Training teenagers to understand and clearly communicate the core message of the Gospel is a vital part of any youth pastor’s role, and the most effective youth leaders also teach their students how to apply those truths to what they see in the culture around them—including today’s hot-button issues of gender identity and sexual orientation.
At Dare 2 Share, we use a simple, six-sentence acrostic to communicate the Gospel, and we encourage you to help your students understand how each sentence of the acrostic sheds light on the topics of gender and sexuality—and train them to effectively engage with their peers regarding these issues with a balance of God’s love and God’s truth.
To that end, let’s jump into the G.O.S.P.E.L.:
God created us to be with Him.
God’s original plan for humanity, gender, and sexuality is laid out plainly in Genesis 1 and 2.
Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our own image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.Genesis 1:26-27
Here we see that God made both Adam and Eve to be in a relationship with Him. He distinguished them from other creatures by uniquely fashioning them in His image, so He could commune with and relate to them. God also made Adam and Eve as two distinct genders—male and female.
So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man.
The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman,” for she was taken out of man.’ That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.Genesis 2:21-25
This passage shows that God’s design for sex was for it to be between one man and one woman within the context of one marriage—not with two people of the same gender, not with more than one person, not with another type of creature.
Our sins separate us from God.
When Adam and Eve sinned in Genesis 3, sin spiritually corrupted them and severed their pure, intimate relationship with God. As a result of their rebellion, sin entered humanity on every level, including sexual sin. People twisted God’s good design for sex, normalizing and even celebrating all kinds of sexual immorality, including lust, adultery, and homosexuality (Romans 1:21-32). The consequence for every sin is death (Romans 6:23), which is separation—first, separation of our soul from our body in physical death, and ultimately, separation of our soul from God for eternity in Hell.
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds.
Good deeds and religious devotion could never remove the stain of sin. They are like putting white frosting on a burned cake. Ephesians 2:8-9 makes this clear:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
It doesn’t matter how nice or “good” a person is—or what our sexual orientation or gender is—the sins we’ve committed could never be scrubbed away by good deeds or by trying to follow God’s rules, including those about sexuality. Each of us is condemned to suffer an eternity apart from God because of our own sins. And there’s nothing any of us can do about it on our own. So God did something about it Himself.
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again.
2,000 years ago, God sent his one and only Son into the world to become the God/man. Jesus lived the perfect life we could never live and then died in our place, because of our sin. Three days later He rose from the dead, proving He was whom He claimed to be: God in the flesh. All of our sin—including every kind of sexual sin—was nailed to the cross of Jesus (Colossians 2:13-14) and has been paid for with the very blood of Christ.
Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life.
Jesus said it this way in John 6:47:
‘Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.’
When anyone recognizes that they’re a sinner in need of a Savior and trusts in Jesus alone to save them from their sins, they’re forgiven for all of their sins and given the free gift of eternal life. This applies to anyone, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation, no matter what sins they’ve committed or what they struggle with—all is forgiven through Christ!
Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever.
Eternal life has both “now” and “then” aspects to it. When we trust Christ, we immediately receive a new identity (as a child of God), belonging (with the people of God), and purpose (for the mission of God). The Holy Spirit comes to live inside us (Ephesians 1:13-14). As we listen to Him and yield to Him, He helps us begin to experience victory over our sins, as we live out our new identity as adopted children of God (Galatians 3:26; 4:4-5). The “then” aspect of eternal life is that it lasts forever. Once we receive it, it’s ours for keeps (John 10:28-29). This is not a license to keep on sinning. It’s a reason to serve God with our whole selves, including with our sexuality.
This G.O.S.P.E.L. message is powerful and transformational. It shows the whole story of God’s plan and how anyone can be saved from the penalty and power of sin through simple faith in Christ alone.
Have your teenagers memorize this acrostic and master it. Practice it with them until they can communicate it clearly. Remind them that their goal when talking to their friends shouldn’t be to change people’s minds about sexual or gender issues but rather to lead them to Christ, who is more than capable of transforming them into His image.
Challenge your students to share this Good News with their friends of every gender and sexuality, and watch the power of the Gospel unfold!
Download Hard Questions, a free, four-session student curriculum that helps your students think biblically and speak compassionately about LGBTQ issues. Examining gender, sexuality, and identity through a Gospel lens.
To personally prepare to interact with your students regarding LGBTQ topics, check out this podcast: LGBTQ: Can We Restart the Conversation (featuring Sean McDowell) and this article: Love and Truth: 4 key principles to help your teenagers engage lovingly, biblically, and boldly around LGBTQ issues.