session 2: What is the gospel?

Session  Recap:

How have you been applying what you've learned and your action plan(s) from Session?

  • If you haven't, what has hindered you?
  • How do we overcome it this week?


If someone asked you the question, “What is the gospel?” How would you respond? What Scriptures would you go to?

(Helpful Hint: Do NOT affirm a half or misunderstood explanation of the Gospel. If they struggle, it’s ok, that’s why you are meeting with them. Teach them the clear and simple Gospel. Affirming an incorrect understanding of the Gospel will only hinder them.)

Who is God?  Who am I? What has God done?  Who have I become?

Do we know the answers to these questions?

Understanding the Gospel message is imperative to understanding them.

  • Simple Gospel:
  1. God created us to be His image bearers and to be in perfect fellowship with Him. (Genesis 1-2)
  2. Sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
  3. Jesus paid the price for our sin by dying in our place and rising again to defeat sin and death once and for all. (Matthew – Luke)
  4. Everyone who trusts in Him alone for salvation will be restored into fellowship with Him and have eternal life based on Jesus’ work on the cross. (John)
  5. We are not saved by works (church, study, good deeds, prayer), our salvation produces good works in us as the Gospel works its way deeper into our heart making us more like Christ. (Galatians-Ephesians)

Teaching Time:

Romans 1:16 specifically tells us that the Gospel is the power of God for Salvation, so it is imperative that we know what it is. The word Gospel literally means “good news”. For any news to be good, we have to know the situation in which the good news stepped into, which is usually a bad situation. It is essential for all believers to know why Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection was so important to them and to all people.

The easiest way to remember the Gospel is by remembering its four key elements: 

  • The Character of God (Who is God?)

  • The Sinfulness of Man (Who am I?)

  • The Sufficiency of Christ (What has God done?)

  • Our response (Who have I become?)


Read Eph 2:1-10

  • What does this passage teach us about who we were before Christ?
  • What does this passage teach us about how we can be saved?
  • What do these verses teach us about the good news of Jesus?
  • What does this passage teach us about God’s purpose for our lives after salvation?

Read Col 2:13-15

  • What do these verses teach us about the good news of Jesus?
  • How do these verses change the way you view the cross?
  • How do these verses change your view of sin?

Read 2 Cor 5:21

  • What does this passage teach us about how we gain the righteousness of God?
  • How does thinking about “Jesus in your place” stir your affections for Him?

Read John 3:16

  • What does this verse teach us about the good news of Jesus?
  • What does this verse say about God’s love for you?

Where do we get it wrong!?

  • The Intellectual Only gospel = This person can recite John 3:16 but the gospel hasn’t transformed their heart & lives.
  • The Good Ole Boy gospel = This person believes that being a good person is enough. They don’t understand the wages of sin or their need for a Savior.
  • The Prosperity gospel = This person believes that Jesus guarantees a happy, healthy life with no troubles. They refuse to believe Jesus’ teaching in John 16:33.
  • The Self-Help gospel = This person has a small view of sin & believes that sin is not the issue, it’s an issue. Therefore, they don’t really need a Savior, just to channel their inner good and be a better person. This distortion plays on our self-esteem & feelings.
  • The Works Based gospel = This person believes that faith alone is not enough for salvation. We need to add something to it: good works, rule following, traditions, etc. But we cannot add one thing to the saving work and person of Jesus Christ. 
  • The License to Sin gospel = This person believes that Jesus is their righteousness and perfection, so they can live however they want because in the end, they’re saved! They use God’s grace as a license to sin. However, Paul says in Romans 6 that we have been set free from the lifestyle of sin to live for Christ. To follow Jesus is to turn away from sin. 
  • The Overnight Perfection Gospel = This person believes that salvation equals immediate perfection. In their eyes, salvation immediately eliminates all sin and struggles in our lives. This person has a misunderstanding of the process of salvation: justification, sanctification, & glorification. 

Action Plan:

  • Learning all of this, do you feel your response to what God has done for you is adequate?
  • What to you plan to do about it?

Useful Tools

Understanding the Gospel

Back to Session 1: The Bible

Go to Session 3: What is a disciple

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