Chapter 3 - How to share your faith in more detail | Book | Sharing Your Faith
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Chapter 3

Jump to section:
Explaining sin in more detail
Understanding Jesus better
What it means to repent
Receiving Christ
Heaven is a free gift
Jesus wants to be our Lord
A testimony
Supporting information
Examples of sharing the gospel
A typical way to share
Let’s review and continue
Sharing with Mike
Let’s review and continue 2
Sharing part of the gospel by email
Your assignment


What if you went out witnessing, or you went on a short-term missionary trip, and you knew there would be times you would need to thoroughly explain the gospel? You would probably want a crash course in how to share the gospel in more detail. If we went on the same outreach or missionary trip, I could teach you how to share the gospel, and lead people to Christ in a few hours. The first thing I would do, is teach you the basics of the gospel, like I just did in chapter two. Then I would have you watch me share with some people. After I finished sharing I would continue to explain things to you.

You would soon learn that sharing the gospel in more detail is often just a matter of explaining sin, Christ, repentance, and receiving Christ in more detail. Some people need to know that heaven is free; others need to know Jesus loves them, while others need to know they will face judgment, and that there are consequences for sin. This chapter will go over all these points in more detail, although if you’ve been a believer for a while you may already know much of this.

If we were really out there sharing the gospel I would have you start sharing the gospel, and would continue until you could share the entire gospel. You would learn by a combination of being instructed, watching, and sharing the gospel. Learning how to share the gospel is a little like learning math. There are instructions that explain what to do, there are examples that show how it’s done, and there are practice problems to do. Similarly, this chapter has instructions, examples that show how it’s done, and will challenge you to practice. Just remember, the goal is not to learn about evangelism so you can pass a test. The goal is to actually share with people. The more you practice, the easier it will be to share the gospel.

As you learn more, remember that you don’t have to share everything you know every time you share. Share the basics, and continue to add to what you know, much like a carpenter keeps learning, and keeps adding tools to his tool belt. Regardless of how much detail you go into, the goal is to make sure people understand they are sinners, Christ is the only one who can save them, they need to repent, and they need to receive Christ.

Explaining sin in more detail
Most people need to understand all the things that God considers to be a sin, so they recognize how much they sin. The more people understand sin, the more likely they will understand that they need to repent. As you read more about sin, think about different ways you could explain it.

The definition of sin is to “miss the mark.” We sin when we break God’s laws. There are many things that God considers a sin. Sin can be doing wrong things, or doing right things with wrong motives. Sin can be doing nothing when we could have done something to help someone. Even what we think about can be a sin. Jesus said that if we hate someone, or lust after someone, it is the same as murder or adultery. (Matthew 5:21-30) Being prideful or arrogant is a sin. Not believing in God, or trusting Him, is a sin. The Bible says, “...whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23)

Many people try to justify sin thinking it is cool, trendy, or beneficial—but sin is destructive. Sin is alluring, and pleasurable at first, but later brings pain, misery, and regret. Sin separates us from God, keeps us out of heaven, and leads to death, hell, and the great lake of fire. Instead of freeing us, and giving us a better life, sin robs us of life. Sin is also deceitful, and blinds people from seeing how destructive sin is. The Bible says, “Exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)

If we are honest with ourselves we sin all the time. We simply do not have the power to be sinless. Even the “good things” we do can cause us to sin if we become prideful because we are honoring ourselves, rather than God. (Romans 7:18), (Isaiah 64:6) We sin more than we realize, especially when we stop to think of all the greedy, lustful, hateful, and arrogant thoughts we have. What may be even more amazing is that it only takes one sin to disqualify us from heaven. God is not okay with one sin. God will not allow someone into heaven that has only sinned one time. (Revelation 21:27) Adam and Eve sinned one time, and the world has never been the same. We all were disqualified from heaven a long time ago. The Bible says, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Romans 3:10) and “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23)

People need to understand and agree they are sinners, and that their sins separate themselves from God. If people don’t believe they have sinned, they won’t feel they have anything they need to be saved from, and they won’t realize their need for the Savior. When people realize their thoughts qualify as sin, and that one sin disqualifies them from receiving eternal life with God, they usually realize they have a sin problem. Some people know immediately they are sinners, and others need to have it explained very thoroughly.

See if you can explain sin in your own words. Again... you don’t have to include everything that you just read, and you can add things you already know that were not covered above.

There are illustrations in the next chapter that will help you explain sin (as well as other points you can check out). Try to cover the following three main points, and at least one scripture.
  • We have all sinned.
  • There are many things God considers a sin.
  • It only takes one sin to disqualify us from heaven.
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Understanding Jesus better
Many people don’t know much about who Jesus is, and what He did. They don’t know the tremendous sacrifice He made, which is why many people don’t understand that Jesus is the only way we can get to heaven. Again, as you read more about Jesus, think about how you could explain it to an unbeliever.

Jesus was not a man in heaven—He was God. Jesus left heaven where He was comfortable, respected, and worshipped, and came to earth where He was uncomfortable, despised, and rejected. We spend most of our time trying to be comfortable, accepted, and respected, if not worshipped. Jesus wasn’t slightly inconvenienced when He came to earth to die for our sin—He sacrificed everything. He lived a perfect life, and then paid the consequence for our sins by dying for us (Romans 5:8).

The more we realize how much Jesus did for us, the more we should appreciate Him. No one has sacrificed more for us than Jesus, because no one loves us more than Jesus. Many people know that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He died for our sins—but they don’t understand the extent of His sacrifice. When people understand how much Jesus sacrificed for us they often become more receptive. Jesus told a parable about a man who sold all that he had in order to buy a treasure. (Matthew 13:44) In this parable, Jesus represents the man, and we represent the treasure.

Jesus made it clear that He is the only One who can save us when He said, “...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) The Bible also says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Jesus is the only One who can forgive our sins, and He is the only way we can get to heaven. I sometimes tell people that He is the only One in the “Savior business.”

The thing that distinguishes Jesus from anyone else in history is the fact that He rose from the dead. Death is our biggest enemy, and Jesus conquered death. After Jesus was crucified, an angel told two women (both named Mary) “...I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.” (Matthew 28:5-6) Jesus said He would be resurrected, and He was.

It is important people know that Jesus was not just a good man or a good teacher. People need to understand that Jesus is God. After you share about Jesus, ask if they understand who Jesus is. When Jesus taught, He asked many questions, but the most important question Jesus asked was: “...But whom say ye that I am?” (Matthew 16:15b) Peter got this one right when he said, “...Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) Jesus is still asking this question through believers like you who share the gospel. When people agree that Jesus is God, and the only One who can save them, there is a good chance God is getting through to their heart.

Try to explain Jesus in your own words. Cover the three points below, and then add as many details, and scriptures, as you can.
  • Jesus is God.
  • Jesus is the only One who can take our sins, and save us.
  • Jesus rose from the dead, and wants to give us eternal life.
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What it means to repent
When people are receptive, and they understand they are a sinner, you can often explain repentance in a sentence with scripture. Other times you need to go into more detail.

It is essential that people understand that they are sinners, but that doesn’t mean anything unless they repent of their sin. Repentance means that you want to stop sinning, and stop doing things your own way. Repentance doesn’t mean being sorry you were caught or sorry you are suffering consequences for your sin. People who repent realize they have no excuses. They just want to be right with God. Sometimes people forget to talk about repentance. Others think people automatically repent when they receive Christ, or turn to Christ. While this happens, because they have heard the gospel, it is still important to go over repentance. When Jesus sent His disciples out, the Bible tells us, “...They went out, and preached that men should repent.” (Mark 6:12) The passage below shows an example of one man who repented, and another who didn’t.
“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not like other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other:” (Luke 18:10-14a)
In the passage above, the Pharisee had no remorse for his sins. The publican, or tax collector, did. The publican may have been thinking things like: “I am so sorry;” “please forgive me;” I’m not worthy to be your servant.” You won’t always know when a person chooses to repent. People respond differently. Some people will show no emotion, yet could be very repentant, while others could appear to be sorry, but they have no desire to change. All we can do is share the truth, and hope a person chooses to repent. If a person says they are willing to repent, take them at their word, and continue sharing. If they don’t repent at least they know what they have to do. We can’t make people repent; we can only give them the truth. People either repent, or they don’t. The publican in the passage above may not have said anything, and you may not have known he repented if you were standing right next to him, but God knew. Take a minute, and see if you can explain repentance in your own words.
  • Repentance is being sorry for our sins.
  • Repentance means we need to change or turn.
  • We need to repent to be saved.
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Receiving Christ
One definition of a Christian is “someone who God lives inside.” In order for God to live inside people, they need to receive Christ as their Savior, and their Lord. To receive Christ as Savior means trusting Jesus, and only Jesus, to forgive them of their sins so they can have eternal life with Christ. To receive Christ as Lord means they are willing to let God be in charge of their lives. Jesus is “...Lord of lords...” (Revelation 17:14) meaning there is no one higher than Jesus, or no one has more authority in our lives than Jesus.

Only those who have received Christ are forgiven of their sins, and saved from the consequences of their sins (separation from God). Only those who have received Christ will be with Christ for eternity. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” (John 1:12) There is no substitute for receiving Christ. It doesn’t matter how nice, or generous a person is. The only thing that matters is receiving Christ. It would be better to have accomplished nothing in this life, and receive Christ, than to be the biggest hero, and not receive Christ. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26) If people have a clear understanding of the gospel, ask them if they would like to receive Christ.

People often hesitate when asked if they would like to receive Christ. If that happens you can review part of the gospel; share a scripture; or simply wait quietly as they think about the most important question they will ever be asked. If they want to receive Christ, lead them in a prayer to ask Christ to be their Savior, and the Lord of their life. We often refer to this as, “The Sinner’s Prayer.” Here’s an example you can have them repeat after you:
Jesus I know I am a sinner. (Pause so they can repeat it)
Please forgive me of my sins. (Pause)
I repent of my sins. (Pause)
Come into my life right now. Be my Savior, and my Lord. (Pause)
Please give me your gift of eternal life. (Pause)
Let me know that I am saved. (Pause)
Make me the person You want me to be. (Pause)
I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.
See if you can explain receiving Christ in your own words. You can probably do this in less than a minute. Try to cover the main ideas below. When you’re done, see if you can share all four essential parts of the gospel.
  • We need to receive Christ to be saved.
  • Receiving Christ means trusting Christ for our salvation, and letting Him be in charge of our lives.
  • Practice “The Sinner’s Prayer.”
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Other things you can share

Heaven is a free gift
Of all the extra things you might need to share, the fact that heaven is free is often the most important. Some people think they have to do something to earn their salvation, which means they will put their trust in themselves, not Christ. This is often the case with those who come from a religious, or a legalistic, background. If there is any question about this, make sure they understand that heaven is free. Grace and works are mutually exclusive, just like light and darkness. You cannot have both together. Paul said, “And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Romans 11:6)

When God says salvation is free—it is absolutely, completely, and totally free! We cannot earn God’s forgiveness, or eternal life. We must take God’s pardon, and eternal life as a free gift. Jesus is the Savior—we are the ones being saved. Jesus paid the price in full—we pay nothing. Jesus did everything—we do nothing. There is nothing we can do to be saved, since Jesus forgives all our sins in the past, and there is nothing we can do to stay saved, since Jesus forgives our sins in the future. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) “Salvation is of the LORD.” (Jonah 2:9b) Just before Jesus died, He said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30b) We don’t finish anything.

Don’t catch yourself quoting (Ephesians 2: 8-9), saying, “Salvation is ‘...not of yourselves...’ then later say, “but you have to...” The two do not go together. That’s like saying salvation is free, but you have to pay, or, you don’t have to do anything, but you have to do something. If we have to do something to be saved, then salvation is of works, it is of ourselves, and it isn’t a gift.

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Jesus wants to be our Lord
So far everything has been about Jesus being our Savior, but He also wants to be our Lord. People need to know that God loves us, He wants a relationship with us, He wants to fulfill His purposes in our lives, and He has a plan for our lives. You do not want people to go away thinking, “Thank you for the gift of eternal life—I’ll see you in heaven then.” When I pray with people to receive Christ I want them to ask Christ to be their Savior and their Lord.

The reason why Jesus came to earth, and died for our sins is because He loves us. Love is the motive behind the gospel: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) God created us to be with Him and to love Him. The best part of heaven won’t be the happy reunions; the streets of gold, or not having any more pain or sorrow (as nice as that will be). The best part of heaven will be being with God and loving God. Salvation is not about doing things, and knowing about God—salvation is about loving God, and knowing God. Jesus warned us about this when He said, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22-23)

God is good and He has a plan for our lives that is far better than anything we could come up with. Jesus began His ministry by quoting (Isaiah 61) saying, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19) Later, Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10), and “What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:9-11)

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A testimony
You are telling people that Christ is the answer, and testimonies reinforce that. One of the biggest concerns people have is the subject of dying, and what happens after death. Every believer can testify that they know they are going to heaven. Christians are the only people on the planet that know they are going to heaven. In addition, every believers can also say they have peace. Apart from Jesus, there is no peace. Christians are the only people on the planet that have peace with God. This is because Christians are the only people that have the Holy Spirit living inside of them. The Bible says, “For he is our peace...” (Ephesians 2:14a) Only Christians know they are going to heaven, and only Christians have peace.

Perhaps the most powerful testimony you have is the love and joy you have from knowing Christ. People will notice because they do not have the love and joy that only God gives.

You could share your testimony of how you came to Christ, or anything God has done in your life. You could tell people how He has healed your marriage, or other relationships, because you have given up destructive habits, and are now more gracious, loving, patient, and forgiving. You could tell people how he has helped you do a better job at work, and the benefits of that. Usually the best time to share a testimony is when you have more time, but every situation is different so let the Holy Spirit lead. When you share testimonies, make sure God gets the glory, and they end up wanting to know more about Christ, not more about you. One pastor had a business card that said on the back, “If you forget me, you’ve lost nothing. If you forget Jesus Christ, you’ve lost everything.”

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Supporting information
There are multitudes of other things you can talk about that support the gospel. You could tell people what God has done, like create the whole world, and then give scriptures, and other evidence to support that. You could explain how Adam and Eve sinned, which is why we have a sin problem, and why there are so many problems in the world. You could talk about current problems like: crime, wars, greed, injustice, loneliness, and explain how sin causes all of these problems. This is what many evangelists do when they speak to large crowds. This could help people understand that they don’t have much of a life, and nothing in this world is worth living for, or putting their trust in. You could talk about what God is going to do, and talk about some of the judgments God is going to bring on the earth (sharing prophecy from Revelation). Whether you talk about the past, the present, or the future, find a way to connect it to the gospel, and then share how they can get to heaven.

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Examples of sharing the gospel

If we were out sharing, you might observe as I talked to unbelievers. If you were taking a class I would demonstrate by role-playing with someone. Since this is not the case at the moment, the rest of this chapter has three examples of how the gospel can be shared. As you read them, notice the different ways the main points of the gospel are explained. Try to avoid memorizing one particular way of explaining things. In all three examples, the main points of the gospel are brown colored, and the scriptures are in bold type. The first example is a typical way I have shared the gospel many times.

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A typical way to share
We are out here talking with people about God, why He created us, and how we can have a relationship with Him. Did you know God created us to have fellowship with Him? He wants you to know Him personally and wants to give you eternal life so you can be with Him forever. The Bible says, “...The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b)

When God says eternal life is a gift, He means He wants to give you eternal life, and you do not have to do anything to get it other than accept His offer. When God says, free, He really means free! There is nothing you can do to earn eternal life, and be with Jesus. You must receive it as a gift, or not at all. The Bible says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Eternal life is free because we could never earn it. This is because we are sinners. Sin can be doing wrong things, doing good things with wrong motives, or doing nothing when we could have done something. Even our thoughts can be a sin. Sinning one time disqualifies us. In other words, one greedy, selfish, hateful, prideful, or lustful thought disqualifies us. Let’s face it—we were all disqualified a long time ago. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23)

Sin is a lot like poison. If I put just one drop of poison in this bottle of water, would you drink it? I wouldn’t either. That’s the way sin is. Just as one drop of poison ruins all the water, one sin disqualifies us from having eternal life. Most of us understand that one drop of poison ruins the water bottle, but we don’t realize that only one sin separates us from God, and keeps us out of heaven.

We need to understand that we are sinners, but we also need to respond to this knowledge by repenting. One of the first things Jesus said when He started to preach was, “The kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15) Repentance means to change our mind. It means that we are truly sorry for our sins, and that we want to stop sinning. It means that we want to stop doing things our way, and start doing things God’s way. It’s like turning around, and going the other direction. It’s like going north when we were going south.

As we turn from our sin, we need to turn toward Jesus Christ. Jesus is God, and He is the only way we can get into heaven, and have a relationship with God. Jesus said, “...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) Jesus died for our sins, and He rose from the dead. He took the punishment we deserve. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Jesus didn’t die for His sins—He died for our sins. If there was another way to get to heaven, Jesus wouldn’t have needed to make this sacrifice. Jesus sacrificed His life so that we could have life. The gospel is summed up in (John 3:16): “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

There’s one more thing you need to do. You need to receive Christ. Believing in Christ is important—but that is not enough. Even the devil believes in God. The Bible says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest do well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19 )You have to believe in God enough to trust your life to Him. It’s a little like taking medicine. Believing some medicine will cure you doesn’t cure you. You have to take the medicine. In the same way, you have to receive Christ by asking Him to come into your life. The Bible says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” (John 1:12)

To summarize, you must realize you are a sinner. You must recognize Jesus is the only Savior. You must repent of your sins, and you must trust Christ by receiving Him into your life. I only have one more question to ask you, but it’s the most important question you will ever be asked. Would you like to receive Christ so that He can forgive your sins, and you can have a relationship with Him both now, and in heaven?

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Let’s review and continue
In the example above, the first two points were, Jesus wants a relationship, and heaven is free. Then sin, repentance, Jesus, and receiving Christ were discussed. The gospel was reviewed, and the question was asked if they would like to receive Christ. Some illustrations were used to help explain things, which will be covered in more detail in the next chapter.

The next example is the actual dialogue that took place one evening when we shared at a convalescent hospital. After talking to patients, we noticed that an employee of the hospital was listening to us, so we approached him to ask if we could share the gospel.

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Sharing with Mike
We are sharing with people about how they can be certain they will go to heaven when they die. Can I ask you two questions?

Yes.

Before I ask you the questions, let me ask, what is your name?

Mike

OK, Mike, Here are the questions. If you were to die right now, do you know, for certain, you would go to heaven?

Well, I’m fairly certain.

The second question is: If you were to die right now, and God were to ask you, ‘Why should I let you into heaven’, what would you say?

Well, I’ve really tried my best to live a good life, and I do go to church.

Believe it or not Mike, according to the Bible, that would not allow you to go to heaven. Can I share with you how you can go to heaven, and how you can be absolutely sure you will go to heaven?

You’re kidding; I thought you had to live a good life. I would be interested in what the Bible says about that.

Well, one thing is certain, we are all going to die, but the good news is, heaven is free. The Bible says, “...The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Heaven is free, and it is yours for the taking. God wants you to have a relationship with Him—just like you have a relationship with your friends, and family members now.

The problem though, and the reason we don’t have a relationship with God, is that sin is in the way. The Bible says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Roman 3:23) God is up here (demonstrate by pointing), we are down here, and our sin, here in the middle, separates us from God. God will not allow even one sin to enter heaven, and our thoughts qualify as sins! The Bible says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10) Do you agree that you are a sinner?

Yes, I would have to agree that I am.

Not only are we sinners, we need to repent of our sin. Jesus said, “...The kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15b) Repent means to be sorry for your sins. You need to be willing to turn from the direction you are going, so that you can go the direction God wants you to go. It is like taking a U-turn on the road of life.

Jesus is the only way you can get into heaven, and have a relationship with God. It is important to understand that Jesus Christ is really God. The Bible says that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:1) & (1:14a) In other words, Jesus became a man—He was not a man in heaven.

Do you have a dog Mike?

Yes, I do.

I do too. What if you had to communicate God’s love to your dog? Let’s say that in order for you to do that, you had to become a dog. That would mean you would live like a dog. You would not have any of the comforts you were used to. You would sleep outside every night. You would literally be in ‘the doghouse’ every night—if you even had a doghouse. Your meals would be dog food, and table scraps. Everything you now enjoy would no longer be part of your life.

There’s no way I would do that.

I wouldn’t do that either, but let’s say that after you became a dog, God asked you to sacrifice your life for your dog. In other words, you die so your dog can live. After making this sacrifice, God resurrects you, but when He does, you will continue to be a dog for all eternity. Do you really think anyone would really do that?

No way!

I don’t think anyone would do that for their best friend, let alone their dog, but that is what Jesus did for us. Jesus made a tremendous sacrifice when He came to this earth, but He also died for our sins. He took the punishment we deserve so we wouldn’t have to pay the consequences for our sins, and spend eternity separated from God. When God the Father, resurrected Jesus, He was still a man, and will continue to be a man for all eternity. That’s why Jesus is the only way we can get to heaven, and that’s why Jesus said, “...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6b)

That is amazing. I never realized that.

Your church will not save you, and my church will not save me. Jesus is the only Savior. Believing Jesus exists is not enough; you must receive Him. The Bible says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” (John 1:12)

If you’re sick, and your Doctor gives you some medicine, you can believe in the medicine, but you have to trust it enough to take it if you want to recover. I’m sure you would know that from working here. The same thing is true with Jesus. You must receive Him by asking Him to save you from your sins, and be Lord over your life. In other words, you must realize you are a sinner, and Jesus is the only Savior. You must repent of your sins, and receive Christ. Do you understand?

Yes, I do.

I can tell that you do. Mike, I only have one more question to ask you, but it is the most important question you will be asked in your entire life! Would you like to pray right now to receive Christ, and the free gift of eternal life?

I’ve already done that.

Mike, do you remember those two questions I asked you earlier?

Yes.

You told me you were not certain you would go to heaven when you died, and that God would let you in because you lived a good life, and went to Church. Do you remember saying that?

Yes.

When I asked you what you were putting your trust in to get into heaven, you never mentioned Jesus. You told me you would get there because of the things you did, not because of what Jesus did—right?

You’re right... I said that.

Anyone who has received Christ will know two things: First, they will know they are going to heaven, because the Bible says, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life...” (1 John 5:13a) Secondly, they will know how they will get there, which is through Christ, because He died in our place, and took the punishment we deserve. If you had received Christ, you would have known that.

Now that you know, and understand the Gospel, would you like to receive Christ, and His gift of eternal life by praying with me right now so you can be absolutely certain you will go to heaven when you die?

Yes, I would.

Mike, you just made the best decision of your life! I will lead you in prayer. Simply repeat this prayer after me.


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Let’s review and continue
The questions at the beginning of this example are referred to as “the diagnostic questions” which are covered in more detail in chapter four. The illustrations used here, plus others, will be covered in the next chapter so you can have some additional ways to explain various points of the gospel.

The last example is an email I sent to several family members. The gospel had already been shared, but some family members believed one particular family member was saved “because he was kind, sensitive, and benevolent” even though his lifestyle was in opposition to the Bible. These same family members believed a different family member was not saved because he was not “as sensitive.” They felt that being a good person was part of the requirement to be saved. Consequently, they needed to understand that we are all sinners, and salvation is a gift. Sometimes you don’t need to share the entire gospel because you already know what they understand, and what they don’t from previous conversations with them. That was the case in the example below.

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Sharing part of the gospel by email
One email alluded to the possibility that one family member who was pleasant, and did good works might go to heaven while another who professed to have received Christ might not. Going to heaven is not about being pleasant, and it’s not about doing good things. It’s not about us. It’s about Jesus.

The problem is that we focus on the sins of others (not our own), and we don’t realize how much we sin. Jesus made it clear that our thoughts qualify as sin. Not only what we do can be a sin, but our motives behind what we do can also be a sin. Even what we don’t do qualifies as being a sin. Not believing God is a sin. If we are honest with ourselves, then we would realized we sin all the time. We are all greedy, selfish, sinners, and if every sin were recorded, we all have enough sins to fill up a library. Jesus said, “...Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is God:” (Matthew 19:17a) If we have received Christ and have enough sins to fill up 10 libraries, we are still saved and are going to heaven because Christ has forgiven us. Serial killers can go to heaven if they repent. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4) If we don’t believe this, we’re not seeing our own sins. To God, our sins look like a serial killer’s sin.

Every sin we commit is an offense to God. God wants us to admit our sins—not try to excuse them. It doesn’t matter who we are or how bad of a sinner we are. It only matters if we have repented, and allowed Christ to forgive our sins. The only way you will get into heaven is through Jesus Christ. He said it Himself: “...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) Don’t look at everyone else’s sin—consider our own sin, and then look to the Savior. Salvation is not based on what we do—it’s based on what Jesus has done, and whether or not we accept His pardon.

No one is any better than anyone else. I know that I am a big sinner, and two believers have already said the same thing. We can all receive God’s gift of eternal life. God is offering it to us on a silver platter. Actually, He’s offering it to us on a wooden cross His Son was tortured on. It was expensive to God, but free to us. We can have it if we want it. It’s ours for the taking. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

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Your assignment
Your assignment is to practice sharing the gospel. If you are hesitant keep in mind just about everyone practices. Baseball players take batting practice, pilots spend time in simulators, and actors have dress rehearsals. Don’t think you understand it good enough, or that the Lord will guide you so you don’t need to practice. The Lord will guide you, but you also need to practice. You wouldn’t trust a surgeon or a dentist if he or she told you, “I’ve never done this before—I’m just going to trust the Lord to guide my hands.” If you are uncomfortable practicing with believers, you will be more uncomfortable sharing with unbelievers. The more you practice now, the more comfortable you will be later. Every time I teach a class, I have people practice. After they get started even the most reluctant usually don’t want to stop. I believe this is because God always blesses their step of faith. Occasionally, the practice becomes the “real thing” and someone actually receives Christ!

Remember, the goal is not to take a test, it’s to share the gospel. Reading and studying is important but at this point practicing will help you remember more than studying. One time a doctor showed me three stretching exercises he wanted me to do so he explained what to do by getting on the floor, and demonstrating. I wasn’t sure I would remember all of them so I asked him to show me again. Instead of showing me again, he made me get on the floor to do them. This helped me remember them because I knew what muscles needed to be stretched.

With that encouragement your assignment is to practice sharing the gospel with someone. You may be surprised how willing people are to help. When we go out to evangelize and we run into a believer, I often asked them if we could practice on them, and then have someone who is learning share with them. The vast majority of people that I’ve asked have been very willing to help out. If no one is around, practice by yourself, but try to get someone later to practice with even if you have to call them and practice over the phone. After you are finished go back and look at this chapter. Write down some of the things you could have shared and then practice again. Keep practicing until it becomes smooth and you are sharing in a way that is natural to you.

« Back to chapter 2 | Continue to chapter 4 »

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