tens of thousands of people, and the guy preaching gave five things to be saved, and he said, if you don’t walk the aisle tonight, you cannot be saved. I ran the aisle. Everybody thought the dare 2 share guy was getting saved, and I found two guys down there, two Latino guys. I go, what are you guys doing? They said, well, the guy said, if we didn’t walk the aisle, we couldn’t be saved. I go, the guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And I gave the gospel to them, led them to Christ. I started going around and really helping clarify the gospel. Man, it is so important. We give it clearly.

 

0:53:08.0 JB: Yeah. You got to stay focused on it. Just two days ago, I was meeting with the young man that my family, and I’ve been praying for a long time. My son shared with him, my daughter shared with him. We got a chance to meet after Thanksgiving, and he was lost. He had a Buddhist background and then it agnosticism, and it came down to he just couldn’t wrap his head around just trusting. He’s I’m trying. I’m trying. And I used the drowning victim you were talking about. I just said, what does a drowning victim got to do to be saved? He says, well, I guess they got to really swim out of there. I’m like, no, they’re drowning. I Can’t. That’s the problem. And the rescue, he says, I guess I got to let the rescue swimmer swimming. I got to get the trust that he’ll rescue me. And I’m like, that’s it. And trust in the way of resting like that, full weight of resting. Jesus said, “Come to me, I’ll give you rest.” Resting in Christ alone to Savior. And it clicked with him in that moment, and he put his faith in Jesus. And so.

 

0:54:07.1 GS: That’s a great way to wrap up this podcast. I do think those who fight against the rescuer and try to save themselves are the ones that drowned.

 

0:54:16.4 JB: That’s It.

 

0:54:17.2 GS: But those are the ones that just say, take me Jesus. Save me. Those are the ones that get taken safely to the shore.

 

0:54:23.3 JB: That’s right.

 

0:54:25.8 GS: So Jon, anybody listening to this that you coach pastors in the seven Gospel advancing values.

 

0:54:31.4 JB: Yeah.

 

0:54:32.5 GS: Your passion is to see these values. How would they get ahold of you?

 

0:54:38.5 JB: Yeah, just hit me up. My number is 859 512 9915. Or you can just email me at Jon J-O-N. No H jon@jonburnettministries.com, or just go to jonBurnettministries.com and can find out more. We’re just trying to help equip churches to evangelize effectively and help create a culture in those churches of advancing the gospel here near and far.

 

0:55:05.5 GS: Amen. Amen. Thanks so much for being a part of this and man, a gospel advancing ministry.

 

0:55:10.8 JB: Yeah.

 

0:55:11.7 GS: Is a thriving one because it’s fueled by Grace.

 

0:55:13.6 JB: The gospel of grace. Amen. Thank you, Greg.